NFL unanimously approves contingency plan for 16-team postseason

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NFL owners today unanimously approved a plan to expand the postseason to 16 teams if a COVID-19 outbreak forces the regular season to be shortened.

Commissioner Roger Goodell confirmed after a virtual league meeting that every owner was in agreement on the plan, which will include eight teams in each conference making the postseason in the event that not all 32 teams can play all 16 games — something the league still hopes to avoid.

“We are committed to completing the season as scheduled,” Goodell said.

The owners decided not to re-seed the teams once they qualify for the postseason, which had been an aspect of the proposal.

Despite the possibility of having to use the contingency plan, Goodell stressed that the NFL believes it can do a thorough job of contact tracing and isolating people who have tested positive or had high risk contacts, and that will, the league hopes, be sufficient to prevent an outbreak that causes games to be canceled.

29 responses to “NFL unanimously approves contingency plan for 16-team postseason

  1. Did they approve a plan, or the concept of a plan? If one game between non-playoff teams gets canceled, does this go into effect or is there some threshold (ie. multiple contending teams).
    I’m not sure I totally understand the re-seeding thing. Does this just mean that a 6-9-1 NFC East team will still get their home playoff game, or does it mean teams won’t be re-seeded between rounds?

  2. Wow, this plan really sucks for the AFC & NFC one seeds. In a year when home field advantage does not really exist, the first round bye WAS the reward for getting the one seed.

  3. kinda strange, this might create some meaningless games towards the end of the season. Now teams don’t gotta worry about being the 1st seed for a bye anymore. Some teams might have the division wrapped up by week15/16 then just play back ups for 2 weeks..

  4. I’m still of the belief that teams should have to play whatever warm, healthy bodies they have no matter what, even if they’re mostly off the practice squad. It could make for a great storyline. While unlikely, how heartwarming would it be if a team of mostly practice squad hopefuls played with enough heart to beat a powerhouse team? Those are the kinds of stories ALL sports fans live for

  5. So you’re telling me three teams from the NFC EAST could make the playoffs, lol???

    Someone needs to inform that division that they don’t have to win anymore games, just tie every week and they will take the division and host a playoff game.

    Way to go NFL! Keep watering the competition down!!!!

  6. its already an asterisk year, theres nothing you can do to make it much weirder / worse. Going forward in normal years, though? No way, even 7 is too many.

  7. The only reason to watch the NFL is gambling. I don’t care at all who wins for more than a week. The integrity of football has been ruined by the league office and the greed of the owners.

  8. So will teams conspire to falsify positive results towards the end of the year if they are on the outside of the playoffs looking in as a way to get in the playoffs? That is something the Patriots organization would obviously do.

  9. Michael Jones, Sr. says:
    November 10, 2020 at 4:30 pm

    So you’re telling me three teams from the NFC EAST could make the playoffs, lol???

    It’s 16 playoff teams in the league, not 16 playoff teams per conference.

  10. It seems ridiculous but think of it this way: You’re only adding one more playoff team per conference than what they were planning to do anyway. Right now there are nine AFC teams with a 5-3 record or better. There are seven NFC teams that are above .500, plus the 3-4-1 NFC East-leading Eagles. If the season ended today, we probably wouldn’t complain that an undeserving team made the playoffs.

    Personally, I wouldn’t implement this playoff system unless it actually made a difference for some playoff team. Why do it if the problem it’s supposed to solve doesn’t really impact a potential playoff team?

  11. Cancel the bye week before the SB. Have any cancelled game be played in week 16. NFL is greediest thing on earth, they deserve the money they lose.

  12. Probably also discussed, but not shared was another contingency plan: Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna, Eli Lilly, and others have already started applying to the FDA for emergency use authorizations for covid-19 vaccines & neutralizing antibody drugs. In order to safeguard the playoffs, wouldn’t be surprised if the NFL ends up bogarting the vaccines (similar to how the NBA bogarted early testing availability) ahead of nursing homes/front line workers and probably half a year ahead of the gen pop.

  13. just have the chiefs and steelers play three consecutive weeks. best of three are SB champs.
    the other teams really don’t matter much

  14. