(Reuters) - National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell said league owners are considering an expanded playoff format and that he would like to see franchises in Los Angeles and London.
Nearly every game during the final week of the NFL’s 2013 regular season had playoff implications and Goodell said the league needs to maintain that competitiveness, and expanding the current 12-team postseason format could be the answer.
“That is under serious consideration,” Goodell told an event in New York on Tuesday. “One of the great things about the NFL other than it’s unscripted is that every team starts the season with hope.”
While Goodell admitted that NFL owners are considering the addition of two wild-card teams to the playoff mix, he did not offer a timeline for when such a change would occur.
He did, however, offer support for basing teams in London, where the NFL has held a regular season game each year beginning with the 2007 season, and Los Angeles, where the league has been without a team since 1995.
Los Angeles has been the largest U.S. market without an NFL team since the Raiders left for Oakland nearly 20 years ago.
The NFL’s International Series, which began in 2007 with one game per season at London’s Wembley Stadium, was created to help grow the league’s fan base. The game’s regularly attract crowds of over 80,000 and three games will be held at Wembley in 2014.
“I think it’s possible if we continue to have success in London that we would have a franchise there,” said Goodell, who did not express a preference for which city - London or Los Angeles - might land an NFL franchise first.
“I don’t know which will be first and I’m not sure I care. I’d like to see if we can be successful in both ultimately.”
With New Jersey set to host the NFL’s first cold-weather Super Bowl on February 2, Goodell said there is no guarantee other cities in cold climates with outdoor stadiums will get the chance to host the league’s championship game.
The New York and New Jersey area were awarded hosting rights for the Super Bowl back in 2010 with a bid that trumped others in projected economic benefit for the league and ticket sales.
“This is obviously innovative and it’s something new but it’s also unique because it’s New York,” said Goodell.
“Every city can’t host a Super Bowl just because of the sheer enormity of this event. And it’s not just a football game. We have a week full of events, we probably have well over 150,000 coming in to the New York region for this event.”
Reporting by Frank Pingue, editing by Pritha Sarkar