NFL fans who think there are too many preseason games have an unlikely ally: Roger Goodell.
Speaking to a group of Giants season-ticket holders during a fan forum on Monday at MetLife Stadium, Goodell said he would like to see the league reduce the preseason to three games, and perhaps two at some point down the road. All teams currently play four preseason games; the two teams that participate in the Hall of Fame game play five.
“When I go around to fans, that’s maybe the No. 1 thing I hear,” Goodell said of complaints that there are too many preseason games. “The NFL should do things to the highest possible standards. Preseason games are not that.”
Goodell acknowledged that preseason games shouldn’t be completely eliminated because coaches and executives need the games to make personnel evaluations.
“There’s value to them, building a team, evaluating players,” he said. “But there are other ways of doing that. I think we could do it in three [games]. Almost every coach has agreed we could get done what we need to in three games.”
While there are no immediate plans to reduce the preseason schedule, Goodell said he would need to consult with the NFL Players Association before making any decisions.
“Any change in the [overall game] structure, we said that we would collectively bargain,” he told reporters after the hour-long forum.
He suggested that it is possible that the two sides could agree on reducing the preseason schedule without having to re-open CBA talks. The current contract with the players runs through the 2020 season.
“Just a simple reduction of the preseason games, we may be able to do that,” he said. “But I would have to check on that. We agreed collectively that any change in the structure, we would look at.”
Notes & quotes: Asked about the speculation raised by former NFL receiver Cris Carter that the NFL appears ready to suspend Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott for domestic violence, Goodell said the matter still is pending. “I don’t think Cris has anything to do with the decision,” Goodell said. “We haven’t made any decisions yet.” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said last week that he didn’t think Elliott would be suspended.