Expanded playoffs could be coming as soon as 2015


The NFL wants to reduce the preseason.  But that would result in lost revenue.  So it can’t happen without a way to make money elsewhere.

With the NFLPA showing no inclination to expand the regular season from 16 to 18 games, a more viable alternative will be to expand the postseason.

On Tuesday, Commissioner Roger Goodell said it could happen by 2015.

“First, we have to make the recommendation,” Goodell told reporters after Tuesday’s ownership meetings.  “It would probably be the 2015 season because there are a lot of scheduling issues in the spring of next year.  I don’t think we have everything resolved, including talking to the NFLPA, and making sure that is done the right way.”

It seems fairly clear that Goodell wants to do it.

“How do we continue to make sure the regular season games are incredibly important each week?” Goodell said.  “But also how can we create more interest, and does expanding the postseason allow other teams to get into the dance with the potential of going on and winning the Super Bowl?  That is a good thing for fans.  It is a good thing competitively.  What has happened is our league is so competitive right now.  The games are so close that is realistic to think that a team can have a great second half, get into the playoffs and win the Super Bowl.  We have seen it.   We want to continue to keep all of it on the table.  The Competition Committee is going to look at that. . . .  The Competition Committee said that was one of the priorities they are going to be focusing on in 2014.”

The current plan seems to be adding a pair of playoff teams, meaning that only two would have a bye (the top seed in each conference) and 12 would play in the wild-card round.  In addition to the current three-versus-six and four-versus-five format, the second seed would host the seventh seed in each conference.

That would put six total games on wild-card weekend.

“How do you schedule that?” Goodell said.  “Do you have three games on Saturday and three games on Sunday?  Do you have two on Friday, two on Saturday two on Sunday?  Do you go into Monday?  There are competitive consequences in there and television consequences.  Again, if we do this, we want to do it right, so we have to evaluate all those issues and balance them.”

The challenge will be to schedule those extra games in a way that maximizes the revenue lost by a reduced preseason.  The simplest solution would be to have a 1:00 p.m. ET, 4:30 p.m. ET, and 8:00 p.m. ET kickoff on Saturday and Sunday.  But if there were a way to pull one of the early games into prime time on a Monday night, even more cash could be crammed into the register.

Actually, Monday night could be the key in every round of the postseason.  By moving one game in the divisional round and one game in the conference championship round to Monday night, much more money could be made from the broadcast rights.

Given the popularity of prime-time football, we’re a little surprised the league hasn’t already found a way to get postseason football on Monday night.  If the goal is to replace lost revenue from a shrunken preseason without growing the regular-season pie, that would be the obvious place to start.

70 responses to “Expanded playoffs could be coming as soon as 2015

  1. If they add 2 teams then they should eliminate the automatic playoff berth for division champs.

    I really do not want to see another 8-8 “division champ” make the playoffs. Fix the seeding system also. Its not fair for a 11-5 or 12-4 wild card team to travel, while a 7-9 or 8-8 “division champ” gets to stay home and host a playoff game.

    Seed by best record. Period

  2. Does this mean Divisional standings will cease and we only have Conference standings? Otherwise this makes little sense. This would help eliminate one of the problems we saw last season in the North Division where an undeserving team (MN) that caught lighting in bottle got in the playoffs while a much more deserving team (Chi) was left out.

  3. (1) more and more games in London ===> NFL trying to make more $$$

    (2) trying to force in an 18 game season ===> NFL trying to make more $$$

    (3) moving toward expanded NFL playoffs ===> NFL trying to make more $$$

    (4) breast cancer awareness to appeal to the female fan ===> NFL trying to make more $$$

    (5) contemplating placing an NFL team in London permanently ===> NFL trying to make more $$$

    (6) the NFL now trying to create the appearance they care about player safety by levying fines ===> NFL trying to make more $$$ (not through the fines per se, but in reducing litigation cost exposure – thereby increasing profit margin)

    Anybody notice a pattern?

  4. Can’t wait for 2017…when the 8th seed (8-10…maybe 9-9) London Loch Nessies win the super bowl.

    Awesome job, Goodell.

  5. Uh, the reason the league has not already scheduled playoff games on Monday night is that up to now, the league has been more concerned with preventing teams that play on Monday from being at a competitive disadvantage the following weekend (short week), than it has been concerned about making a few extra bucks. Of course, as with all things NFL, over time nothing is more important than making a few extra bucks.

