NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is looking to reduce the traditional four-game pre-season schedule, believing the exhibition games do not represent a quality product.
Any changes to the schedule would have to be agreed to in the next collective bargaining agreement between the league and NFL Players Association. The current CBA expires following the 2020 season; preliminary talks between the two parties have already begun, though union leaders and agents have warned players to prepare for a potential work stoppage.
It is unclear if the regular season would be expanded to 18 games, as some owners have proposed, if the four-game pre-season is cut.
“I feel what we should be doing is always to the highest quality, and I’m not sure pre-season games meet that level right now,” Goodell said on Monday regarding the exhibition schedule.
“I’m not sure, talking with coaches, that four pre-season games is necessary any more to get ready for a season to evaluate players, develop players. There are other ways of doing that, and we’ve had a lot of discussions about that,” he said.
Goodell added that the NFL would prefer the Buffalo Bills to build a new stadium to replace their existing facility, New Era Field, which was built in 1973.
The Bills are conducting a feasibility study on whether to build a new stadium in downtown Buffalo or remain at their existing site in suburban Orchard Park, N.Y.
“I want to make sure this franchise remains stable here, and continues and remains competitive,” Goodell said.