Before the 2020 season got underway, the NFL announced a small playoff expansion to include 14 teams rather than the usual 12 that fans are accustomed to. The deal came together in March and the league owners quickly approved.
But it’s possible that the format could change once again in the coming weeks.
According to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, the NFL competition committee expects to present a plan to the league’s owners for another expansion. This format would consist of a 16-team playoff tournament, intended to make up for potential regular season games canceled by COVID-19.
Under the new plan, eight teams from each conference would make the postseason.
The contingency, if necessary, would take 4 division champions and 4 wild card teams from each AFC and NFC.
Playoff seeds would be 1 vs. 8, 2 vs. 7, 3 vs. 6, 4 vs. 5. https://t.co/bSHoU1OAKd
— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) November 2, 2020
As regular-season bye weeks continue to dwindle, it’s certainly possible that some, or even all, teams won’t play a full 16-game schedule. Because of that concern, it seems like the league wants to have a contingency plan, particularly when it comes to making up for lost revenue.
The NFL’s competition committee met on a video call Monday to further discuss the logistics.
In the expanded postseason, no team would receive a bye in the first round. That means the matchups would be 1 vs. 8, 2 vs. 7, 3 vs. 6 and 4 vs. 5 in each conference.
Unfortunately for the NFL, change can come with a price.
Over the summer, debates about the 14-team format flared up, so it’s safe to assume that another switch-up to the playoffs would further aggravate fans.
On the flip side, from an owner’s perspective, more games equals more money.
The league has not set any timeline to make this decision, so stay tuned for more to come.