Goodell Defends Longer Season
During a panel discussion today featuring the commissioners of the four major U.S. pro sports leagues, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell defended the league's proposed lengthening of its regular season.
Goodell was asked during the discussion, which was hosted in New York by the Wall Street Journal and carried online, whether the NFL would be risking an increase in the number of injuries suffered by players.
"We are playing a 20-game season now," Goodell said, stressing that the total number of preseason and regular season games would not be increased. He also said the league's research has shown that "the injury rate goes down later in the season."
Goodell and many franchise owners have expressed support for a proposal to increase the regular season from 16 to 17 or 18 games per team, and reduce the preseason by a corresponding number of games.
The owners might vote on the proposal during a meeting later this month in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Goodell and the owners have indicated they will address the issue with the players' union during the two sides' labor negotiations.
A longer regular season might push the Super Bowl later into February. But Goodell doesn't seem concerned, making the point today that pro football has the shortest season of the four sports.
"Our season is 27 weeks start to finish," Goodell said. "... The length of our season would not really change."
During a lighthearted exchange, NBA Commissioner David Stern said: "As a season ticket holder of the Giants, I love August football. February was meant to be NBA and NHL all-star time."
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