Report: NFL will add playoff team to each conference beginning this season

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The Chiefs earned a first-round bye on the last day of the 2019 regular season on their way to the Lombardi Trophy. That quite possibly could mark the final season of two teams getting byes in each conference.

Under the Collective Bargaining Agreement proposal, the NFL would add a playoff team to each conference beginning this season, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports.

That means only the team with the best record in each conference would receive a bye during wild-card weekend. It would add two games — one from each conference — to wild-card weekend for a total of six games on the first weekend of the postseason.

The expanded playoffs was an easy sell to the players, according to Schefter, unlike increasing the number of regular-season games to 17.

The NFL currently has 12 playoff teams — eight division winners and four wild-card teams. The two teams in each conference with the best records receive the byes into the divisional round.

The Ravens and Chiefs earned byes in the AFC in 2019, and the 49ers and Packers did the same in the NFC.

Under the old CBA, players on teams that earned a first-round bye did not receive postseason pay that weekend. They will under the new agreement, according to Schefter.

There is growing optimism the sides soon could finalize a new CBA, with owners meeting in New York this week and the Players Association conducting a conference call with player reps.

83 responses to “Report: NFL will add playoff team to each conference beginning this season

  1. Please don’t “water down” the playoffs further. It will be like the NBA where virtually every team makes it.

  2. Don’t like adding any more team’s at all. Let’s not make the NFL playoffs into the NBA playoffs

  3. So, now there are 2 more mediocre teams in the playoff race?
    Consider me not a fan of this move.

  4. Almost half the league will make the playoffs; that is a joke…

    The regular season is even less meaningful now even adding a game.

  5. We already end up with one 9-7 conference winner just about every year, now we get to add teams that aren’t even 8-8? They should just start adding ad space to the helmets and taking fan votes for favorite player of the game each week.

  6. Taste the watered-downness. Low on calories and competitiveness.

    Only a matter of time now before we get to see the first 6-10 or 5-11 SB winner.

  7. From these comments, fans of 8-8 teams that make the playoffs won’t have any interest in watching their teams.
    Sure thing.

  8. I actually think adding two more teams makes better sense, IF they change it at all. The top two teams would play the 7 & 8 seeds which, instead of sitting and getting rusty, they get a game they should be able to win. I truly like the system now, but in for one, in for two………

  9. Basically comes down to which team is hot, late in the season.

    Not a fan of adding more teams.

  10. Let’s just let EVERY team make the playoffs…then the billionaires can make even more money..Why we suffer as fans even more with watered down Jets vs Bengal wildcard games. Straight money grab.

  11. Bernie voters will love this. Everyone gets a trophy. Bad enough a 7-9 team can host a playoff game.

  12. Watering down the playoffs IS THE POINT.

    Then, the league can use negative fan reaction to get rid of those pesky divisions, and feature only the top teams. “That’s way better! A playoff team with a losing record is ridiculous!”

    Book it, if this goes through that will be the message within a couple years.

  13. So only the top team in each conference gets a bye? This is stupid and because it is based on division matchups, a weak division like the AFC East will have an advantage over a tough division like the AFC Central.

  14. So we can finally get a true underdog team in the playoffs (unlike the 2017 13-3 Eagles that had home-field advantage throughout the playoffs)?

  15. So let me see if I got this straight. We add an extra wild card game in each conference. We add more excitement towards the end of the season for an extra team to sneak into the playoffs. Cold weather cities might have a reason to go to the game later in the year because more might be at stake. My only question is what took so long for the NFL to do this?

  16. I’m not a fan of continual changes,…. but I’ll keep an open mind and see what happens.

    If the NFL would take the best 8 records in each conference I’d feel better about it.
    I hate when a .500 or lower team makes the playoffs and another team with above .500 doesn’t make it.

  17. They should increase it to 8 and have no one with a bye. Right now the Super Bowl is basically the easiest – and quickest – of all the big 4 sports leagues. 2 games and your in the finals – it’s dumb. Imagine if the first place team in hockey, or baseball, or basketball skipped the entire first round.

  18. Damm for supposed smart people they are really determined to ruin the game that we all love. Why fix something not broken, ohh I know greed. Even 17 games is a bad idea.

  19. I seriously would love it fans would start to tune out on gameday and not renew their season tickets. Let the owners feel the pinch of killing the goose that laid the golden egg.

