League hopes to tie expanded playoffs to Thursday night package

Last year, the NFL nearly decided to expand the postseason in 2015.  The league tapped the brakes for a year.  Now, the league reportedly may be tapping the brakes for another year.

But it hardly means the issue is dead.  Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the NFL currently intends to expand the playoffs for 2016, and to market the TV rights at the same time the current Thursday night package shared by CBS and NFL Network is put out to bid on a multi-year deal.

Obviously, the goal would be to maximize the revenue to be generated by the games.  The league apparently believes that selling rights to extra playoff games in 2015 won’t result in the same financial windfall that would come from marketing the rights along with the Thursday night package.  (That said, the NFL also is losing the money that would come from selling the TV rights to expanded playoffs in 2016.)

It’s unclear whether the league intends to tie the Thursday night package and the expanded playoff games together, or simply to sell the rights simultaneously.  It’s also unclear whether the NFL will have a minimum revenue expectation below which the league simply won’t expand the playoffs.  However it all plays out, the goal will be to separate as much money from the interested networks as possible.

Given the ratings, they’ll all be interested.

92 responses to “League hopes to tie expanded playoffs to Thursday night package

  1. Terrible idea. By 2020 we’ll see two thrilling 7-9 teams playing the Papa John’s Extreme Wildcard Round in London at 4 am.

  2. Really who really wants to see talent void teams like the Vikings in the playoffs? Its stupid decisions based out of greed that will make the playoffs unwatchable early on like the NBA.

  3. This probably won’t get posted but this is part of the revenue that Sean Gilbert spoke about that the players will miss out on because DeMaurice Smith did a 10 year deal. Not saying Gilbert would be a good P.A. president but Smith did the players no favors by signing a 10 year deal and giving Goodell the power to be judge, jury and executioner…plus appeal judge.

  4. Yep, nothing increases the value of your product like watering it down. Watching the NFL operate is like watching hamsters do calculus.

  5. This might be the stupidest idea in a long, sad history of stupid ideas to come out of the league office.

  6. expanded playoffs are stupid. I’m a titans fan, and we never make the playoffs, but making it is supposed to be a huge accomplishment, and this is watering it down. 12 teams already make it every year… if 16 make it, that’s 50% of the league! 50% of the teams should not go to the playoffs, that is insane. only the minority that actually earned it should make it.

    this is a terrible, terrible plan. I’m all for messing with the extra point, but leave the playoffs alone.

  7. The more teams you add, the less meaningful the regular season becomes. Why don’t they just expand the playoffs to all 32 teams so the regular season is as meaningless as the preseason.

  8. Packers are disappointed they’ll have to miss dancing with the stars. But that’s OK, it’ll just be for one week.

  9. Does anyone remember the Arizona north Carolina Panther game this year. It sucked. It was bad football.

    Don’t water down the best game in the world for a few million dollars.

  10. There is no one on the planet who loves football more than I do. having said that I boycott Thursday NFL games because NFL football belongs on Sunday period. Goodell will kill the goose that lays the golden egg(s) by oversaturating the NFL like NHL, NBA and MLB does. Let the season mean something, bring back the old overtime format and leave things just the way they are, if you don’t you’re making a big mistake-you’re making more than enough money as it is…

  11. So tell me again how you expect a playoff game to be played on a Thursday night on only three days rest. That sure doesn’t seem fair to a team that fights all season to make the playoffs. If they are dead-set on doing this, they are going to need to add an essential rest week between week 17 and the wildcard playoff round, which doesn’t exactly seem logical either.

  12. yayy…let’s have a play-in game on Thursday!! Take the team with the best record that didn’t make the playoffs and have them play the 6-seed. Yippeee! (sarcasm)

  13. I think it’s merely popular for fans to disagree with anything that comes out of the league office. Right now it’s trendy to be anti-Goodell. I’m not too bothered by expanded playoffs, an 18-game schedule, more Thursday night games, a team in Los Angeles, or Goodell’s salary. There’s a lot of fake outrage because outrage is popular these days.

  14. The NFL knows the Packers are going into a downward spiral and still wants them to be able to choke in the playoffs.

  15. One section of the CBA requires the league to maximize it income (too lazy to look up the exact section). The expanded playoff/18 game season discussion fulfills this, along with expanding the profit to the owners and increasing the money paid to the players, which is a fixed percentage of the NFL’s revenue.
    If the expanded playoff format/18 game season increases the revenue by $100MM, the players gain approximately $50MM, or about $30,000 per player.
    How many of you commenters would be opposed to a $30,000 a year possible raise?

