NFL owners pushed back discussions about an expanded playoff system Tuesday, tabling the topic until fall meetings, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. Those meetings will take place on Oct. 7-8.
Possible changes under consideration include expanding the format from 12 teams to 14 teams, and adding more games. For a change like that to become official, 24 of the 32 NFL owners would have to be in favor of it. But according to Schefter, proceedings didn't advance towards a vote.
Owners wanted to take a "wait-and-see" approach while discussing other issues, such as the workers' compensation concerns brought up by the NFL Players Association, according to Vaughn McClure of ESPN. NFLPA head DeMaurice Smith said Monday that the league has not consulted the union on the expanded playoff system.
Smith went on to say that the league was not displaying a "credible commitment to player health and safety" by recommending that players play more games without taking the union into account. As to whether that was the determining factor in tabling the discussions, only the owners know that. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has called playoff expansion "inevitable," however.
In a press conference following the meetings, commissioner Roger Goodell talked even more about the playoffs. He said there would be no expansion this year, with focus currently on creating more "Thursday Night Football" broadcasts, which will be split between the NFL Network and CBS this year, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. Goodell did say that he expects expanded playoffs for 2015, as noted by the Around The League Twitter account.
Goodell added that he spoke with Smith regarding expanded playoffs two weeks ago and that Smith "didn't even mention" workers' compensation concerns, according to Rapoport.
Future of the Bills
Discussions at the meeting also centered on the Buffalo Bills and their future. New York Giants owner John Mara said he wants the Bills to stay in western New York, but that a new stadium is "probably necessary," according to Tim Graham of the Buffalo News. Mara added that he believes most owners are in favor of keeping the Bills in Buffalo long term, according to Bob Glauber of Newsday.
Mara's comments are significant given that the Bills are for sale following the death of long-time owner Ralph Wilson. The NFL shares revenue across 32 teams, and if owners thought Buffalo wasn't a profitable market, there might have been far less outright support from Mara.
Goodell also noted in his conference that the Bills "need to look beyond" the 10 years they have left on the lease for their current stadium, according to Rapoport.
Punishment for Irsay?
When asked about Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay, who recently gave his first public comments since an arrest in March, Goodell said that there will be no sanctions from the league until the legal process plays out, according to Albert Breer of the NFL Network. No charges have yet been filed against Irsay. If charges are filed, many expect the NFL to act given how tough the league has been on players in recent years.
Goodell spoke briefly about the DirecTV talk and the NFL Sunday Ticket. The league and the television provider are trying to negotiate an extension, and the NFL is expected to make an awful lot more money when the process is through. Goodell said that he hopes that talks will come"to a successful conclusion soon."
Two more quotes worth noting: Goodell said there has been no progress on HGH testing with the NFL Players Association, saying "It's time to get going. Let's go," according to Rapoport. He also said that the union asked him to intervene in the Robert Mathis case as a "hearing officer," but Goodell declined, per Breer.