The NFL seems to want to expand its playoff field from 12 teams to 14, and the reasons for that are obvious: That would add two playoff games a year, which could bring in hundreds of millions of dollars in television revenue.
But the way the playoffs would be scheduled with 14 teams is less obvious. And as a result, the league can’t get a 14-team playoff format done this year.
At first, it looked like the NFL would play six games during wild card weekend: Two on Saturday, three on Sunday and one on Monday night. But there are questions about whether that schedule would really work. The team that won the playoff game on Monday night would have to play its next playoff game on a short work week, and the Monday night format could also conflict with the college football national championship game.
“This is something we’ve been evaluating over the last couple of years and I think several factors went into the decision to at least postpone the expanded playoffs,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said. “We want to make the regular season more important, more exciting and have more teams in the race. . . . We also have scheduling issues as far as when we could play the games: Saturday, Sunday, we’ve looked at a Monday night. College football has the national championship on Monday night, we certainly don’t want to conflict with that. So there are a number of factors that are going on, so we just felt the right thing to do was take another year and evaluate all this.”
Goodell said he could see selling the new postseason games to a network along with the Thursday night TV package, which would help make it even more attractive to networks.
Eventually, expect the league to expand the playoffs. But only when they can find a schedule that makes sense.