  20. WOW. Leave it to the NFL – with all the potential changes on tap and all the things fans have been clamoring for, the very first thing they do out of the gate is BREAK one of the very few things that was perfect as it is!

    Such a dumb idea. More bad teams in the playoffs and less meaning and drama in the regular season.

    The motive for this is 100% money. And this is an indication that what the players and owners agree makes them more money won’t necessarily be good for the fans. Get ready for more of this kind of stuff.

  21. I find it hard to believe that some can whine about more NFL football. Please justify “Watered down” playoffs which is more football yet you might be desperate enough to be watching XFL.

  22. To make the product better and to make teams play harder during the regular season you take away from the number of teams that currently make the Playoffs, this will just leave teams loaf for half the games and they’ll still get in!

    The NFL just keeps giving fans more and more reasons to not watch and not many reasons to watch or to draw new fans!

  23. Having one bye each conference will be a huge advantage and possibly make the rest of the playoffs useless. I don’t mind 8-8 teams in the playoffs. If my team got in at 8-8, I’d certainly be watching their playoff game. Why not get rid of byes altogether? Sure some lame teams will get in, but, so what? Truthfully, with injuries, momentum swings, etc., sometimes an 8 or 9 win team can be just as dangerous, or even more, than a 12 or 13 win team. Tennessee sure proved that last year by slamming the door on the 12 win Pats and absolutely humiliating the 14 win Ravens and making them the joke of the post-season. Who doesn’t like that?

  24. Really? Now it’s gonna be like the NHL and NBA, where 60% of the teams go to the playoffs. Or better yet, it’ll be like NCAA football, where going .500 gets you to a bowl game. Of course, now Roger is really happy, the sponsors are really happy, and the networks are really happy, all laughing heartily on their way to the bank.

  25. Only interesting thing about this is that now an entire division can make the playoffs; true bragging rights

  26. Wow.
    So now if your team misses the playoffs, there’s no candy-coating it or spin-doctoring it away. No, your team sux.
    Big time.

  27. Just add the two teams now, it’s inevitable apparently, and thereby render the regular season worthless altogether.

    Bad move. Just gave less reason to watch the regular season games.

    Last season those two extra teams would have been 8-8 Pitt with Hodges or Rudolph, and 8-8 Dallas.

    How ’bout them playoffs!

  28. AFC East will have an advantage over a tough division like the AFC Central.
    …Says the guy who’s team plays the Browns and Bengals twice a year.

  29. Look at these comments. Nearly every fan is against this. The NFL doesn’t care. They think they can harm their product to squeeze some extra money out of us. They are probably right, but it blows.

  30. I gave up baseball after the steroid era. Never went back. I’m likely giving up the NFL if we see more than 16 games and more playoff games. Completely ruins the record books and waters down the regular season. How much money is enough? Time to turn away. Even if it’s a painful departure.

  31. All you people crying. So it’s basically the same as every sport besides baseball. Half the teams make it

  32. Maybe stop keeping score too. Every team gets a Lombardi at the end of the season. Sad that it’s all about making more money with an extra game. I don’t want to hear integrity of the game anymore because they don’t give two copper circles for the game.

  33. It is worth noting that this is coming just two months after most of the sports media spent several weeks griping about how embarrassing and bad it would be to see a team with a losing record make the playoffs. The answer? Let’s make it easier for a team with a losing record to make the playoffs!

  34. Only done to provide more money for the NFL and I’m sure Mr. Commish will grab his share. I think by watering down the playoffs the NFL is doing it’s best to attain parity with the XFL. I hope Mr. Goodell enjoys his new pocket lining. And what’s up with the players union falling for this stunt. One more game on the way to the Super Bowl I hope there enough non-injured players to field a team.

  35. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

    Another stupid move by the National Greed League!

  36. If this is a troll job of the MLB, kudos. If this is real, this is a hard pass.

  37. The NBA playoffs are meaningless. The NFL is the best but the greed of the owners will ruin the game. Everything is perfect.

  38. I like this because it cancels out when teams luck into the playoffs because they had a schedule filled with teams they’re facing at the end of December who are tanking for draft picks. It also eliminates the unfortunate thing that often happens where a team with a better record than a division winner doesn’t make the playoffs. People are acting like a 2 win team is going to make it and pretending that they didn’t just witness a season where an 11-5 team missed the playoffs (Seahawks) while a 9-7 team made it (Eagles).