    For the record, I am opposed to both ideas

  16. Why not expand the playoffs? Playoff games are mostly good. There will always be some dud games in any round, but I don’t think the overall product will be watered down. There are numerous recent examples of teams who barely made the playoffs and won the super bowl.

  17. This is nothing more than a ridiculous money play, knowing that ESPN is currently trying to fend off newcomers Fox Sports 1 and NBC Sport Channel. They know that those relatively new outlets are desperate for live games. It is stupid.

    The NFL should be a Sunday and Monday sport during the regular season (sans a few Saturday games if Holidays are involved, Thursday Thanksgiving). It was neat, tidy, and basically had everyone locked in on those games. Now it is spread too thin. I do not need to watch Houston and Tennessee play on a Thursday, so I don’t. That is not hyperbole, I think I only watch more than 1/2 of a Thursday night game when my team was playing, and I turned it off after the 3rd quarter because we were getting mauled.

  18. Better like $ to protect the integrity of the shield.

    The next labor talks, I’m on the players side.

  19. So if you have 7 teams I would guess the the 6 and 7 seed play for the right to play the 1 seed the following week. With 6 games the first week is the plan to have the play-in games on Thursday and Friday and then have the other 4 games on Saturday and Sunday? I can’t see making the 2 seeds play the early games as it would be a disadvantage to them even if they get a lower seed then playing on Saturday or Sunday. In that scenario, I could see teams actually sandbagging if they don’t have a shot at the 1 seed so that they end up with the 3 seed instead of the 2 seed.

    I would rather have the 6 games played on Saturday and Sunday reminiscent of the opening week of March Madness with non-stop games all weekend. They already play 3 games on Sunday during the regular season and 2 on Saturday during the play-offs so how hard would it be to add a 3rd game on Saturday? Assuming ESPN is in the breakdown for play-off games you could have them and NBC get one game each and CBS and FOX would get 2.

  20. Why Thursday? Thursday night football is almost always a mess (someone is always playing on 4 days rest). If you have to add an odd day of the week to the playoff schedule make it Monday night, just make there’s no way that team would be playing on the next Saturday.

  21. All your favorite teams don’t have to feel bad when they come to Foxboro and get whooped by the World Champion and 4 time Super Bowl Champion Patriots.

    It really is an honor and a privilege to get whooped by the World Champion Patriots. So they should smile and thank them for the opportunity.

  22. 8 teams in each conference, that would open up 2 more playoff games. It doesn’t change much, the higher seeds will still get home field. With this plan, 16 of the 32 teams make the playoffs, which is fair I think.

  23. If you really want to improve the playoffs, force teams to at least have a winning record in order to host a home playoff game. If you come from a crappy division and have a 7-9 or 8-8 champion, you can go on the road and let the best wildcard team host.

  24. Actually, the NFL is not losing the money for expanded 2015 playoffs. Per the CBA, expanding the playoffs (adding games) requires union approval. The NFL does not have that yet and is not likely to get it on its own. If it can bundle, it makes for a more attractive revenue bump to the union and might get their OK.

    Without the union OK, the NFL has nothing to sell.

  25. Awful idea. The tinkering of this game is going to bring it to its knees.
    – slanted rules to favor offense
    – games in Europe, who has no interest in the NFL
    – too many preseason games at regular season prices
    – watered down playoff games to squeak out every nickel for billionaires

  26. The only way expanded playoffs make sense is if the league expands with more teams. The symmetry of the current system is going to be hard to improve upon.

    Also, NFL network should not be the primary location of ANY games. Put football on major networks or ESPN to get to the largest swath of people.

  27. Why give inferior teams an opportunity at promotion? It’s society’s participation medal.

    How about a NFL Thursday nighter between the two worst teams in the NFL with the loser being relegated to the CFL.

    With the potential relegation lurking I’m pretty sure the quality of football from the bottom half of the league improves.

  28. I know this will make money. And I know I will probably watch.

    But does anyone really think in terms of competition that the NFL needs two more playoff teams? It seems to me that 12 is enough. Allowing two more mediocre teams in just saturates the field.

