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WASHINGTON — If the NFL moves forward with the notion of expanding its playoff field to 14 teams, at least one marketing slogan is already in the bag:

Eight-and-eight can win a date ... to the Big Dance.

As league owners wrapped up their day-long fall meetings Tuesday, Commissioner Roger Goodell said it's possible that the playoffs, set at 12 teams since 1990, can be expanded for the 2015 season at the earliest.

It will happen.

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Goodell opened the meetings by declaring to owners that the league is in the strongest position it has been in during his 32 years with the NFL.

With a long-term labor deal with players, another huge increase in network TV contracts, more stadium projects in the works and, most important, enormous popularity, it's tough to argue that the business of the NFL has ever been stronger.

It even settled, for $765 million, the concussion case with retired players that threatened to cost a lot more, perhaps in the billions.

Now would be a good time to expand the NFL playoffs.

People will watch, accompanied by hype and ratings.

And as Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones likes to say, they can find another way to grow the pie.

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