NFL needs to tread lightly on playoff expansion

When the league’s owners meet on Tuesday in Atlanta, they’re expected to discuss the potential expansion of the playoffs from 12 to 14 teams.  But it’s still too early to flip the switch on playoff expansion.

It’s too early primarily because the NFLPA has yet to sign off on two extra playoff teams, which would result in two extra playoff games.  The union has been coy about the possibility, sending clear signals that, if the NFL wants the players to agree to two extra playoff games, the NFLPA will want something in return.  The obvious concession would be a one-week reduction in the preseason, but the NFLPA already knows the NFL wants that.  The NFLPA will want something more.

Tuesday’s meeting should be more about finalizing a plan for negotiating the issue with the union, securing a tentative agreement pending a future vote by the owners to proceed with the proposal.  (By rule, 24 of 32 owners must vote in favor of the move.)  Unless such a deal with the NFLPA can be struck, playoff expansion won’t happen.

It also makes sense for the NFL to secure estimates from the various networks about what they would pay for the ability to broadcast one or two more postseason games on wild-card weekend, which likely would land on Sunday night and Monday night.  Some if not most if not all owners will want to know how much more money will be earned if they decide to make what would be the first change to the postseason field in 25 years.

Expansion won’t happen until 2015 at the earliest, in large part due to the various moving parts.  The issue won’t move to a conclusion on Tuesday, but it would be a shock if the meetings don’t result in an agreement regarding the preferred approach for securing permission from the union — and a plan for securing wink-nod financial commitments from the networks.  It likewise would be a surprise if any specifics regarding the plan make their way to the prying eyes of the media.

55 responses to “NFL needs to tread lightly on playoff expansion

  1. if they want to expand, have three saturday and three sunday games in the first round. the monday night playoff idea is crap.

  2. I just know Jerry Jones is behind all this.

    It would allow his 8 – 8 Cowboys a better chance of making the playoffs.

    The funny part is the Cowboys would promptly go 7 – 9 and miss the playoffs anyway.

  3. Agree on the Monday night crap. How fair would it be to pit a team that played on Saturday vs. a team that played on Monday in the Divisional round?

    Goodell is hell bent on killing the goose that is laying the golden eggs.

  4. To me the obvious answer here is an extra bye week. Players will like it because they get an extra week to recover and heal in the middle of the season. NFL likes it because there is an extra week of football to sell to the networks.

  5. One of the major reasons that the NFL has been successful is that they have not over-saturated the market with games. Yes, football may be on several times a week, but every individual game counts. Teams play once a week, and with only 16 games, every game is essential to making it to the playoffs. We tune in to those games in record numbers because a loss at the wrong time could spell the end of the season. Don’t let too many teams into the playoffs. Don’t spoil the meaning of the regular season games by letting too many teams into the playoffs.

  6. If I could draw I’d draw a picture of Roger Goodell chasing a goose with an axe. I mean, that freaking goose has to be made of gold on the inside, right?

  7. Just get it over with already…moving the draft, the 18 game schedule, the removal of a preseason game, 2 more playoff teams, a Monday night playoff game. Why not…just stop talking and start moving, no need for the dog and pony show

  8. Why do they continue to ignore the negative feedback from the fans on this watered down playoff idea? If you are average, you get in? This is a terrible idea.

  9. Only once in the era since the Superbowl began has a losing team made the playoffs ( Seattle went 7-9 and won the NFC West back when it was the weakest division in football). Seattle is the team I follow but I am not proud of that bit of Seahawks history. Yes they beat New Orleans in the Wildcard game but that was a 1 in a million shot.

    It was bad enough watching teams NFL teams win divisions going 8-8 back when. If this happens then the likelihood of 7-9 teams finding themselves in playoff games increases. Losing teams should not be playoff teams. Once losing teams start making it the playoffs will be as meaningful as the Bowl Season is in College football where you have 6-5 teams going to Bowl Games…ugh…

    The fact that only 37.5% of teams make the playoffs keeps the regular season exciting.

    The NFL is going to slip into a mediocre playoff system and lose its edge.

  10. I’ll just skip the regular season and just start watching the last week and the playoffs. All those repeating comercials during a broadcast are killing me anyway. Why put up with that when the regular season doesn’t mean anything.

  11. I ain’t gonna lie… NFL playoff expansion is the beginning of the end of my NFL experience.

  12. “NO PLAYOFF EXPANSION”!!!…………….signed “the fans of the NFL”-all of us. Roger (Goodell) don’t tell me the fans want the playoffs expanded because they don’t-I’ve never met one fan that does. Don’t turn this into a boring death march like the NBA and NHL…………………PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!

  13. Note to the NFL: The current playoff format is fine. Leave it alone and leave the London thing alone as well.

  14. cannot see why the players would argue much the ones that aren’t all about the money want a ring and 14 teams increases the chances of a team getting there and the money hounds will like it too as the increase in revenues will have to trickle down to the players to some degree and going into negotiations with your team on a new contract as a member of a playoff team holds extra clout i see no reason why this won’t happen but thats just me!!

  15. You’re rewarding a potential 7-9 team and punishing a potential 13-3 team. I mean, the records could be slightly different, but we’re talking about the #2 seed getting screwed after working hard for that record. An injury or botched pass interference call and all that work goes down the toilet. The top four seeds going into the playoffs earn their spots there. I’d hate to see another greedy money grab by the owners undermine that.

  16. Money-money-money-money…MONEY!!! Some people got to have it, hey-hey-hey, some people really need it … Do things, do things, do things bad things with it. We oughta do things, do things, do things, GOOD things with it.

    When players want more, they are GREEDY, but businesses are … SMART and entitled to DEMAND it.

    Just another money grab. Plain and simple.

  17. For this to work the NFL needs to schedule all the divisional games during the last six weeks of the season.

  18. I know, instead of letting colleges foot the bill (with their free labor), why not start an NFL Spring League?

    We’ve got it nearly everyday of the week during the season, anyway. Clearly they want it everyday except Friday. (support for high school) Come on Goodell, spend some of that money and give us a developmental league instead of a watered down playoff system.

    March, April and May is open, ending just in time for OTAs. 7 or 8 game season …perfect, cha ching, cha ching!!!

  19. though I can see going to 8 teams in each conf, with no more byes…

    they probably have to let many more teams in if the goal is for the Dallas Cowboys to make the playoffs

  20. Don’t do a Monday night playoff game sleaze.
    It will throw everything off.
    They should have one less preseason game and two bisexual-weeks.
    Then you would have my wind-nok approval.

  21. The NFL playoffs though are perfect as they are. There is no need to dilute the product by allowing inferior teams to the mix.

    If they were going to do it, I guess taking away one of the bye weeks would make sense. Then only the best record would get one.

    Or we could just get rid of the bye weeks altogether. Then the NFL would be putting a better product on the field.

  22. what a terrible idea..under this new format..the jets would have made the playoffs last season….the jets….

  23. How do you make a bad idea worse of weakening the playoff pool while lessening the value of having an elite season? Well that’s easy. You screw over 2 of those teams’ season by giving them a short playoff week by making them play Sunday and Monday night.

    The regular season already ends with everyone playing on Sun so no one has a short week going into the playoffs. Why are they going to mess with the competitive balance now? I’d be very upset if my team got dumped the Monday playoff game.

  24. So the regular season will be rendered virtually meaningless, Goodell just can’t let what works alone, welcome to the MFL-mediocre football league.

  25. 2 more teams in the players?

    but…but…PLAYER SAFETY!!!

    That’s 53 guys subjecting themselves to an extra game. Can’t have that right?

  26. there’s already 2-4 undeserving teams in the playoffs every year anyway. i’d rather have my team miss the playoffs than get in at 7-9.

  27. Wouldn’t the NFL make more money if it just had an extra bye week (each team gets two bye weeks during the season with a 16-game, 18-week schedule)? Under this scenario, there would be an extra Thursday night, Sunday night and Monday night game (thus bigger TV contracts from those partners) and the NFL could make more money under the guise of player safety.

  28. 90% of the time they’ve been owners in this league, Jerry Jones and Daniel Snyder have been poison to the NFL. All these “changes” have been for the most part “money grabs” by these new breed owners.

  29. No playoff expansion is needed. Right now, three out of every eight teams make the playoffs – that’s 38%. That’s more than enough.

    Besides, all we heard back in when a 7-9 Seattle team made the playoffs was whining and moaning about how they didn’t deserve a shot at the Super Bowl because they were a sub-.500 team.

    Now we want more of that? No thank you. Playoffs are for good teams that have had good seasons, not for .500 or sub-.500 teams.

  30. The stench of greed coming from the league offices these days has gotten unbearable.

    Billionaires extorting stadium money from the taxpayers and then wanting all the proceeds from ticket, food and merch sales leaving little for the stadium management to actually operate the stadium.

    Charging huge prices for tix, parking and aforementioned food and merch.

    Now expanding the playoff which will have the one and only effect of watering down both the regular season and playoffs.

    After having already watered down the game itself by taking away the ability of defensive players to hit hard.

    Do the owners really not have enough money ? Every one of them is a billionaire, most several times over.

    Not sure why they think putting an ever more watered down and crappier product on the field while charging constantly increasing prices is going to retain their fan base. I didn’t watch any games at all or the playoffs in the last strike/lockout season. Didn’t watch any games the first half of the following season till I finally got sucked back in. Expanding the playoffs is the fastest way to lose me as an NFL fan permanently.

  31. I am so sick of posting this for ALL OF YOU who can’t properly use computers to research the playoff team history over the past 10 years. You all are great at shooting your mouths off with nonsensical information on PFT, but not so good at actually doing research. Ready to hear it again?

    Under the new proposed system, SINCE 2003, here is how it would have shaken out regarding the EXTRA teams:

    – ZERO additional teams under .500
    (That means no new 7-9 teams. The playoff teams with sub-.500 records are DIVISION CHAMPS that means other teams with better records are not allowed to play for a championship.)

    – On the flipside SIXTEEN (16) teams with above .500 records (9-7 or better) would have made the playoffs. And the breakdown would have been: one 11-5 team, six 10-6 teams, and nine 9-7 teams. That means the system would have only provided four 8-8 teams opportunities in the playoffs.

    So you see, if you properly research this instead of spewing your unfound arguments, the new system actually rewards better teams for better regular seasons and provides the fans with more competitive match ups in the first week of the playoffs. But if you don’t want better teams to get in, I guess you can be against this expansion…

  32. As a football fan, I’d love to see my favorite sport played year-round — like hockey and basketball — but as I football fan, I’m smart enough to know that can’t happen. Too bad the NFL owners and their commissioner aren’t as smart.

  33. Viking fans eagerly await the day that all 32 teams make the playoffs. Their scrub team might just have a fighting chance of clinching the coveted 32nd seed.

  34. Too many bean counters with too many ideas on how to make more money. It’s what killed the auto industry in this country and it will ruin the nfl.
    If we go to an 18 game regular season a 4 game losing streak is of no consequence. And if half the league is in the playoffs we aren’t watching the elite teams battle it out anymore. It’s just lots of meaningless games with mediocre teams playing too many games. Exclusivity and scarcisity are what drives demand.

  35. I don’t think most FANS want an expanded playoffs. One of the reasons we love football is that every game matters. Some of us don’t follow the other major sports with the same passion because they play so many games, half the damn teams make the playoffs, and the playoffs last for months.

    Don’t water down out post-season.

  36. As much as this is a terrible idea, and none of us want it, we will get it.

    And it will continue to draw huge ratings encouraging them to add upwards of 8 teams per conference

    Don’t want it, don’t watch it. Of course as it stands now teams struggle to sell out Wild Card weekend, dilluting the product even more will only force more sponsors to shell out money to buy tickets at discounted prices

  37. Expanding the playoffs eliminates the extra bye week that the best teams earned entering the playoffs. Final playoff games will be better when teams have had more time to heal. Expanding the # of teams will diminish the quality of the final games. Don’t mess with the system that is giving us the best games anywhere.

  38. Please don’t expand the number of teams. All this does is water down the first round of the playoffs.

    Yes, this means that sometimes a 10-6 or 11-5 team won’t make the playoffs. But I can easily live with that if it helps keep 8-8 or 7-9 teams out of the mix.

  39. The new system still rewards the teams with the BEST record. The teams with second best records have to play. So if you finish with the best record, you get home field and a 1st round bye. Second best records would have to play. Let’s not over complicate it, it would be fine.

  40. Monday nights are tough. The west coast doesn’t want to miss the start of the game….so the start time on the east coast is late…..which means the game can easily go until midnight.

  41. 1. Expand the number of teams- dilute the available player talent pool. See also NHL & NBA.
    2. Expand the playoff format- dilute the regular season drama. See also MLB & NHL & NBA.
    3. Expand changes to game exponentially- dilute the fan base.

    Soon the NFL will expand itself out of business. It will be nothing but a watered down version of the NCAA with 32 divisons and 104 teams competing for the “national championship”.

    Back in the day when the likes of the Montana led 49’ers beat the crap out of the likes of the Marino led Dolphins you knew who the best teams were in football….

    Look at Baltimore, a year ago. NFL champs. last year, not so much. Fans come to see hated teams get beat by beloved home town teams. Hated teams have to be consistently victorious. If not then one and done NFL champs are just falshes in the pan.

    People hate the Seahawks because they hope they will be long term successes. (Secretly-LOL)

  42. I wish the NFL would go to an 18-week season with two bye weeks for each team. Maybe that way they could give one of those byes on the Sunday before the teams play on a Thursday night. It’ll probably never happen because it would actually increase player safety thus improving their product. I guess it just makes too much sense.

    As far as a Monday night playoff game, you have got to be kidding me! The NFL is on morning, noon, and night during the regular season. Why can’t they simply do that for the playoffs?

  43. league needs to end the wild card and byes, 2 teams from each division make it and they add one team to each division

    8 more franchises in a 20 game season 2 pre-season and playoffs 2 weeks after the end, best records seed accordingly..

    too bad sorry this schedule doesn’t fit the media model what with baseball and basketball but you know what? we can get along without you!!!

    extend the season, extend the league and eliminate the playoff byes and wild cards, 2 teams from each division, first week 8 playoff games, 4 sat, 4 sunday… second 4, 2 sat, 2 sunday.. then s-bowl, easy peasy, best format ever

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