  6. Why does Goodell continue to want to mess with the game? File this idea right along side the London franchise idea, in the garbage can.

    The current format is fine the way it is. Allowing 14 of the 32 teams to qualify for the playoffs? We’ll remember that when teams that finish at .500 or under end up in the playoffs against a 13-3 division winner.

    Honestly, I’d rather see expanded rosters and an 18 game regular season (with three games each against division opponents, rotating the home and away games in alternate years) than expanded playoffs.

  7. “Maybe one on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Maybe 5 on Wednesday and one on Sunday. Maybe 3 on Friday, one on Saturday and Sunday and a half game on Monday and Tuesday. Maybe 6 practice games on Saturday and then 6 real playoff games on Sunday. Maybe we start with playoff games first and then finish with regular season games at the end. Maybe we change the calendar to include one more day and play all 6 games on that day. The possibilities are endless!!!” – Goodell

  8. Goodell reminds me of a bored spoiled brat. If it aint broke then dont fix it. He constantly is making changes to the game, if anything keep the preseason at 4 games but just dont make them the same price as regular season games in season ticket packages.

  9. The way Goddell is goin by 2020 b a game from Wed-mon and teams in London,mexico, china but not LA. Cant Wait for 2020 to see Jags in playoffs wit 5 wins

  10. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” – someone smart

    An extra playoff game means, extra playoff teams which means the regular season will mean less aka the NBA.

    Welcome to the world of 6-10 teams making the playoffs Roger.


  11. 3 games on Saturday … then 3 games on Sunday … Sounds perfect to me

    As much as my girlfriend allows me to slack off and watch Sunday, it is done grudgingly. Add a Saturday to that and she is gonna kill me.

    I understand the NFL wants to grow revenue, but right now they have essentially a perfect balance. A sustainable, workable schedule that should not be messed with.

    While I would watch the games if they are on, do we really need another pair of 9-7 teams in the playoffs? I think not.

  12. Awful idea. A loss in the NFL is already something you’re supposed to “get over” in 24 hours. This ain’t the NBA. I don’t want to see losing records rewarded with postseason games.

  13. Why does Goodell keep saying this is what the fans want. I think by reading what is posted on here we fans are fairly satisfied with the current system.

  14. I actually like the adding of a 7th team in each conference. People always want to say that you are going to get a bunch of 7-9 teams in there. I just went through the last 10 seasons standings. Out of 20 teams added there would have been 15 with 9-7 or better records, 5 at .500, and 0 with 7-9 records.

    More often than not you are going to get teams equal to teams already in the playoffs who just missed out on a tie breaker or teams with better records than some division winners. So if people are fine with the system now, a 7th team does nothing to really alter that. Fans gets two extra games, no extra rounds are added, and the importance of the bye is even greater.

  15. I am sure John “The Walking Dead” Mara has given Goodell whatever playoff formula he needs to ensure the giants get in at 3-13

  16. You’d think that with all the backlash from fans and players/teams alike about ideas like this, a team in London, etc. (because they’re simply dumb ideas), Fuhrer Rog would wise and not mess up a good thing…but it never fails. They just can’t leave well enough alone. They’re not going to stop until there’s a team on the moon and a few games a year are played on an aircraft carrier.

    Greed is annoying.

  17. are they determined to ruin the sport? there is no reason to make the season longer! but sure go ahead and make it like hockey and basketball and let everybody make the playoffs. why play the regulars season to win when all you have to do is finish good enough to make the playoffs. maybe fans in Jacksonville and Charlotte are chomping at the bit to see their sub .500 teams make the playoffs but the rest of us are not. the game is great the way it is! we do not need teams in L.A. and London and we do not need every team to make the playoffs!

  18. If Goodell worked for Coca Cola, he would cut the ingredients in half, add more water, raise the price, and tell us that the new formula has half the calories.

