NFL Talk With the Commissioner

Find out what NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell had to say about the playoffs, an 18-game season, instant replay and the Collective Bargaining Agreement in these excerpts from his Sunday press conference at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.

On how he sees teams playing guys vs. not playing guys in the final week of the regular season:

Commissioner Goodell: I actually don't think it's been a big issue this year. It was an issue that we spent a great deal of time discussing in the offseason last year. I think we owe the fans competitive football, and I think our players should play when they're capable of playing. I really go back to the Giants-Patriots game last year in the regular season. Obviously, the Patriots were going for an undefeated season, but the Giants had no consequences. But it created that momentum, which may have started their move toward the Super Bowl and ultimately winning the Super Bowl. I think coaches and teams now are thinking more about getting that momentum going into the playoffs, and I think that's a good thing for our fans.

On whether an injury to Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger would change that:

Injuries are part of the game. They happen. They're unfortunate. Hopefully it's not serious, and he'll be in there for the playoffs.

On if there is any thought about reseeding the playoffs and maybe having a Wild Card team hosting a playoff game:

We talked an awful lot about that in the Competition Committee with the membership last year. Frankly, they all felt that winning the division was the No. 1 objective when you come into a season, and that should be the highest priority. I think that we'll continue on with that system at least for the foreseeable future.

On whether there has been any thought to increasing the number of playoff teams:

There have been proposals from time to time. There's a great deal of resistance to that, also, so I don't see any great movement in that area.

On what the prospect of an 18-game schedule would mean for teams who are in a late-season position with no hope for the playoffs:

Who knows? They might get on a win streak.

On if he doesn't think 16 games is enough:

I think most fans would tell you that they'd like to see more football, and that's what we find. It's really not just an extension. It's a reduction of the preseason and a potential increase of the regular season. I think people, if they had the opportunity to see more regular season and less preseason, they'd take that option.

On how instant replay has changed from just looking at it into a frame-by-frame, high definition look:

That's the way the game is. We didn't have the high def when instant replay came into the league. That's the reality of what happens. You get more angles. You get better angles, and you get a much more clear picture. So, you're able to determine things now that you couldn't determine 10 years ago or 20 years ago.

On if there has been thought about moving replay calls to someone in the booth:

We had that system once. From time to time, you hear that. We've had different modifications of the system, but it was felt that the referee on the field who has all the information should make the ultimate decision and the decision should stay down there. That's ultimately where the Competition Committee and the clubs came out.

On whether he sees any further changes in the replay system for the playoffs, particularly the change talked about regarding a second consultation:

That's in effect. That has been in effect for the remainder of the regular season and the postseason. I don't see anything more, no, for this postseason. But we will obviously, as we do every year, go back and look at instant replay and see if there are any other modifications that make sense.

On what the latest news is on the Collective Bargaining Agreement:

They're going through the process of selecting the new leader of the NFLPA. We are doing our work internally to make sure we're prepared for the negotiation when they're ready. We'll start those negotiations whenever they're prepared. I'm presuming they probably won't start until the summer, at least.


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