by William Moultrie
New Orleans, LA – When the Super Bowl rolls into town the talk inevitably turns to money, and this year is no exception. To that end, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell hosted an informal meeting with business reporters on Thursday to discuss possible new revenue streams for the league and its players, including the possibility of converting the existing playoff system into a series of college-like bowl games.
“We’re not saying this is definitely going to happen,” said Goodell, “it’s just one of many things we’re always exploring.”
Goodell continued, comparing the NFL playoff system to the Bowl system used in Division I college football.
“Sure, they get their fair share of criticism, but look at what we’ve got — there are 32 teams in the NFL and only 12 of them make it into the playoffs. We’re writing off almost 60% of our fan base when the regular season ends, and there are dollars left in their pockets that they would have spent had their team made it to the post-season. Even if we just used the NCAA’s “bowl eligible” requirement of a .500 record, we would have four more teams in the postseason, and that would be good for everybody.”
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has expressed interest in the idea.
“I certainly think it’s worth looking into,” said Jones. “I mean look at the Cowboys this year; we’re a good team and we still had some good playing left in us. And I don’t have to tell you that filling up Cowboys Stadium one more time would be good for everyone’s bottom line: players, vendors, surrounding businesses… even us owners would probably make a few dollars.”
Asked about how a bowl system would affect deciding the conference and league champions, Goodell was dismissive that there would be a conflict.
“Listen,” said Goodell, “we’re always going to have a Super Bowl and everyone is always going to know who the best teams are at the end of the season. We manage to rank the 20 teams who didn’t make the playoffs in the current system, so why would we have trouble ranking everyone else.”
“It’s nothing to worry about,” said Goodell as the session wrapped up, “like I said it will… I mean, it would be a win-win for everybody.”