  19. Maverickstar says over the last 10 season there would be 0 teams with 7-9 records making the playoffs? Uhhh… Couple years ago, with only 6 per conference, there was a 7-9 team in the playoffs, and they had a home game. And then they went out and kicked the piss out of the Saints lmao

  20. gb4mn0 says: Oct 9, 2013 8:19 AM

    Does this mean Divisional standings will cease and we only have Conference standings? Otherwise this makes little sense. This would help eliminate one of the problems we saw last season in the North Division where an undeserving team (MN) that caught lighting in bottle got in the playoffs while a much more deserving team (Chi) was left out.
    I just don’t understand why, unless you are 12 years old (or a loser living in your mother’s basement) you and the other couple GB trolls have to insult the Vikings in every article.

    Grow up and actually talk football. The Vikings did what teams do. Just like Green Bay did to win their last SB.


  21. New Pro Bowl uniforms, more playoff games, new Super Bowl sites, more London games ….

    Sounds like somebody is trying too hard to get our minds off the concussion DENIAL issue.

  22. And the Golden Goose will take another back alley beating at the hands of this idiot Commissioner and his bosses.

  23. After watching Frontline last night Goodell should be in a hurry to do something that gives the players *less* chances of head injuries. They’re not disposable lighters.

  24. This seems beyond idiotic. Obviously in baseball 8 teams could only get in and when they made it 10 its been tough to except. I got used to footballs 12 teams over a decade ago because its still somewhat well balanced with 32 teams, and a lot of good teams are wild cards. Though now they want to add another and it just makes the all season water’d down. As some of you said it will be like basketball where the regular season is meaningless and wait for half the league to make the play offs. If fans wernt happy with an 18 game season because games will mean less then how in the world will adding more playoff teams make fans happy. it still weakens the regular season and will alow 500 to sub 500 teams in. It’s just problematic and pointless. The game works fine leave it as is.

  25. Expand the playoffs to 8 teams per conference. All division winners get at least one home game. A lot of recent history is showing that having the bye isn’t necessarily a good thing.

  26. there pricing me out of season tix.don’t need anymore games added anywhere.take a pre season game out.last year Ravens run cost 14,000.00.for 2 .pricing middle man out…

  27. I’m fine with 2 more playoff games if they want to do that but I HATE the idea of Monday night playoff games. As it is, the Monday night games go too late for the east coast but too early for the west coast. It’s one thing for regular season but another for the playoffs. I block out playoff weekends so that I don’t miss a moment, but I’m not going to take a day off of work to watch them. I think it’s a bad idea.

  28. ialwayswantedtobeabanker says:
    Oct 9, 2013 8:20 AM
    (1) more and more games in London ===> NFL trying to make more $$$

    (2) trying to force in an 18 game season ===> NFL trying to make more $$$

    (3) moving toward expanded NFL playoffs ===> NFL trying to make more $$$

    (4) breast cancer awareness to appeal to the female fan ===> NFL trying to make more $$$

    (5) contemplating placing an NFL team in London permanently ===> NFL trying to make more $$$

    (6) the NFL now trying to create the appearance they care about player safety by levying fines ===> NFL trying to make more $$$ (not through the fines per se, but in reducing litigation cost exposure – thereby increasing profit margin)

    Anybody notice a pattern?


    You’re surprised?

    Any business operates in order to make more money. Once a business starts turning big profits, the attention turns towards making MORE money. This is not new, not even for the NFL. You can certainly question how Goodell wants to make more money for the NFL, but not why he wants to make more money.

    And for the record, I think adding a 7th team from each conference to make the playoffs is a terrible idea.

  29. ialwayswantedtobeabanker says: Oct 9, 2013 8:20 AM

    ===> NFL trying to make more $$$
    ===> NFL trying to make more $$$
    ===> NFL trying to make more $$$

    Anybody notice a pattern? …
    The NFL is a business. What aspect of that fact is unclear?

  30. Those who violently oppose change, violently fear the unknown.

    Do you guys REALLY think that adding one more team to each conference is “ensuring that everyone makes the playoffs?” Theres 16 teams per conference. Increasing the playoff teams from 6 to 7 is nothing. I haven’t done the research but I’m willing to bet that every season the past 15 years has had a 10+ win team not make the playoffs. With this, they can.

    And whoever said we should eliminate division champs clearly doesn’t care about football. Do you know what a rivalry game is? One of the best kind games to watch in sports. 49ers vs. Seahawks. Giants vs. Cowboys. Packers vs. Bears. Falcons vs. Saints. Patriots vs. Jets.
    I dont know if you guys notice the correlation but both teams in each of those games is in the same DIVISION.

