League deftly changes the subject with talk of playoff expansion
With former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue issuing a stunning rebuke to his successor on Tuesday via the scuttling of the bounty suspensions (along with a subtle, passive-aggressive scolding on how Commissioners should handle cultural changes) and with Commissioner Roger Goodell facing the media on Wednesday at the conclusion of the quarterly ownership meetings, the folks who craft the media message for the NFL had a challenge.
How do we get people to quit talking so much about the outcome of the bounty case?
Enter the topic of playoff expansion.
Dormant for years, Goodell offered the subject unprompted at the outset of his press conference, ensuring that some of the questions would focus on that subject -- and possibly pushing the issue to the top of the stack for TV, talk radio, and the Internet.
That’s not to say the discussion about expanding the playoffs during the ownership meeting wasn’t legitimate. The fact that the possibility found its way into Goodell’s brief opening remarks suggests that the league wanted us to be talking about something other than one of the most embarrassing moments in Goodell’s six-year tenure.
So we’re talking about it. And based on the early returns in the poll question, it looks like most of you are against it.