The NFL had wanted to expand the regular season for more than a decade. It finally has gotten what it wanted.

In a podcast appearance from early September with Hall of Fame kicker Morten Andersen, which went largely unnoticed until this weekend, Goodell described the 17-game season as a “flight to quality,” via Scott Jenkins of

He apparently means that, by swapping a week of meaningless games for a week of meaningful ones, more of the total 20 games played by 30 teams (the two Hall of Fame game participants play 21) a greater percentage of the games have value an relevance.

Goodell said it’s “great for our fans” to have more teams fighting for playoff spots, and that it creates “the excitement and the drama that we’re all looking for.”

The Commissioner’s reasoning becomes even more reason to suspect that 17 games represents a short-term layover on the “flight to quality.” Eventually, the league will push to push the needle from 17 and three to 18 and two. At the latest, the NFL will try to add yet another regular-season game upon conclusion of the current CBA, in the early part of the next decade.