Found December 13, 2012 on
Roger Goodell's truly a mastermind when it comes to controlling the public conversation around his league and sculpting the media's headlines. Barely 24 hours after some scribes in the NFL working press started to question the motivation behind the since-overturned Bountygate suspensions he delivered in the spring, the commissioner floated the prospect of a 14- or 16-team NFL playoff at the league's owners meetings in Dallas. By Wednesday, the suspensions overturned by Paul Tagliabue vanished from the headlines.
Now, we're talking about playoffs. Playoffs.
Thank you Jim, Mora.
The initial reaction to the news on Wednesday was resistance. Why mess with something that's not broken? Why screw up a perfectly good playoff scenario? Why not just invite the whole league into one 32-team January tournament?
Umm, because there's money to be made. More of it. And if the NFL can make more money without sacrificing the overall product of the game, it's going to make it.
As much as I love the current playoff format, and as much as I look forward to that wildcard weekend Saturday night like it's the best night of the year, doubt any fans or the writers bashing it this week would be kicking and screaming over two or four teams being added to the playoff field.
It'd mean more football. What's wrong with that?
As for the players, this is certainly a better alternative than an 18-game regular season. And in truth, I'm not even sure the players would be opposed to that if it ever came to a vote. An extra two paychecks -- though pro-rated -- could be awfully tempting for some of the guys at the bottom of an NFL roster not making millions of dollars to play football. The extra $50,000-$100,000 for two more games could be awfully difficult for the 25th through 53rd men on a roster to turn down.
But back to the potential 14- or 16-team playoffs.
Remember, when the league expanded to a 12-team playoff in 1990, there were only 28 NFL franchises. There was similar backlash at the thought of wildcards being handed out to non-division winners. How'd that turn out? Wildcard weekend is arguably the best weekend of the entire NFL season now. The playoffs would just seem odd without them.
As for the argument that an expanded field would "dilute" the NFL's postseason product, that's just ridiculous. Watching the Chiefs and Raiders play in Week 17 of a regular season is diluting the NFL product, but if an 8-8 Bengals team or a 9-7 Redskins team snuck into the playoffs at No. 8 seeds and played in a postseason opening weekend, I can't imagine the product being all that diminished. Jaguars-Cardinals in January wouldn't be all that interesting. But top-seeded Atlanta vs. No. 8 Dallas in Atlanta? I can go for that. Sign me up.
Consider these first-round matchups this year, if we were to extend the playoffs to a traditional 16-team tournament and the regular season ended last weekend:
No. 1 Houston vs. No. 8 New York
No. 2 New England vs. No. 7 Cincinnati
No. 3 Denver vs. No. 6 Pittsburgh
No. 4 Baltimore vs. No. 5 Indianapolis
No. 1 Atlanta vs. No. 8 Dallas
No. 2 San Francisco vs. No. 7 Washington
No. 3 Green Bay vs. No. 6 Chicago
No. 4 New York Giants vs. No. 5 Seattle
You'd be disappointed with that? That'd really change the way you view, approach, and base your entire January around the NFL playoffs?
Of course it wouldn't.
Times change. Life evolves. There's more money out there. If we've learned anything from the NFL, it's that when there's more money to be made, the league is going to find a way to make it. Fans attend media day at the Super Bowl now. Anything's possible.
Nothing's sacrificed by the proposed playoff expansion. It's OK. Change is good. Goodell's got the fans' best interests in mind. He wouldn't move forward with something that'd weaken the greatest game going.
But, back to Bountygate. Because, the thing with that is ...
Oh, you already forgot about that whole mess?
Goodell really is pretty good at this commissioner thing, isn't he?
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AROUND THE WEB
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell says the team is considering expanding the NFL playoffs from 12 teams to possibly more.
During his press conference at the NFL owner’s meetings, commissioner Roger Goodell told the media that they’re going to look into possibly expanding the playoffs from 12 teams to possibly 14 or 16.
Goodell just said at his presser that the league will look at expanding the playoffs to 14 or 16 teams.
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) December 12, 2012
This is certainly one of...
Jon Vilma urged a federal judge Friday to reject NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's motion to dismiss the defamation lawsuit filed against him by the Saints linebacker.
Vilma's request to U.S. District Judge Ginger Berrigan argues Goodell acted with ''reckless disregard for the truth'' when basing initial allegations about Vilma upon one fired Saints assistant...
(Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Big Pete on the commissioner’s plans to expand the playoffs…
Today, Roger Goodell said that they are discussing the expansion of the NFL playoffs to either 14 or 16 teams. While I don’t know what is going through his brain, lets take a quick look at how this impacts the playoff structure as we know it.
As it stands, 6 teams in each conference...
Roger Goodell seems to be on the fast track towards earning the ire of nearly every core NFL fan this season. First we had talk of expanding the schedule to 18 games. Goodell follows that up with the double whammy of replacement referees and his historically poor handling of the Saints Bounty case. Next we hear that he supports placing a team in London as a part of a 34-team expansion...
(Eds: With AP Photos.) By JIM LITKE AP Sports Columnist ''Round up the usual suspects.''
Funny how that line near the end of ''Casablanca'' provides a fitting epitaph for Bountygate, too. Like Capt. Renault in the film classic, former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue was presented with a crime and empowered as both judge and jury. He considered the...
(Eds: With AP Photos.) By JIM LITKE AP Sports Columnist Paul Tagliabue has become one of those guys we come to appreciate much more out of office than we did when he was in it. Part of that is because history has been kind, so far, in assessing his 17-year run as commissioner.
Some of it may have to do with his successor.
Tagliabue lacked charisma, but never smarts. Low-key and...
After the December Special League Meeting on Wednesday, Roger Goodell had some remarks that were certain to get the attention of every NFL fan everywhere. Following the meeting to determine issues to present to the Competition Committee, Goodell spoke about possibly expanding the playoff field. According to Goodell, this topic has come before the Competition [...]
As the criticism of Roger Goodell’s handling of Bountygate started to heat up, the NFL commissioner threw out another “talker,” expanding the playoffs, and Bountygate went to the backburner.
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Filed under: Daily Dump
New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma contends in a request filed Friday with a federal judge that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell disregarded the truth while putting credibility in allegations by former Saints assistant coach Mike Cerullo. Vilma urged U.S. District Judge Ginger Berrigan to proceed with the defamation lawsuit he filed against Goodell, which the commissioner...
I’ll be honest, I was shocked that former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue vacated the suspensions of four former and current New Orleans Saints players. The players must have felt the same way, because when it was announced last month by current commissioner Roger Goodell that Tagliabue would hear their appeal, they fought to have him to recuse himself.
Lucky for them he didn’t...
Fines are as much a part of modern football as the forward pass or taking a knee to end a game. They're handed out nearly every week, usually to a defensive player guilty of an illegal hit on a quarterback or a defenseless receiver. Despite the incredible number of fines, defenders continue to commit fouls, and the fine sums continue to add up, but why? The curious issue here...