Posted September 29, 2013

NFL reportedly considering expanded playoffs, shortened preseason

NFL Playoffs
'There are teams that should qualify for the playoffs and don’t and could win the Super Bowl,' Roger Goodell said.

‘There are teams that should qualify for the playoffs and don’t and could win the Super Bowl,’ Roger Goodell said. (Icon SMI)

The NFL playoffs may have a couple of extra teams starting in 2014, if rumored scheduling changes get the go-ahead.

ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported Sunday that the league is “urgently discussing” the possibility of shortening the preseason from four games to three, with that adjustment coming hand-in-hand with an expansion of the playoff field from 12 to 14 teams.

“That would offset teams’ lost revenue from the elimination of a preseason game, and it also could lead to additional television revenues for the league,” Mortensen wrote on ESPN.com.

Commissioner Roger Goodell strongly hinted at the possibility of a more populated postseason in an NFL.com interview last week.

“A reasonable argument could be made that there are teams that should qualify for the playoffs and don’t and could win the Super Bowl,” Goodell told Judy Battista. “I don’t think we want to expand just to have more teams. We want to create more excitement, more interest and give teams a chance to win the Super Bowl.”

A 14-team playoff — seven teams per conference — likely would limit first-round byes to just the top qualifying team. With that setup, six teams from both the AFC and NFC would compete in the current “wild-card round,” giving the NFL an extra game that weekend. The divisional round would maintain its current format.

Another option could be to adopt MLB’s play-in wild-card format and have the two lowest-seeded teams from each conference meet, with the winners rounding out a 12-team bracket that mirrors the current setup.

Regardless of how the NFL might envision an updated postseason, it seems clear that there are changes of some sort on the horizon.

The league’s lengthy preseason has come under increased scrutiny in recent years, as it runs in contrast to the NFL’s push for player safety. The competition committee, according to Mortensen, suggested that a three-game preseason is the minimum teams need to prepare for the regular season. Currently, each team plays two road and two home preseason games — the possible loss of a preseason game, even in alternating years, may be of concern to some owners.

Under a 14-game playoff system, the 8-8 Steelers and 10-6 Bears would have qualified last season in the AFC and NFC, respectively. New England and San Francisco, which both received byes in 2012, both would have had to play in the opening round under that three-game wild-card round plan mentioned above.

It almost goes without saying that any additional playoff games would be cash cows for the league. The wild-card round averaged more than 30 million viewers per game last season; the first-round contests landed as the top four rated network broadcasts for the week of Dec. 31, 2012-Jan. 6, 2013, per TV by the Numbers.

In other words, there’s money to be made from expanding the postseason, even at the expense of the preseason. And the NFL has rarely turned away from possible revenue sources.

15 comments
bobinpowell
bobinpowell

Great!  Let's expand the playoffs and finish the season the same time the NBA and NHL do.  Agree with the bigdawg3 below that Goodell is pure scum-of-the-earth.

thebigdawg3
thebigdawg3

Roger Goodell is pure scum-of-the-earth.

opinionhated
opinionhated

The Cowboys will have a chance for sure this way! Muahaha... -J. Jones

opinionhated
opinionhated

Whatever happened to that 18 game regular season they were pushing?

closetjaysfan
closetjaysfan

Im thinking this has everything to do with how tight the race in MLB was this year.

gbgentleman
gbgentleman

More teams in the playoff just means less teams have to play for.  I am watching less and less football as it is; turn it into the NBA and I'll pass.


Wisconsin Death Trip
Wisconsin Death Trip

How about addressing the rules committee first, and doing away with such classic farces as "Intentional grounding" .........what a joke. Sometimes it's a complete blur between the NCAA and the NFL!

jj55
jj55

Sure why not? Let's have all the teams make the playoffs except one, sort of like the NHL model. Then let's give Super Bolwl trophies to each team, with the winner getting the Super Bowl Platinum trophy. To ensure that marquee players aren't injured, all tackling will be illegal.

steve2jerry
steve2jerry

 I never like fixing what isn't broken, and I have disagreed with many of Goodell's moves, but I actually SUPPORT this if done in the RIGHT WAY (see below). When there were 28 teams, 12 made the playoffs, that's just under 43%. Since then the NFL added 4 teams WITHOUT increasing playoff spots. With 32 teams and 14 spots the percentage is just under 44%. No change.