    Yep you guessed it. Any game between teams in the same division is more important than the others. Because the divisions are where the team competes for the playoffs. The guy who made the comment doesn’t know much about divisions either considering he said the “North Division.” Which one? AFC North or NFC North? NFC North. Moronic. We eradicate divisions, we eradicate rivalry games.

    I think this change is great. Being a Giants fan, seeing my 8-8 team win the super bowl was incredible. But i also know that more deserving teams were left outside the playoffs.

    And everybody talks about how regular season will mean less. It will mean the same. Post season is always the most important and now we get more exciting games.

    And think about it: the same division guy made the comment about the Vikings catching “lightning in a bottle.” Well isn’t that the whole idea of the playoffs? I mean if a 7-9 team makes the playoffs and don’t deserve to be there then they will get whooped by the 2 seed team anyway, it’s just another game to watch. But if they “catch lightning in a bottle” and win that game and go on to win the Super Bowl, are they still not deserving of being in the playoffs?

    That’s the magic of the playoffs. Teams can struggle in the regular season but if given a chance they can rise from the ashes.

    You guys are complaining just to be complaining and clearly haven’t looked at what good can come out of this. You guys clearly just dont like Goodell and want to ridicule every decision he makes. Granted, i don’t like him either, but at least look at what he proposes FIRST and decide whether it’s truly a good or a bad idea. Don’t just think oh whatever idea goodell suggests i’m going to oppose it.

    You people are the reason progress can’t happen. Just think about what i’ve said. Tell me that everything i said was illogical, and i’ll show you someone who is against change just to be against change.

  31. Another thing: Most of your reasoning is because it’ll allow for .500 or sub-.500 teams to make the playoffs. Have you not been paying attention to the NFL? That already happens now. This isn’t going to increase the likelihood of it happening. Because every year someone with 10+ wins misses out. This will allow for them to make it, not a 7-9 team.

  32. the easiest way that I can think of would be to do it like they do Thanksgiving. start the game at 12:30 then 4:30 then 8:30. having a game Monday would be a competitive disadvantage unless the winner doesn’t play again until Sunday. it can be done, but I don’t think Friday games or Monday games are the solution. 4 hours each on Saturday and Sunday is enough

  33. Assuming that the NFL is going to find SOME way to play more non-preseason games, this is absolutely the way to go. Expand the playoffs, meaning more happy fans that are watching TV and attending games. Hell, the NCAA basketball tourney is the best postseason in sports and it has 68 teams!

    And, they should ABSOLUTELY keep the division winners earning a home game. For those teams that are 12-4 and getting a wild card spot, no one said you had to lose! The 7-9 Seahawks beat the Saints, showing that they deserved to be there, and if the Saints were truly a Super Bowl caliber team, then why’d they lose to a 7-9 team?

    The free home game makes the division race exciting, which is vital for a sport where 6 out of 16 games a season are division romps. Rivalries make a sport, and watching Dallas play is even more fun when we are going up against the “evil” Giants, Redskins, or Eagles. If it was just a conference thing, no one would care, just like no one cares about divisional rivalries in college football because all that matters in winning the conference and/or being #1 overall.

  34. 18 games, expanded playoffs all in the name of “the fans?” What fans are you talking to Roger? The overwhelming majority of fans do not want this.

    Stop making changes for the sake of change! I really don’t think an extra 7-9 or 8-8 team being in the playoffs is worth it. Who wants a 7-9 Super Bowl champion?

    This is absurd.

  35. If the league expands, I suggest 4 teams(London, Frankfort or Berlin, Mexico City, Toronto) as the international conference, and then adds 2 playoff teams in each conference to the mix, I think expanded play-offs is a good thing. If there is no expansion of teams with the play-off expansion idea, then welcome to mediocrity and everyone gets to play. Where a crappy team on a 3 or 4 game hot streak will loose the big game in a snoozefest!! If I wanted this type of play-off format, I would be a hockey fan, instead of a football fan.

  36. Oh my God, I actually agree with Roger Goodell about something…

    This is a great idea. Why should you get a bye for finishing 2nd in the conference? Make ’em play.

