Goodell has good news for Toronto

ROB LONGLEY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:01 AM ET

Toronto has made the short list to become the next non-U.S. city to play host to an NFL regular-season game.

And for the first time, commissioner Roger Goodell hinted broadly yesterday that international expansion could happen "within a decade."

Speaking at a Reuters Media Summit in New York, Goodell suggested that because of location, Toronto and Mexico City would be frontrunners for international expansion should it happen.

"We can envision that," Goodell said while addressing the issue of expansion outside the U.S. "I don't know if it will become a reality but it's certainly a possibility."

"The closer to the border, probably the more likely from a geographic standpoint, but I don't think in today's world that's a hurdle to overcome."

Goodell also said that Toronto is among the mix of five cities in consideration for an NFL regular-season game in 2007. The rest of that short list includes Mexico City, London, Frankfurt and Cologne.

Mexico City played host to a game in 2005 and the NFL board of governors recently approved expanding that initiative to at least one game a season.

The league had previously stated that Toronto would be unlikely to get a date in 2007 to avoid conflict with the Grey Cup, which is scheduled for the Rogers Centre.

Goodell's predecessor, Paul Tagliabue, had a far more cautious approach to expansion, suggesting as recently as last year's Super Bowl that it wasn't in league plans.


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