HOWEVER, to prevent the mediocre teams from entering, which is the ONLY drawback to this addition, instead of allowing a crappy division to crown it's 8-8 winner a playoff berth, allow only the TOP 3 DIVISION winners in each conference a birth, that way you TOTALLY AVOID crappy teams entering the playoffs and the other 4 teams with the BEST RECORD enter in as wild cards. I guarantee you will NOT see an 8-8 team enter for a long, long time in this format.

Also, many 11-5 and 10-6 teams DO NOT make the playoffs simply because the current format allows a team from each of the 4 divisions to enter, and the 4th place division winner is often crappy. Take the NFC East this year. You will see a 9-7 division winner there. Instead of that 9-7 NFC East team getting the #4 home game, they will most likely get #6 IF their record is good enough to get in, which solves the other issue of the worst team hosting a playoff game.

The preseason of 4 games was always too long and I totally support removing the extra game as a result of this playoff addition. The key here is, they HAVE to only allow 3 division winners to make the playoffs to avoid the watered-down problem in this new playoff proposal.

joe6647
joe6647

cant wait till 7-9 teams make the playoffs on a regular basis and the NFL regular season becomes just like the NBA and NHL regular season.  

newshamg
newshamg

Goodell told Judy Battista. “I don’t think we want to expand just to have more teams. We want to create more excitement, more interest and give teams a chance to win the Super Bowl.”

Liar Roger. You do want more teams just to have more teams so that you have more games and make oodles more money. Just tell the truth !!!!!


DavidS1
DavidS1

@steve2jerry Let's see. Last year, 8-8 Steelers would've made the playoffs. Says so in the article. So much for your "guarantee you will not see an 8-8 team enter". It really makes no difference if your suggestion is implemented, the result is the same. There were only 2 teams with a winning record who didn't make it last year (one was 10-6 and one was 9-7).

2011...you would get an additional 9-7 and an 8-8 (again) team into the playoffs. That 9-7 team was the only team with a winning record that didn't make the playoffs.

2010...get two 10-6 and one 9-7 team to enter, and you lose the 7-9 Seahawks. That's also the ONLY team with a losing record to make it into postseason in the last 10 yrs (didn't bother to look back farther). 

Also, there have been no 11-5 teams who failed to make the playoffs in at least 10 years.

In the last 10 years, there have been three teams without a winning record to make it to the playoffs....7-9 and 8-8 (twice). So three crappy teams as cannon fodder in the wildcard round....but, oh, wait....they all won the wildcard playoff games. Maybe they weren't so crappy after all?

But, please, don't let facts get in the way of your rant.....

So why bother with divisions anyway? Or conferences, for that matter? Let's just rank all 32 teams, and have the best 12 enter the playoffs.....or, better still, let's put the best 24 in the playoffs....more playoff games, more money! Who cares about regular season anyway, right? Let's put all 32 in, and play the regular season just for the purpose of seeding. 

DavidS1
DavidS1

@joe6647 The NFL in year 2025:

Tackling will be outlawed. Defenders will yell "Gotcha!" at the ball carrier, and that will be a signal that he must stop. There will be a 50-game regular season, and all 40 teams (yes, we will have 2 teams in LA, two in Mexico, one in Canada, two in Europe and one in China) will make it into the playoffs. Watch the money roll in!

Each team will get 8 timeouts per half and 5 replay challenges. Average game time will be 6 hours. Watch the extra money from the commercials in those extra timeouts roll in!

You will be allowed to bring one key to the stadium, and after entering, you will have to take off all your clothes and rent team-approved apparel. Watch the extra mone...I mean, added safety!