NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Tuesday that he anticipates the playoff field expanding from 12 to 14 teams, beginning in the 2015 season.
"I do believe it will be approved for the 2015 season," Goodell said at the league meetings in Atlanta. "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."
Playoff expansion means there would be a third wild-card game in each conference, and that only the top-seeded team would get a first-round bye. In the current system, the top two teams get a week off.
DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the NFL Players Assn., has suggested players might not be amenable to expanding the playoffs. Goodell said such an expansion would be of "real benefit" to the players, because it would generate more money for the league and in turn raise the salary cap.
"This is something I've had numerous conversations with DeMaurice about," Goodell said. "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."
The NFL is experimenting with one change right away. For the first two weeks of exhibition games this summer, extra-point kicks will be longer, with the ball being snapped from the 15-yard line. That means those PATs will be about 33 yards.
Minneapolis was selected over New Orleans and Indianapolis to play host to Super Bowl LII in 2018. The game will be played in a new $1-billion stadium for the Vikings, about half of which is being paid for by Minnesota and the city.
The only other Super Bowl in Minneapolis took place in January 1992, at the Metrodome, when Washington defeated Buffalo.
The next three Super Bowls will be played in Glendale, Ariz., Santa Clara, Calif., and Houston.
Goodell praised the NBA's handling of the Donald Sterling situation and the punishment of the Clippers owner.
"I think they've made the right decisions," Goodell said. "I salute [NBA Commissioner] Adam Silver for being decisive. He made the right statement and he's doing the right things."Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times