New York -- To the surprise of nobody, weather has been a popular topic here during Super Bowl week for Sunday night's NFL championship game (in case you hadn't heard, this will be the first ever Super Bowl to be played outside in a cold weather city).
That conversation continued Friday morning during NFL commissioner Roger Goodell's annual State of the League press conference.
Goodell opened by reminding reporters that when former commissioner Pete Rozelle put the Super Bowl in a neutral it wasn't the most popular idea back in the day. "That was a radical idea at the time," Goodell said. "We are doing something innovate and unprecedented." He continued by saying he felt Rozelle would be "proud" of this week.
Showing a lighter side, Goodell then remarked that the league "can't control the weather," only to have fake snow drop behind the podium.
With all the talk about the weather for Sunday's game, Goodell lamented that the two teams combatants -- the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks -- should be getting the spotlight instead of the Doppler radar. "People seem to be overlooking the great teams that we have here," he said. "I think the game itself is going to carry the day and it should."
When asked about the potential for any future cold weather cities that have outdoor stadiums to host a Super Bowl, Goodell explained that the decision is based more on the city's infrastructure than the weather. He said that they needed about 30,000 hotel rooms for this week.
Goodell discussed more than the elements during a wide-ranging session, including the possibility of expanding the league's 12-team playoff field. The current rumor is that the league is looking to add two more teams (one in each conference).
"We think we can do it properly from a competitive standpoint," said Goodell. "This will continue to get very serious consideration."
Another hot button issue is a possible expansion oversees with a team in London; Goodell said that although there were closer than a year ago to having a permanent team across the pond, that it still a long ways away.
"I believe [we] are further down the road…what our next step is, I don’t know."
The league has scheduled three games there next season, the most since it started playing its so-called "International Series" at Wembley Stadium in 2007. All three contests are sold out, showing that London fans still can't get enough of American football.
After the press conference, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who is also the chairman of the league's broadcasting committee, spoke briefly about the Thursday night package of games that the NFL is shopping.
"We really want to highlight Thursday night," he told the scrum of reporters, acknowledging that it's the last rights package the league can sell for long time. "I hope in the next few weeks we can get this thing finalized."
As to renewal negotiations with DirecTV for the Sunday Ticket package, Kraft hopes a deal will be reached soon. "We've been working on that for quite some time…It's been a great partnership and I personally hope it continues."
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