NFL plans to look at bigger playoffs, longer PATs

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 24, 2014 at 4:51 pm •  Published: April 24, 2014
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NEW YORK (AP) — The NFL will discuss expanded playoffs at the owners' meetings next month in Atlanta.

Commissioner Roger Goodell told a gathering of Associated Press Sports Editors on Thursday that a vote is uncertain on the proposal to add two teams to the postseason. Should the owners vote on the increase in May, Goodell said the 14-team playoffs could be implemented for the upcoming season, or for 2015.

If no vote is taken, then 2015 would be the target for expanded playoffs, with a vote possible in October or next March.

The league also would need to consult with the players union on the matter, but it seems clear more playoff teams are on the way.

"We're being very deliberate about it," Goodell said. "We want to make sure we do it in the right way."

The NFL also will experiment with snapping the ball from the 15-yard line on extra points in the first two weeks of the preseason to make them more challenging. A kick from that distance would wind up being about 33 yards. Previously, the plan had been to experiment with moving kicks back to the 20.

But in conversations with the league's competition committee and various teams, officiating director Dean Blandino said it became apparent a 33-yard extra point was a wiser choice for the experiment.

Blandino added that veteran referees Scott Green and Ron Winter have retired, and will be replaced by Craig Wrolstad and Ronald Torbert. Wrolstad had been a field judge and Torbert was a side judge; both have college refereeing experience.

Two female officials will be working minicamps and preseason games: line judge Sarah Thomas and head linesman Maia Chaka. Both work in Conference USA. They are part of the league's officiating development program.

The NFL also hired the sons of two current officials: field judge Brad Freeman, the son of back judge Steve Freeman, a former player with Buffalo; and field judge Shawn Hochuli, son of referee Ed Hochuli.

Goodell and various other NFL executives were asked about the repercussions from the bullying incidents with the Miami Dolphins involving Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito.

"You never want to see any story that reflects on that we don't have the right workplace environment," Goodell said. "We've redoubled our efforts to make sure we provide the right environment ... for everybody in the NFL."



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