INDIANAPOLIS – At the NFL’s annual press conference, Commissioner Roger Goodell announced that NFL Network will televise five additional regular-season games next season as part of its Thursday Night Football package.
The network will carry Thursday night games in Weeks 2-11 and 13-15. NBC will carry the season-opening game in Week 1 on Thursday night and the Thanksgiving day primetime contest in Week 12.
“Adding these games to the NFL Network schedule will give more players, teams, and cities the primetime stage,” Commissioner Goodell said. “Our fans can now get an early start on the NFL weekend in the season’s first 15 weeks.”
As part of the Thursday Night Football schedule expansion, all 32 teams are guaranteed a primetime game next season.
Earlier this year, it was announced that the St. Louis Rams would host games in the United Kingdom for three consecutive seasons as part of the NFL’s International Series. The Rams are the first NFL team to commit to playing games abroad on a regular basis.
On Friday, Goodell announced that the popular channel NFL RedZone will be available in Spanish beginning next season. NFL RedZone is produced by NFL Network and shows viewers live look-ins to the various games in action on NFL Sundays.
The commissioner talked about making international growth a priority and opened up the possibility of playing games in Mexico and Europe in the future.
“There is a great deal of interest in Latin America to play a game,” Goodell said. “We would like to get back to Mexico with another regular season game. We’ve discussed it with our partners in Mexico and it is something we would like to get done sooner rather than later.”
Goodell said that the league wouldn’t expand its International Series without careful consideration and planning.
“This is all about a collective strategy to make our game more successful on a global basis, and the effort that we are putting in with the U.K., and London as an example, are all designed to build a model that is going to grow our game and its popularity in the U.K. If that’s successful, we will expand throughout Europe. The same thing is true in Mexico, and what we can do in Latin America if we’re successful there.”
Although the weather has been unseasonably warm in Indianapolis this week — and was unseasonably cold in Dallas last year — the 2014 Super Bowl that will be played in the New York/New Jersey area has given other cold-weather cities like Denver hope of hosting the event in the future.
“We are a city worthy of hosting the Super Bowl,” Broncos president Joe Ellis told the Denver Post this week. “It’s definitely something we’re looking at.”
Goodell said that while he is all for playing the game in all sorts of weather elements, the league will look at the New York/New Jersey Super Bowl to determine its plans going forward.
“I’m a big believer that the game of football is played in all elements,” Goodell said. “We see it, and some our classic games were played in snow or ice or cold. … We do have another side, which is they believe that when you get to the Super Bowl, it should be played in conditions that are not impacted by weather. That’s a balancing act. We’re going to play an outdoor game in new York, in 2014 for the Super Bowl. … Let’s see how that event comes off. We think it’s going to be very positive and let’s go from there.”
The Broncos front office will be watching that event closely, hoping it will open the door for cities such as Denver to enter the Super Bowl hosting rotation.
“Who wouldn’t want the Super Bowl?” Ellis said to the Denver Post. “I think it would be great for Denver, and our city deserves an event like that.”
Tags: Roger Goodell