The issue will not come to a vote until at least the NFL owners meetings in March, but as far as NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is concerned, the reasons are all there in line with expanding the playoff field by one team in each conference.
And reasonable supposition is that Goodell, as the top representative of NFL owners, would not be speaking in favor of something that his bosses will be opposing.
In his annual address at the Super Bowl, Goodell said that the addition of a seventh team to the playoff brackets for the AFC and NFC simply had myriad reasons for making happen.
“There’s a lot of benefits to doing that,” Goodell said. “We think we can make the league more competitive. We think we can make the matchups more competitive toward the end of the season. There’ll be more excitement, more memorable moments for our fans.
“I think we can do it properly from a competitive standpoint. This will continue to get very serious consideration from the Competition Committee and then the membership will have to vote on it, the ownership.”
The NFL released figures this month showing that concussions were down this past season over previous years. Goodell ran through a number of possible reasons for the decline, finishing with perhaps the most important one going forward:
“The culture is changing,” Goodell said, “and changing for the better.”