Expansion to 14 playoff teams likely after 2015 season

AP

This may be the last season in which only 12 teams make the playoffs.

Starting with the 2015 season, the NFL is likely to expand to seven playoff teams in each conference. Sources told Mark Maske of the Washington Post that the plan could be approved by the owners as soon as next month.

I think there’s a lot of momentum for it,” one source said. “I don’t know for sure if the votes are there yet [among the owners] or not. But there is momentum. A lot of people seem in favor of it.”

Although it’s ultimately up to the owners, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell seems to be leading the charge to add two playoff teams.

“I do think the commissioner wants it,” a source said. “I’m not exactly sure when it might get voted in. But if the commissioner wants it, I assume it’ll happen at some point.”

If the NFL expands to 14 playoff teams, it will mean only one team per conference gets a first-round bye. It will also mean the first weekend of the postseason will feature six playoff games instead of four, and that’s why this will be lucrative for the owners: Selling two more playoff games to a TV partner could generate hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue.

Although all the logistics still need to be determined, the NFL could switch from the current format of two wild-card playoff games on Saturday and two on Sunday to having two on Saturday, three on Sunday and one on Monday night of wild-card weekend. Many fans dislike the idea of expanding — and potentially diluting — the playoffs, but it will be hard not to get excited for six NFL playoff games in the first weekend of January in 2016.