  39. I like that players lose their minds over an extra regular season game but have no problem playing another playoff game.

    So it really is just about the money and not at all about player safety. Yep sounds about right.

  40. ONE bye team is awesome. Less tanking is great. What about teams with injuries who are 9-7 and get healthy?

    Don’t hate the NFL, look at the people who watch/ go to these games.

  41. glac1 says:
    February 19, 2020 at 7:09 pm
    Please don’t “water down” the playoffs further. It will be like the NBA where virtually every team makes it.

    I can think of teams that will still find a way to not make it.

  42. Currently:
    Playoffs Total team Percentage
    NBA 16 30 53.33%
    NFL 12 32 37.50%
    MLB 10 30 33.33%
    NHL 16 31 51.61%
    MLS 14 26 53.85%

    Proposed w/ NFL changes:
    Playoffs Total team Percentage
    NBA 16 30 53.33%
    NFL 14 32 43.75%
    MLB 10 30 33.33%
    NHL 16 31 51.61%
    MLS 14 26 53.85%

    I guess adding two total teams to NFL playoffs really isn’t that big of a deal????

  43. Who cares……..The greedy NFL will get its way.

    In New England we do not care. The Patriot Way is designed for mental and physical toughness. The Patriots will play anybody on any field on any day. And they will compete hard for 60 minutes every game. Their only goal is winning a title. Every player is a team player focused on one goal. They are coached by the best.

  44. NFL: changes playoff format many times in history.

    NFL: proposes another change.

    Fans: it’s always been this way, any change is bad, don’t change tradition, it’s perfect the way it is (now)….

  45. Personally they should go the other way! Make it only the division winners that make the playoffs and eliminate the byes and only play division and conference championship rounds. I remember baseball playoffs were just two rounds and now we have the sudden death, division series, championship series and world series. College football is becoming better while the NFL is becoming horrible.

  46. Jerry Jones will be happy it’s what he has always wanted. Now his 8-8 squads have a chance to make it

  47. Around 70% of polled fans like this, it puts more emphasis on being the best in your conference, which idk how you can complain is a bad thing. My bold prediction is the #2 seed In the NFL playoffs will be the football version of the 12 v 5 NCAA tournament upset alert matchup. Also, seeing how many of you dislike it proves it’s a good idea

  48. Almost perfect playoff layout. They need to get rid of the by-week entirely and play 8 games > 4 games > 2 games > SB

  49. Always funny when people whine about the most popular sport. I can’t keep track. I believe this is the 10th straight year you all hate the nfl and will boycott? Or is it 20? Yep, these billionaires are idiots for not listening to your great ideas on how to make money.

  50. Horrible idea. Now it is more than likely a team with a losing record makes the playoffs. I might just find something else to do on Sundays from now on.

  51. In 1953, the 16-54 Baltimore Bullets of the NBA made the playoffs as an 8 seed. They had a win percentage of .229, about the same as 3-12-1. About the same as this years Detroit Lions. PLEASE don’t ruin the playoffs.

  52. the players are so hard up for another paycheck that they are willing to give a first round bye?

    more 7-9 playoff teams, but bigger wallets.

  53. Eliminate divisions and have the 16 per conference play 15 games within their conference(each team once) and their corresponding ranked team from the other conference from the season before. This would atleast make the true #1 as fair of a contest as you can make it. winning your division was the most important before this, now…..being the #1 is the only real true prize. So make other radical adjustments to go with this change.

  54. So it looks like the future will bode well for more teams with losing records getting into the postseason. The playoffs are already over-diluted.

    But then this change is coming from the same commissioner who forces teams to travel to London to play games.

  55. footmanball says:
    February 20, 2020 at 1:11 pm
    the players are so hard up for another paycheck that they are willing to give a first round bye?

    more 7-9 playoff teams, but bigger wallets.
    Exactly the opposite. Playoff checks are $28-32,000 first round. The players besides the last 3rd of rosters could care less about this check because of possible injury while playing for next to nothing. They had to pick between 32 teams playing an extra game, and just 2. It’s called negotiating-

  56. So a team like the 8-8 Packers can still get in? This shows NFL is going opposite of trending.

  57. Does it mean that god-awful week between the Championship games and the Super Bowl is eliminated?

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