New NFLPA president Eric Winston hates the idea of an expanded regular season. He doesn’t hate the idea of an expanded postseason.
“For the record, I don’t put expanded playoffs in the same category as 18 games,” Winston told SportsRadio 610 in Houston. “We’re talking about one extra game possibly, for two teams or four teams total, if you would count both AFC [and] NFC.”
He’s right. Expansion of the playoffs would entail a total of two extra teams, and ultimately one extra game for four teams, the No. 2 seed and No. 7 seed in each conference. Expansion of the regular season would result in two extra games for 32 teams.
For the former, the extra game would be meaningful. As to the latter, the extra regular-season games could be, for some teams, glorified exhibition contests.
Winston also supports a more fundamental reconsideration of the league’s approach to playoff seeding.
“I’m a big fan of radically changing a lot of the playoffs.” Winston said. “Take Green Bay for example. This year hosting a 12-4 San Francisco 49ers team when I think Green Bay was [8-7-1]. I don’t agree with that. I’d like them to not only add a game, I’d like to see them actually take a hard look here and say, ‘What are we really doing here, what are we really rewarding?'”
Reseeding could be a tougher sell for the league’s owners, because the NFL seems to continue to place a lot of emphasis on winning the division — and in turn hosting a playoff game.
But it looks like expanded playoffs won’t be a tough sell for the NFLPA, and for good reason. The extra revenue from two extra playoff games will be shared by the players. Also, the players could realize a one-week reduction in the preseason in return for agreeing to expanded playoffs.
While the issue didn’t make it to a vote at this year’s league meetings, it’s inevitable that, over the next year, a strong push will be made to expand the postseason as early as 2015.