  29. If they have to do it (I think they shouldn’t, but money talks) it’s not too much of a stretch actually, since with 7 teams in each conference only one would have the bye, so it’s one extra game on each side.
    Probably a double header on Saturday, a triple header on Sunday, and a Monday night game (with the caveat that the winner of the Monday night game must play on Sunday the following week).

  30. Trying to force a golden goose to lay larger and even larger eggs will eventually kill off the goose due to exhaustion resulting in no eggs. Even if they don’t kill it off, that bird is gonna have some ugly looking stretch marks.

    In other words, IMO with all that is gone on in the NFL both on and off the field, they are well on their way to destroying what has made the sport unique and something to look forward to. As it is, I don’t think the league has any credibility left. If you don’t have any credibility off the field, it is hard for anyone to take anything seriously that happens on the field. In the end, it won’t matter if playoffs are expanded if people don’t have any trust in the product.

    The NFL has to be thanking their lucky stars that fantasy football exists.

  31. I think this is a horrible idea, but if they’re going to do it at least bump the super bowl back two weeks so that it falls on the day before presidents day. It’d be nice to have the day after the game off.

  32. Billions of dollars billions of dollars. Cha-ching goes the greed machine, and players keep getting hurt. Soon we wont have the best teams in the SB but the healthiest teams.

  33. I see the Viking fans have settled on the “one and done” hate speech for the Packers play-off games. I can’t help but laugh as Minnesota continues to miss the playoffs year after year. Is that all you got? Absolutely pathetic.

  34. Roger is quickly moving the NFL to the NHL based model.

    Too many teams means diluted talent in areas that cannot support a team. I’m waiting to see the Columbus Flyers versus the London Kings in a pre-season game that I’m forced to buy. But, of course that game will be televised by one of the emerging sports channels. So the owners will be happy.

  35. with the add on of a 7th team, you would have had houston visiting denver, and philly visiting gb. with only new england and seattle getting byes.
    hands up those of you who would not have watched those 2 extra games.
    bring on the 7th team in each conference and 1, 4, and 8 starts on both saturday and sunday.

  36. Keep ruining the game GOD-ell you creep. All for money. Funny,,,the guy who just found the old Lombardi sweater was asked by NFL Hall of Fame to donate it for FREE. The man sold it for $20,000. I guess GOD.ell is cheap too.

  37. why can’t they acknowledge the fact. you should put forth the best of the best, not the worst of the worst. it is already beyond the best for everyone. never liked the present system. will start losing interest in the nfl if it is expanded.

  38. Owners are no different than the League ball boys trying to make money off of used footballs. How much can we milk the golden goose. I think it’s time to sell the PSL’s at peak value

  39. The only upside is that Packers would finally be able to out-choke themselves when they collapsed against a 6-10 team in the playoffs.

  40. Too bad that we are now taking away from regular season accomplishments by getting rid of a well earned bye and replacing that with adding the seventh best team in each conference. That has a bad feel to it. I don’t mind the Thursday night games, but will only watch them if there is a decent matchup.

  41. shocking another bad idea from the Teflon don that is running this league

    he is the only guy in the world envious of weatherman for the amount of times they get things rights

  42. If the NFL was concerned for player safety there’d be no such thing as a Thursday night game after 3 who days rest.

    The NFL’s actions speak louder than words. They could care less about the short or long term health of NFL players. I’m boycotting Thursday night games and simply refusing to watch them. Besides, last season every Thursday night game was LOUSY!

  43. Thursday night games SUCK. If you want another night for football…how about Saturday Night Football? That way it’s only a 1-day shorter week.

    If you MUST continue Thursday nights….how about scheduling it only on weeks following bye weeks and have 2 teams who were on byes play. That way teams aren’t playing after only 3 full days of rest. The games are HORRIBLE.

  44. Just hire Cuban already. No doubt he could do a better job, and he doesn’t need weeks/months to make a decision. He has been spot on with his predictions.

  45. Thursday Night Football is an awful product the fans never asked for. Fans are also not asking for expanded playoffs.

    Mark Cuban is right. The NFL Shield has become a hog trough and the owner pigs can’t stop feeding out of it.

  46. expanded playoffs this year would’ve meant a 10-6 Philly vs Green Bay and what..a 9-7 Houston vs Denver?

    Doesn’t sound watered down to me. Raise your hand if you wouldn’t watch those games…

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