More football, in most cases, is always good. More playoff games definitely are good.
But here’s one thing that may not be so good: The official expansion of the field from 12 teams to 14 places a gigantic premium on earning the top seed in each conference.
The No. 1 seeds become the only teams to get a weekend off. Which means that the No. 2 seeds — typically, the biggest threat to the No. 1 seeds — will have to play another game, putting the No. 2 seeds at risk of losing that game and also at risk of getting someone injured. Even without losing a key player for the rest of the postseason, the No. 2 seed will be more banged up than it otherwise would be since it will have played two games not one before a potential showdown in the conference championship game.
Although the No. 1 seeds first must get past their division-round games — and the top-seeded Ravens failed to do that in January — the new configuration will make it more likely not less likely that the Super Bowl will feature a matchup of the best two teams from each conference.
And that won’t be a bad thing when it’s time to play the Super Bowl. While upsets are fun to watch, they wipe out otherwise great games that would have come later. Ravens-Chiefs could have been a memorable AFC Championship for the 2019 season, for example. Turning back the clock by 35 years, New England’s postseason upset win over Dan Marino and the Dolphins was memorable — and New England’s blowout loss to the Bears two weeks later was forgettable, especially since the Bears otherwise would have been playing the only team that had beaten them during the 1985 season.
So, yes, the playoffs could be a bit more predictable. Eventually, some may clamor for expansion to 16 teams if only to remove the bye-week advantage for the No. 1 seeds. But the reward will come in the Super Bowl, when it’s more likely that the best two teams will make it through the conference tournament and to the league’s championship game.