NFL Playoff Expansion Gaining Momentum
Are you a fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers or Arizona Cardinals and believe that the football gods screwed your team out of a rightful playoff berth this season? Roger Goodell has your back.
Under a plan pushed by the NFL commissioner, the playoffs would expand from twelve to fourteen teams. Had that plan been implemented in 2013, the 8-8 Steelers and 10-6 Cardinals would have made the playoffs and played the two seeds in their respective conferences, leaving just two teams with first-round byes. Owners will discuss the idea at their meeting next month.
The Washington Post’s Mark Maske reports that support for Goodell’s plan for playoff expansion—part of a larger scheme to push league revenues from $10 billion to over $25 billion in the 2020s—enjoys growing support among owners. “I don’t know for sure if the votes are there yet (among the owners) or not,” a league source told Maske. “But there is momentum. A lot of people seem in favor of it.”
Under such a plan, two 8-8 teams—San Diego and Pittsburgh—would have made the playoffs this past season, and two divisions, the NFC West and AFC West, would have witnessed three-fourths of their teams advance to postseason play. Playoff expansion would not elongate the season. It would add two additional playoff games on wildcard weekend, reduce first-round byes from four to two, and allow one additional team in each conference to extend play.
Two extra televised playoff games makes dollars, so it makes sense. But do 7-9 playoff teams?
Last month at his state-of-the-sport address covered by Breitbart Sports, Roger Goodell spoke enthusiastically at Rose Hall in Manhattan about playoff restructuring. “We are looking at the idea of, ‘Could we expand that to fourteen?’” Goodell conceded in the question and answer session about the number of teams in postseason competition. “That’s something that attracts us.”