  37. Why not have schedule ties resolved by playing another game rather than the byzantine method the league uses now? Baseball does it that way and it seems to work. The owners would get some extra money and the playoffs would not be compromised, but rather enhanced. I can’t remember the last year that there wasn’t a tie that had to be resolved by the arcane formulas that the league uses.

  38. The greed of the NFL has outgrown the enjoyment it is giving me.

    The title of the article should be “NFL plans to start reducing fan base by 2015”.

    I stopped watching NFL games for about a season and a half after the recent strike / lockout before I get sucked back in. The next time the league drives me away it will be for good.

  39. I dislike Goodell as much as anyone, but let’s get real: its’ the greedy billionaire owners and the desperate-for-advertising revene TV networks that are behind this AND the 18 game season.

    Goodell is just a lacky…the owners say jump and he does.

  40. @sactogary

    Goodell’s greed is actually ruining the game, which is BAD for business. What part of that do YOU not understand?

  41. Meh, probably not a good change but not terrible either. I don’t know why they haven’t replaced a preseason game by just having each team take 2 bye weeks during the season. Effectively replace unwatched week of preseason with broadcast revenue from essentially additional week of regular season AND can show they care about player safety. Still 16 game regular season, just over 18wks.

  42. The more Goodell tinkers with the NFL, the less this feels like football.

    I understand its a business that ultimately wants to make as much money as possible, but I think it’s going to get to the point where it’s not fixable and seems more like a show than a game (see the Draft, Hard Knocks and the NFL Network).

    What’s the NFL going to look like in ten years…twenty years? Unwatchable.

  43. The one thing I’ve always liked about the NFL is it’s not really easy to make the playoffs, like it is in the NBA and hockey. Expanding the playoffs will mean even more stars sitting late in the season as the frontrunners lock up playoff berths even sooner. It’ll also lay the groundwork for more losing teams making the playoffs, as that has already happened under the current format.

  44. This seems beyond idiotic. Obviously in baseball 8 teams could only get in and when they made it 10 its been tough to except.

    I agree with you about the football playoff, but to me 162 games is way too long a season to have only 8 teams in. What bugs me is that the widlcard round is only one game. Should at least be a best of 3 IMO.

  45. Hey maybe they should have 32 teams in the playoffs! In fact, why are we even playing a regular season? Let’s just have tournaments, like tennis.

    At some point they are going to water down the product and then it will be too late. You could very well see two 7-9 teams in a conference in the playoffs with this format.

  46. Does this guy spend his time thinking up bad ideas? It’s one boneheaded idea after another: games in London, team in London, Super Bowl in London, 18-game season, football in the Olympics, rule change after rule change, pink flags, Thursday night games, now expanding playoffs that are perfect as they are. If I didn’t know better I would think Goodell is on a mission to destroy football.

  47. If the Govt would sell cheese to go along with all this Whine, our money problems would be over.

    Every one of you who complain about this will still watch, will still cheer on your team and still spend a lot of money doing so.

    And, those of you complaining about the rich owners, would do the same things they are to make MORE money. That is what this world is about. More money, more money and guess what? More money.

    Any of you denies that is lying.

    Stop complaining and watch football like grown men and women.

  48. had this been done going back to 2007, in 2012 only the 8-8 Steelers,2011 the Division winning 8-8 Broncos And either the 8-8 Eagles Cowboys or Cardinals, 2010 would still have left Either the Giants or the Bucs out for the 7-9 Seahawks., there would be no .500 or below teams in 2009, and in 2008 the 8-8 Division winning Chargers. and in 2007 either the 8-8 Eagles Vikings or Cardinals. so as far as 2007 the only sub. 500 playoff teams had this new system been implemented would have been division winners, and 2010 would have still left out astrategy 10-6 NFC team.

  49. I hate the argument that everything the NFL does “is all about greed” as if that’s a reason to not do something. NFL only makes money when fans support it, so if they do something that generates more fan support how is that a bad thing?

    The “if it isn’t broke don’t fix it” is another one. Good thing people didn’t sit back and say that while accepting the cavemans form of a wheel.

  50. All these complaints, and each of you would be the first one to brag on your team making the playoffs and winning the Super Bowl from the last seed.

    Not once have I heard or read anyone say that “I won’t watch football because this is a stupid idea.”

