Roger Goodell appears on Pat McAfee Show Photo Credit: Pat McAfee Show

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell finally accepted the challenge to appear on The Pat McAfee Show, and the host wasted no time pinning him down on the league’s thorny “18-games” issue.

In December, McAfee challenged Goodell to “nut up” and “put your big boy pants on” and appear on his show. Goodell finally accepted the invitation, appearing Friday on the show’s set at the NFL Draft in Detroit.

The big reveal came when McAfee asked the commissioner about the NFL possibly expanding to 18 regular-season games. There’s been speculation for years that the league will eventually do that, although the NFLPA has opposed the idea. Yet Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio reported in March that “There’s a lingering sense the NFL still wants to get to 18 regular-season games,” although that might not happen until the current Collective Bargaining Agreement expires in 2030.

So McAfee put the question directly to Goodell.

“Is there a plan to continue to expand, because 17 games feels good now,” McAfee said. “Is there a thought of adding another one … or are we good at 17 right now?”

“I think we’re good at 17 (games) now, but … I’m not a fan of the preseason. I don’t think we need preseason, and I don’t think these guys like it, either,” Goodell said, motioning to the fans behind the set, who cheered.

“I’d rather replace a preseason game with a regular-season (game) any day, that’s just picking quality (more cheers from the fans) … If we got to 18 (regular season) and two (preseason), that’s not an unreasonable thing.”

It’s the kind of newsworthy comment McAfee likely expected when he challenged Goodell to appear.

As for the 18-game schedule, some observers view it as almost a given at some point in the near future, although hashing out the details will be tricky; one of the factors behind the 2011 NFL players lockout involved the push to expand the schedule beyond 16 games.

But with the NFL posting record regular-season and postseason ratings last season, more potential TV and streaming partners and plenty of fan interest, team owners will continue looking to expand their revenue.

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About Arthur Weinstein

Arthur spends his free time traveling around the U.S. to sporting events, state and national parks, and in search of great restaurants off the beaten path.