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For NFL owners, the additional dollars also might eliminate their currently dormant proposal for an 18-game regular season, something the union says won’t ever happen.

Meanwhile, Mara, a trusted adviser to Goodell and one of the league’s most influential owners, appears to be leading a losing battle for the status quo.

“I just like it the way it is right now,” he said of the playoff structure that has existed since 1990. “I think we’re diluting it too much. It also creates other issues. You’re going to play one of those games on a Monday night, and the prospect of doing that in January is not all that appealing.

“We had a great opening wild-card weekend this year and it seems like we have that every year, and I’m not sure what this is going to bring.”

It will bring more money to the owners and players, more football for the fans, more eyeballs for the networks.

And it is coming.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL