NFL expands playoffs to 14 teams

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It’s official: The 2020 season will conclude with a 14-team playoff.

The NFL owners voted via conference call to expand the playoffs, adding an additional wild card team in each conference.

The playoffs will now feature the four division winners in each conference as well as three wild card teams in each conference. The team with the No. 1 seed will earn not only home-field advantage throughout the playoffs but also the only bye week.

The first weekend of the playoffs will include six games, with six division winners hosting six wild card teams. There will be three games on Saturday, January 9, 2021 and three on Sunday, January 10, 2021. CBS and NBC will each broadcast one of the additional games.

Although some have criticized the expanded playoffs as potentially watering down the regular season, it was an easy call for owners, as the two additional playoff games will bring in significant television revenue.

72 responses to “NFL expands playoffs to 14 teams

  1. And the watering down of the product and the season continues with watering down of the playoffs.

    Makes the season far less interesting to me.

  2. I was thinking this would water down the playoffs but then I went back the last several years to see who made the playoffs and just missed them. A lot of the time, a team misses the playoffs when they have the same record as or better record than one or more teams that did make the playoffs. Sure, you’re going to get an 8-8 team in there every once in a while, but if they aren’t good they’ll lose in the first round. In 2015, the Jets were 10-6 but didn’t get in because they lost a tie-breaker to Pittsburgh. The Texans got in with a 9-7 record. I don’t mind some undeserving teams making the playoffs if it means some deserving teams will now make it too.

  3. They should have went straight to 8. 1 bye is pretty rinkydink and just a pit stop til they implement the 8th team.

  4. Oh yay!!! Owners make more money FOR NOW.

    Except now 43.75% of teams make it to the playoffs now, further devaluing the regular season. ONE team per conference earns a bye, 6 teams play games? Just seems silly.

    NFL has/had the perfect system. Short-sighted greed causes them to mess with that… It’s gonna come bite them in their rear ends in the long run. Smh.

  5. YOU GET CAR! YOU GET A CAR! YOU GET A CAR! AND YOU GET A CAR!!!!

    I didn’t know they made 14th place ribbons Greg?

  6. Now about every 9-7 and 8-8 team will be rewarded with post season play. When it goes to 17 games then we will see an uptick in sub .500 post season teams.

    Post season football will always be popular. But this is the first nail in the regular season coffin.

  7. The #1 seed will be such an overwhelming favorite each year that the playoffs will lose a lot of their intrigue. Won’t be long before they go to 16 teams to even it back out as we all know they won’t go back to 12.

  8. This is only to give the fleeced Raiders a chance of losing in the first round.

  9. Is there anything these owners wouldn’t do as long as it brings in more revenue? A 7-9 team making the playoffs makes me cringe and what motivation does a team have to play starters late in the season if they are mathematically eliminated from getting the top seed?

  10. If there is 1 penny out there to be made, the owners will always go for it but, Health experts are saying we have a very long way to go with this virus, we are not even at the halfway point, so this could very well be a case of putting the cart before the horse. What is the plan IF the all clear isn’t given until say, october or november? Training Camps? preseason?

  11. I love how only the top conference seed gets a bye now when before, if there were two elite teams in the same division, only one could qualify for a bye even if the runner up had the second best conference record. One bye week keeps it simple and makes winning the conference that much more important.

  12. There are going to be a lot of “complainers” about watering down, losing teams making the playoffs, etc.
    I think it’s a good thing to let one more team in each conference and it’s not the end of the world. There will
    be more excitement during the last few weeks of play with more fans and teams involved. The best team still
    gets a bye and as far as non competitive first round games, that’s nonsense. There are many 4-7 seeded teams
    that get healthy and on a run at the end of the year that can beat a top seeded team. More playoff games to watch,
    more TV revenue and more money for the owners and players. Everyone wins.

  13. Now the Lions get to see two more other teams make the playoffs.

  14. harrisonhits2 says:
    March 31, 2020 at 2:04 pm
    And the watering down of the product and the season continues with watering down of the playoffs.

    Makes the season far less interesting to me.
    _______

    It should be more interesting for you. Pats were 2 seed four times the past decade. This means less byes for them and more Wild Card football.

  15. jodave5 says:
    March 31, 2020 at 1:59 pm
    It’s not the watering down so much as only one team gets a bye.
    **********************************************************************************
    Exactly…….BOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

    Less teams fighting for a bye = less December intrigue.

  16. All these down votes to the inevitable conclusion that 8 teams will be the format within 4 years. There is no way they stop at 7-

  17. The Divisional Round could now only have 1 team that won their Division in a Conference 🤦‍♂️

  18. I have an even better idea.Why stop at 14 teams? Why not have all 32 teams in the playoffs.? Then a 0-16 team can win the SB.Sarcasm.

  19. Wouldn’t it be just delicious for Lame from Baltimore to be the next best thing since individually wrapped sliced American cheese in 2020 and to get a bye week and to throw 80 times and run the ball 20 times and end up losing after a bye week?

    Didn’t that already happen? (sarcasm)

  20. I’m all for this new format – the whining of the inevitable high win team being frozen out of the playoffs should be gone. And maybe a team with a losing record can get into the playoffs!

  21. Terrible. Old format was perfect, with the top 2 teams in a conference being deservedly rewarded with a bye week for their efforts during a grueling 16 game season.

  22. harrisonhits2 says:
    March 31, 2020 at 2:04 pm
    And the watering down of the product and the season continues with watering down of the playoffs.

    Makes the season far less interesting to me.
    /////////
    Seriously? That’s all it took? Perhaps it’s time you and football went their separate ways.

  23. vicnocal says:
    March 31, 2020 at 3:04 pm
    Terrible. Old format was perfect, with the top 2 teams in a conference being deservedly rewarded with a bye week for their efforts during a grueling 16 game season.
    ///////
    So, second best was “perfect”? Seems to me, this is perfect, as you must be the best in your conference to earn a bye.

    Or was a 14 game season perfect? Or was less teams perfect? Or was smaller rosters perfect? Or was no practice squad perfect? Or was no salary cap perfect? Or was no forward pass perfect? Or was leather helmets perfect?

  24. Nothing more enjoyable than reading a bunch of couch potatoes explaining to us how billionaires are idiots for ruining the game that billionaires own.

  25. harrisonhits2 says: “And the watering down of the product and the season continues with watering down of the playoffs.”
    ————————–

    NONSENSE.

    16-game season = each game is worth 6.25% of season
    17-game season = each game is worth 5.88% of season

    In comparison, each NBA game is 1.22% while MLB is 0.62%, so stop being a drama queen about “watering down” the product. Each football game is still important regardless of 16, 17 or even 18 games.

  26. harrisonhits2 says: “And the watering down of the product and the season continues with watering down of the playoffs.

    Makes the season far less interesting to me.”
    ————————-

    So you’re telling us that you’ll REFUSE to watch your team’s 17th game? And if they qualify as the 7th seed, you’re going to protest the expanded playoffs by turning off your tv and NOT support your team through the playoff run?

    Sure.

  27. as much as people cry about 8-8 teams making it, there have also been 10 win teams that didn’t make it and because of that I’m for it

  28. > That’s a gonna be a real thriller of a game, the 2nd seed vs the 7th.

    That’s how I feel as well. The Wildcard Weekend is already a lunchbag letdown most years with sub .500 teams getting a berth and subsequently getting their asses handed to them. Adding another team isn’t going to improve the quality of the product. You’re just going to see a lot more fans being bored to death watching a lot more blowouts (if you care to tune in, that is).

    Most fans who have become jaded toward the league came to be that way not because of a lack of football, but because of a myriad of problems an expanded playoff model doesn’t even begin to address. If the NFL truly wants to bring the fans back, watering down the product isn’t the way to do it.

  29. This does not benefit the fans or the game. I detest this.

    I used to respect that only the NFL elite made the playoffs. EVERY SINGLE game in a season meant something.

    When you water down the liquor in the cabinet a bit, you can get away with it. A little bit more, a little more, … Eventually, you have more water than spirits, a hollow, tasteless shell of what you started with.

    This is a nice follow-up to shafting fans in SD, Oakland, St. Louis, and LA (i.e two team placement).

    Keep it up owners; you’ll kill the golden goose one of these days.

  30. By 2025 all NFL teams will be in the playoffs and will feature secret idol advantages for first round losers to get back.

  31. Pathetic money grab. Fans lose.
    I’ll be skipping the playoffs from now on, and return for the Super Bowl.

    I don’t watered down football.

  32. Just think of how many 7th place banners Irsay will get to hand in his house of ill-repute!

  33. I’m not overly fussed about the added games – but I cringe at the idea of a 7-9 team considering themselves deserving of being called an ‘NFL Playoff Team’. And the day a 7-9 team wins the SB, that indeed will forever render the regular season meaningless.

  34. The only watered-down games will be the competition for the #2 seed for both conferences in December.

    January will still be exciting, since the % of playoff teams that make the post-season are similar to what they were in the ’90’s.

    However, fans are right to be suspicious of the slippery slope that the owners are taking us down.

  35. BermudaBoy says:
    March 31, 2020 at 4:48 pm
    I’m not overly fussed about the added games – but I cringe at the idea of a 7-9 team considering themselves deserving of being called an ‘NFL Playoff Team’. And the day a 7-9 team wins the SB, that indeed will forever render the regular season meaningless.
    ____________

    Don’t cringe too hard. Its far more likely that a division winner will be 7-9 than a wild card team.

    Since 1990, only one 7th seed finished 7-9.

  36. Why watch the season just tune in for the playoffs half the league will be in it what’s next participation trophies? Lol this game is getting worse and worse use to be a mans game.

  37. bethesdasquare says:
    March 31, 2020 at 3:59 pm
    > That’s a gonna be a real thriller of a game, the 2nd seed vs the 7th.

    That’s how I feel as well. The Wildcard Weekend is already a lunchbag letdown most years with sub .500 teams getting a berth
    /////////
    Ya? Which sub .500 teams you talking about? Name them all.

  38. I like the idea of only one team getting the bye. The #2 seed is going to play non stop trying in any way to catch the #1. it should make for some good football.

  39. I’ll give the 14 team playoffs a try. And I don’t mind that only one team in each conference gets a bye. They deserve it for having the best record.

  40. bkinacti0n says:
    March 31, 2020 at 5:11 pm

    Don’t cringe too hard. Its far more likely that a division winner will be 7-9 than a wild card team.

    Since 1990, only one 7th seed finished 7-9.
    ________________________________

    And just since re-alingment two 7-9 teams have made the playoffs, that’s 2 too many! And now they’re adding two more teams, there’s sure to ba a lot more 7-9 teams making it now since the last 2yrs we’ve seen 19 teams in the league each year(not total) with 8-8 or worse records!

    Anyone that thinks this won’t water down the game further is a fool and can’t even see the nose on their face!

  41. Steve Cunningham says:
    March 31, 2020 at 8:48 pm
    bkinacti0n says:
    March 31, 2020 at 5:11 pm

    Don’t cringe too hard. Its far more likely that a division winner will be 7-9 than a wild card team.

    Since 1990, only one 7th seed finished 7-9.
    ________________________________

    And just since re-alingment two 7-9 teams have made the playoffs, that’s 2 too many! And now they’re adding two more teams, there’s sure to ba a lot more 7-9 teams making it now since the last 2yrs we’ve seen 19 teams in the league each year(not total) with 8-8 or worse records!

    Anyone that thinks this won’t water down the game further is a fool and can’t even see the nose on their face!
    ____________

    And both of those 7-9 playoff teams were division winners. Adding one Wild Card team per conference does not change the fact that the division winners automatically get into the playoffs.

  42. How long before they announce the two extra games will be played in London and Mexico?

  43. bkinacti0n says:
    March 31, 2020 at 8:59 pm

    And both of those 7-9 playoff teams were division winners. Adding one Wild Card team per conference does not change the fact that the division winners automatically get into the playoffs.
    _______________________________

    No but going back to 3 divisions per conference would fix it, the NFL NEVER had a 7-9 team make the Playoffs in the SB era until they re-alinged to 4 divisions per conference in 2002, NOT ONCE! And 8-8 teams very seldom made the Playoffs in those 36yrs, it was way more competitive, teams knew every game meant something, unlike now days were teams can take a couple/few weeks off and still get in especially now since they’re adding two more undeserving teams.

  44. war27 says: I like the idea of only one team getting the bye…
    ———-
    But they already have homefield advantage so it doubles the existing bonus over other teams.

  45. The 3rd seed has rarely won the Super Bowl under the current format, but under the new format they should have quite a big advantage. They play the second worst WC team, worst case after that they go and play a 2nd seed team on the road, but at least that team also just played a game. Best case they have home field throughout the playoffs.

  46. So… all you hypocrites will whine and pontificate about the playoffs being reduced in stature for the sake of the owners’ greed, but you will still arrange your schedule and place all other things in your life in abeyance so that you can – and will – watch every single moment of every single playoff game.

  47. Not to diminish what the 2007 Giants or 2005 Steelers achieved from WC slots, but the team that shocked all of us the most — and they didn’t even win it all — was the 85 Patriots. At the time the franchise was as comical and anonymous as it gets. I don’t think they had even won a playoff game in their history. Their 3 road wins to make the Super Bowl included wins over the Jets (at the time still a credible franchise), the Raiders (in their prime), and a Dolphins team led by Marino and Shula (AFC defending champs). The Pat’s had lost 18 straight in the Orange Bowl until that game.

  48. Remember when 2008 11-5 Pats (without Brady!) and 2015 10-6 Jets missed playoffs though they had better records than other teams? It should go by record, not division position. You know, 7-9 2010 Seahawks? They beat Saints but still….

    It would be great if NFL did what English Football League does…promotion and relegation, plus only top teams make playoffs (Champions League, etc.) Keep the salary cap and draft though, otherwise same 6 or 7 teams (like with Arsenal, etc.) will drive everyone crazy.

    But with 7 teams, Pats will still make playoffs….Steelers, too. Browns? Bwahahahahahahahahahahah!

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