ATLANTA – It was a busy Tuesday down in Atlanta as the NFL owners convened for their annual one-day meeting.
Perhaps lost in the shuffle of announcing the host for Super Bowl LII was NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell addressing the hot topic of playoff expansion.
At the League Meetings in March, talk started to heat up on adding one playoff team to each conference.
That would mean just one team would get a bye in future playoffs and the next question was when would this new format be implemented.
It didn't take long for Goodell to tackle the playoff expansion topic on Tuesday evening.
"We will not have expanded playoffs for the 2014 season. The primary reasons we looked at were competitive issues, ticket sale issues and issues with respect to the advertising market. The general view is that we should proceed with the Thursday Night focus that we have this year. We are adding additional inventory into the marketplace and this makes the most sense for us for the 2014 season.
"I do believe (playoff expansion) will be approved for the 2015 season. We want to see how it will impact in a positive way from a competitive standpoint. Will it create more excitement, more races towards the end? Who will ultimately qualify for the playoffs? We also want to absorb the additional inventory into the marketplace from an advertising standpoint. So far we see positive signs in the marketplace. That is how we are going to approach it.
"This is something I've had numerous conversations with (Executive Director of the NFLPA) DeMaurice [Smith] about. I just spoke with him about it two weeks ago. I think there are a lot of benefits to the players, but that's something they'll have to evaluate. They are our partners and I've said on many occasions before that we are going to have a dialogue with all of our partners to make sure it can be done the right way. I do believe there are some real benefits to the players. The revenue – obviously – will increase and they will share in that and get the largest percentage of that, in fact."
Another topic that has received a lot of intrigue in the past few weeks is future dates/locations for the NFL Draft.
This year's draft was still held at Radio City Music Hall in New York but the three-day event was pushed back two weeks.
Reports are out there that the draft could be on the move for 2015 and isn't necessarily locked into the second week of May, like it was in 2014.
"We reported on the successful Draft we just completed and put a working group together to talk about the kinds of changes we want to engage in for the Draft for 2015. They will come back and report to the membership by the October meeting.
"We are looking at everything. We think that the Draft has a great deal of more potential to grow in popularity. We do not believe the date affected us in a negative way at all this year. We have to balance a number of issues, including football-related issues. We think there is still a lot of growth opportunity here. The date and location are probably the primary issues for us to decide. Radio City is going to let us know by the end of the month what flexibility they have. That will be a big help and we are discussing the possibilities with other cities."
Goodell's presser came about an hour after Minnesota was awarded Super Bowl LII.
The Commissioner was very complimentary of all three bids from the finalists and said the vote shows that weather is not a factor in deciding who hosts Super Bowl.
"People make their choice. If you want to play golf that may not be your first choice. You may play golf and then come to Minneapolis. People come to the Super Bowl for a variety of reasons. They want to be part of something special. I think that's going to be the great thing that is going to happen in Minneapolis. It's going to be very special and they have great plans. They are prepared for it and we look forward to it."