    Stop complaining and enjoy the time from August to February that you get to be a fan.

  51. Do all you idiots really believe Goodell is the only one who wants this? You do know who he works for, right?

  52. I must admit I have always thought the team with the best record in football should play all their home playoff games in prime time, on MNF.

    Imagine the year the Pats went undefeated. They would have a bye the 1st round, the divisional and championship game at home and on Monday night. To me, that is something to fight for during the regular season. Not only would games within the conference mean something, but overall records of all teams would matter when battling for the top spot.

    In the wild card round, I would have the team with the best record hosting the Monday Night game, and have them scheduled to host the Sunday Night game the following weekend should they win.

    As for decreasing the exhibition season by 2 games, while that is good for player safety, it still sucks for the fan. I have season tickets to the Bucs and Jags (I know, I know) and spending money on those games is tough to swallow.

    I would do like the NCAA does….. I would allow for increased practice and training camp for teams, and then right into the season. First 4 games would all be out of conference games. While they matter, they would not decide any of the tie-breakers like division or conference head to head. All teams would have 4 games against teams they are not familiar with. After those 4 games, the next two weeks each team should have a bye, half after week 4, half after week 5. I would have allowed for more players on the roster the first 4 weeks, after which teams would have to cut down. Start the year with 70 players, after those 4 games, get down to 62. Whether it be stash players on practice squad or place injured players on IR.

    I would also increase the amount of games to 18, the 4 games against a division from the other conference, 2 games against each team in your division and then 1 game against each team from 2 other divisions from your conference, skipping one division a year (on a rotating basis naturally).

    I would also increase bye weeks to 2 per year per team.

    I think if you give the players and extra bye week and no preseason games, they will give you two more regular season games.

    I would start the NFL season after labor day, and I would have the Super Bowl winner playing on Thursday night, have the runner up playing on Monday night. Warm weather teams without a dome (Miami, Tampa, Jacksonville) open up on the road, unless they are scheduled during prime time week 1.

    With the amount of byes, and increase in games, the schedule will run long. Using this year as an example, the first Sunday games would be September 7th. 20 weeks later would be January 18th. Wild card round the weekend of the 25th, divisional games weekend of February 1st, championship games the weekend of February 8th and the Super Bowl on March 1st.

    March 1st might allow the NFL to play the Super Bowl in more cold weather climates, and it will fill February up with exciting football action, to fill the sports void of February (sorry NHL and NBA).

  53. touchdownroddywhite says: Oct 9, 2013 9:19 AM

    Maverickstar says over the last 10 season there would be 0 teams with 7-9 records making the playoffs? Uhhh… Couple years ago, with only 6 per conference, there was a 7-9 team in the playoffs, and they had a home game. And then they went out and kicked the piss out of the Saints lmao

    I just had to login to point out the comprehension fail of your post. He was talking about teams that would have been added due to the change in the playoffs, not teams which were part of the playoffs already.

  54. There are too many divisions in the NFL today … That was a big mistake. This creates the potential for teams making the playoffs with horrible records. No one cares about winning the division. People want superbowls. Do what hockey did and go to two divisions in each conference. Better yet, just go to two conferences and no divisions …. Seed 1-7 or even 1-8 and get on with it. This is not complicated!!!

  55. @bowden5000

    hockey did it because they have about 30 fans outside all of the free and cheap tickets they give out. nobody cares about hockey, isn’t it on home and garden at work.

    you cannot do away with the divisions. Baltimore vs Pittsburgh; Dallas vs New York Giants; Bears vs Packers & on. no concept that involves getting rid of the eight divisions will ever gain traction. Hockey? Seriously? To name a sport that’s almost as a relevant as table tennis

  56. Roger Goodell works for the owners and the owners work for the fans. How do you think they make their money?

    So when a change like this is suggested who do you really think it’s for.

  57. I guess I’m slow…..I’m just beginning to hate Goodell…

    I’m starting to believe he actually will change his name to lose one of the o’s in his last name…

  58. I still think the best way to add games is for some of the teams that don’t make the playoffs to play for draft order.

    For example take the four worst teams and have them play a two round tournament for the top overall pick.

    We don’t need more regular season games, and there doesn’t need to be more teams that qualify for the playoffs.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!