John Mara not a fan of expanding NFL playoffs

New York Giants owner John Mara speaks at New York Giants owner John Mara speaks at a news conference. (July 21, 2011) Photo Credit: AP

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ATLANTA -- Giants president John Mara has never been a fan of expanding the playoff field from 12 to 14 teams, but even he realizes he is in the minority and might have to accept the inevitable. Perhaps as soon as the 2015 season, when owners could approve adding one wild-card team from each conference.

"I've always been against it," Mara said Tuesday at the league's annual May owners meetings. "I just like it the way it is right now. I think we're diluting it too much . It also creates other issues. You're going to play one of those games on a Monday night and the prospect of doing that in January is not all that appealing. But most importantly, I like the way it is right now.

"We had a great opening wild-card weekend this year and it seems like we have that every year and I'm not sure what this is going to bring."

The subject of expanded playoffs was tabled Tuesday, and owners are likely to take up the issue at their fall meetings in October in Detroit.

Mara said he didn't think approving the playoffs was "a sure thing at all," because it would require a vote of 24 of the league's 32 owners. Even so, there might not be enough sentiment to prevent it from happening. "I would probably say it's more likely than not [to happen]," he said. "It still requires 24 votes, and that's never a sure thing."

Mara said no straw poll was taken, "so I really don't know what the rest of the membership thinks."

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, a proponent of playoff expansion, said, "I do believe it will be approved for 2015. I think we want to see one more year, if [playoff races] will impact the regular season in a positive way."

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Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said that he believes there is a big enough group of owners in favor of expanding the playoffs to push the measure through.

Mara said the prospect of a team with a losing record getting into the playoffs doesn't appeal to him.

"Teams can go from 9-7 to the Super Bowl, as we've seen," he said, referring to the Giants' 2011 Super Bowl run. "Can they do it from 7-9 or 8-8, I don't know. You tell me."

One potential hang-up, Mara said, is the prospect of having one of the wild-card games on a Monday night, meaning that the winner of that game would be on a short week to prepare for the divisional round.

Jets owner Woody Johnson is in favor of expanding the playoff field. "I think we're going to have to do it," Johnson said. "The timing has to be right when we do it. It's a complicated scheduling issue and there are a number of issues to go through, but I think the idea would be good for the league. It's just a question of when."

Minneapolis wins Super bid. In an upset, owners approved Minneapolis to host the 2018 Super Bowl. New Orleans, which has hosted the Super Bowl 10 times, was expected to win the bid, but owners were impressed by the public-private partnership involved in the construction of a new stadium for the Vikings. The stadium is expected to be ready in time for the 2016 season.

NFL draft no longer in NY?The NFL has formed a committee to look into how it will stage future NFL drafts. The league is exploring the possibility of moving the draft out of New York, as well as continuing to hold the draft in May. Mara said he preferred that it not be held on Mother's Day weekend, as was the case this year.

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