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League expansion and more primetime games on Goodell’s agenda

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced Friday that NFL Network will air 13 games during the 2012 season.

Goodell said NFL Network will expand its current eight-game “Thursday Night Football” package starting in Week 2 and running through Week 15.

“Adding these games to the NFL Network schedule will give more players, teams, and cities the prime time stage,” Goodell said at his annual state of the NFL news conference.  “Our fans can now get an early start on the NFL weekend in the season’s first 15 weeks.”

The expansion of the package assures that every NFL team will have at least one game during prime time television hours. In addition, every club will play on one Thursday following a Sunday game.

Goodell also said expansion is not on the table at the moment. When asked about a team returning to Los Angeles, formerly the home of both the Rams and the Raiders franchises, Good responded that the league hasn’t thought about it “at all.”

However, Goodell did say Thursday that if the 32-team league puts a franchise in Los Angeles, it would likely expand to 34 teams.

Goodell reiterated that the league would like to have a team in L.A., but said many issues exist that have to be worked out. There are discussions about two competing stadium sites in Los Angeles, and Goodell thinks the two sides can be brought together.

As for the NFL’s International Series, Goodell said the league has a strategy to make the game “more successful on a global basis.”

Asked about playing games in Latin America, Goodell said there’s a great deal of interest there and that there are current discussions about setting up another game in Mexico. He said it’s “something we’d like to get done sooner than later.”

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