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Goodell: All teams to go prime time in new Thursday night slate

INDIANAPOLIS -- What started on Nov. 23, 2006, when the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Denver Broncos 19-10 at Arrowhead Stadium, will expand in 2012.

"Thursday Night Football" games will be played from Weeks 2 to 15 next season, increasing the number of contests broadcast on NFL Network from eight to 13.

"This will result in every team appearing in Thursday football games and every team having a prime-time appearance throughout the season," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said at his annual state-of-the-NFL news conference Friday at the Super Bowl XLVI media center.

Goodell sees the expanded "Thursday Night Football" schedule as positive for all parties.

"We think it's great for the fans," Goodell said. "We think it's great for the teams because everyone will get that prime-time exposure, and we think it's great for the network. The network continues to do an incredible job of promoting our sport, our game, and giving the fans an opportunity, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to get NFL football. They've shown how much they want to see football."

NFL Network still isn't available to all viewers, though. The league will work to make sure providers such as Cablevision and Time Warner Cable include it in their offerings to consumers.

"Every cable operator, other than the two, has seen that with their customers," Goodell said of NFL Network's popularity "We'll continue to work with them. We'll continue to try to get an agreement. The market has spoken. The NFL Network's here, and it's going to continue to grow."

Goodell addressed a wide variety of other topics Friday:

Expansion or relocation

to Los Angeles?

Los Angeles is the second-largest media market in the United States, behind only New York. However, it hasn't been the home of an NFL team since the Raiders moved back to Oakland and the Rams headed to St. Louis for the 1995 season.

Although there is a desire to have a team in Los Angeles, Goodell said relocating one of the 32 teams currently in the league isn't the preferred method.

"We want to keep our teams where they are," Goodell said. "We believe that's healthier for the league in the long term. We're working to get stadiums built and making sure we do everything we can to make sure those teams are successful."

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

Peyton Manning's future

While the New York Giants and New England Patriots prepare to play in Super Bowl XLVI on Sunday night, much time and attention this week went to Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, whose future is in doubt after his third neck surgery.

"We all know what Peyton Manning means to the Indianapolis Colts, what he means to this community," Goodell said. "He's a great player, and the team has to make difficult decisions in the next several weeks. I don't think it distracts from the event."

Super Bowls and international games

The NFL already has decided its next three Super Bowl sites: New Orleans (2013), New York/New Jersey (2014) and Arizona (2015). The New York Super Bowl will be the first outdoor game in a cold-weather venue, leading questions of Goodell about the possibility of staging the event in cities such as Chicago and Philadelphia.

"There are a number of issues that go into hosting the Super Bowl," Goodell said. "It's not just the size of the stadium. It's clearly about the number of hotel rooms and the other infrastructure."

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 and there currently are discussions about setting up another game in Mexico. He said it's "something we'd like to get done sooner than later."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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