Report: Expanded playoffs “likely focus” over 18-game season

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Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said recently that the NFL is looking at ways to make the preseason better for its fans and most would point to cutting the number of preseason games as the place to start.

It appears that point of view is taking hold. Mark Maske of the Washington Post reports that people familiar with the league’s thinking are “increasingly convinced” the preseason will be shortened in the near future.

Losing those games would cost teams revenue, which has led to a concurrent discussion about expanding the regular season. That notion has been met with strong resistance from the NFLPA and Maske reports that the league is shifting gears in response.

Maske reports that expanded playoffs will be the “likely focus” of future talks about cutting preseason games. He adds that the league believes they could act to cut the playoffs and increase the playoffs on its own, but that current consideration of a move is being done within “the context of bargaining between the owners and the NFLPA” on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

The potential change would give each league seven playoff teams while eliminating one of the two byes currently handed out. It’s expected that one of the six first round games would be played on Monday night.

With questions still to be answered about how much of a revenue boost that would provide along with Maske’s note that some owners aren’t ready to move on from a longer regular season, there’s more to work out as the push for a shorter preseason and talks on a new CBA go on.

42 responses to “Report: Expanded playoffs “likely focus” over 18-game season

  1. Why just one eliminated bye per conference? Get rid of both of them and take away that huge adcantage. Level the playing field.

  2. Expand it to 4 Wild Card teams who play each other the first week. All 4 division winners get a bye. The 2nd week the 2 Wild Card game winners play the teams with the two lesser records of the division winners and the two top seeds receive a 2nd bye. After that, business as usual.

  3. I would give the NFL the same advice I give to bar owners, Stop Watering down your product ! The regular season games will mean less and you will kill your ratings.

  4. they should play 40 regular season games and expand the playoffs to four more teams. its safer for the players to play all year and not have an offseason to get out of shape. keep alot of players out of jail cells too.

  5. Why just let all 32 teams qualify for the playoffs after a 20 game regular season? That should help maximize the owners profits.

  6. Players are starting to retire early because of the physical toll the Game takes on there Body and the league wants to add more Games.Cut the preseason to 2 games and leave things they way they are. Pigs get Full Hogs get Slaughtered

  7. Trying to be like hockey where only bottom dwellers miss the playoffs, bad idea to mimic hockey. Not many people care/watch it.

  8. Do neither. Expanding playoffs devalues the regular season, and increasing the regular season makes the early games less important. NFL is the only major pro sport where the beginning of the regular season matters.

  9. lets face it The NFL should do away with 3 of the 4 pre season games where NONE of your starters should NEVER see the light of day in that ONE game, just let that one Pre Season game be for rookies drafted / folks fighting to make the squad. Now i would prefer that they be ZERO games added to the regular season but i don’t think life would end or i would be breaking things if just ONE game got added.

  10. So they’re looking to make the regular season mean less? Why would they want that? They already have the most meaningful regular season among major sports, why make it matter less? Not to mention adding more games to a sport that is already brutal as it is. There’s no such thing as infinite growth, and if they keep poking the bubble it’s going to burst.

  11. Notice all of the perennial cellar dwellers all in favor of expanding the playoffs!, Sure water them down even more!! Just what we need…….a few 7-9 teams inte n teplayoffs

  12. Preseason 2 games. Go to 18 game schedule with this caveat…

    Shorten the length of quarters to 13 mins !!

    The fans get 2 more games, the owners get more money, the players participate in less minutes playing time…

    Do the math …936 mins vs 960 mins currently.

  13. Why bother having a regular season at all if they are going to keep expanding the playoffs. Perhaps instead go to a quad elimination system that as when a team had accumulated 4 losses their season was over and then the last team standing is the NFL champion.

    So stupid to have almost half the teams make the playoffs.

  14. It would be fun to see a top seed getting upset by a team that barely made the playoffs as a wild card.

  15. Owners were never going to turn their back on lost revenue from cutting the preseason. Silly to expect them to do so. They are businessmen with huge investments.

    Expanded regular season or expanded playoffs, pick one. That’s the trade off for less preseason games.

  16. kemp13 says:
    August 28, 2019 at 5:06 pm
    Why just one eliminated bye per conference? Get rid of both of them and take away that huge adcantage. Level the playing field.

    I’m not sure even Einsten could figure out a way for 7 teams to all play a first-round game.

  17. SavageStaright is right on with his post. I wouldn’t expect the owners to give up millions in ticket revenue in the preseason without a way to recoop it by seasons end. We currently have 16 teams per conference. Six teams in conference make the playoffs each year. That means 12 of the 32 teams make the postseason. Even if you added 2 more participants over half the teams would still miss the playoffs. It also makes the bye slot more valuable whick keeps the regular season meaningful.

    I like things the way they are. But, adding an extra playoff team per conference is a reasonable compromise “IF” you expect the owners cut 32 games from the preseason.

  18. 2 preseason games, 1 home and 1 away. Expand season to 17 games, which means no .500 seasons, and add one more team to the playoffs.

  19. Cut preseason and just give every team two bye weeks. The season expands by a week providing a net gain in TV revenue with an extra week of coverage.

  20. Add an extra bye week in the regular season. It will make the primetime games more attractive to teams on bye. All team can have a bye week right before their Thursday night game so nobody can complain about lack of recovery and prone to injury. And it will push Super Bowl Sunday on Presidents Day weekend so everyone can stay out late and drink like crazy. More revenue for everything!

  21. The NFL playoffs format is fine. Im for swapping 2 preseason games for 2 regular season games if they expanded rosters and perhaps added another bye week. The real issue is contracts. It’s not good for anybody when guys like Zeke, Gordon, Clowney, and Bell sit out of games. The one person to really blame for this mess is DeMaurice Smith and it says a lot about the players that they’re letting this dip stick represent them in the coming CBAs again….

  22. 1billsnation says:
    August 28, 2019 at 5:12 pm

    Expand it to 4 Wild Card teams who play each other the first week. All 4 division winners get a bye. The 2nd week the 2 Wild Card game winners play the teams with the two lesser records of the division winners and the two top seeds receive a 2nd bye. After that, business as usual.


    I like the brainstorming.

    However, having back to back bye weeks wouldn’t be a reward, it would be kind of a detriment because those teams wouldn’t have played a game in 3 weeks and they could face a wild card team that’s coming in hitting on all cylinders.. you’d likely see teams not want to have 3 weeks between games and tank late in the season to assure themselves the 3rd and 4th spot.

  23. More teams in would drive interest up. Boo hoo a longer post-season. None of these guys are raised like carrots destined to be eaten, they choose the path of a professional player and get paid handsomely for applying themselves 3 hours a week. Not a soul forces them to sign contracts over and over again for millions. Free will is great isn’t it. Let them expand the playoffs, it’ll be better than watching backups during the preseason play in bland schemes.

  24. Oh my gawd …. these guys are hell-bent on cutting their own throat aren’t they? Look, I’m 60-years old, went to my first game in 1965…the very first regular season game played at the newly named “Lambeau Field”. Ok? I use that just to illustrate that I’ve been an NFL junkie for a long time…and that the NFL experience; the game day experience at several NFL stadiums; attended 2 Super Bowls – in New Orleans and San Diego; not just a Packers’ fan, but a fan of the game.

    So, at this point in my life, I’m so fed up with the NFL that I watch ONE game per week already. That’s it. The product is not what it used to be and the players, by and large, more like ballerinas than grown men kicking the snot out of each other.

    They can do what they like.

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