Speaking at his annual state of the NFL press conference, Goodell clarified comments to NBC's Bob Costas on Thursday that indicated the league would expand to 34 teams in order to place one in Los Angeles. Goodell said Friday that should the league expand, it would have to be by two teams, not just one, but that expansion is not on the agenda of any conversations.
"We have not talked about expansion with the league members at all," Goodell said.
There are two potential stadium projects being considered in Los Angeles, but Goodell said, "there are a lot of issues that have to be balanced" before an NFL franchise can be placed in the city.
The league is also committed to playing a game in London next season. The St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission is challenging the Rams' plan to play a home game in London each of the next three years, claiming their lease requires all home games to be played at the Edward Jones Dome.
"We will be playing in London next year," said Goodell, who added that he hoped the issue could be resolved so the Rams and Patriots would be the participants as planned.
Concussions remain hot topic
From the moment Goodell took the podium, it was clear that concussions and injuries in general were at the front of most minds in Indianapolis.
The long-term effects of injuries, particularly those affecting retired players were the subject of Goodell's first question on Friday, and the commissioner said, "I think our former players deserve respect," mentioning the $600 million legacy fund that was formed to help them.
Goodell spoke of the effort to make sure the current and future generation's of players don't face similar issues, saying, "We will always make sure player health and safety is the No. 1 priority of the NFL." That's particularly true in the area of concussions, where Goodell took pride in the fact that "the NFL's leading the way" when it comes to concussion research.
Expanded Thursday package
Goodell announced the NFL Network will expanded its coverage from eight live game broadcast to 13 in 2012. The weekly "Thursday Night Football" schedule will run from Weeks 2-15, skipping Week 12 — with NBC airing the Week 12 Thanksgiving night matchup in place of NFL Network.
All 32 teams will play in a Thursday game following a Sunday game, according to a release from the league, though with 13 games on NFL Network, that's 26 teams that will play on the league's channel. Fox, CBS and NBC will air games on Thanksgiving, accounting for the other six teams.
"We think that's great for the fans, and that's great for the network," Goodell said. Adding these games to the NFL Network schedule will give more players, teams, and cities the primetime stage. Our fans can now get an early start on the NFL weekend in the seasons first 15 weeks.
The NFL Network isn't carried by Time Warner and Cablevision due to ongoing carriage disputes.
"The market has spoken," Goodell said. "The NFL Network is here and will continue to grow."
— Goodell was pleased with Indianapolis' performance as host of the Super Bowl, saying, "It has been a superb week — a tremendous job done by all." He also answered affirmatively when asked if the city was a candidate to host another Super Bowl.
While the game has historically been held in warm weather cities, colder climates have been chosen more often in recent years. Detroit hosted its second Super Bowl in 2006, followed by Indianapolis this year, with MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., scheduled to host Super Bowl XLVII in 2014.
— The NFL is ready to begin implementing HGH testing, and would like to do so this offseason. But issues need to be worked out with the NFL Players Association. NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith said on Thursday that the league won't "bully" its way into testing. The NFLPA continues to have concerns regarding detection methods and the appeals process.
— Goodell said he will recommend the competition committee considers whether to push the trade deadline back from mid-October.
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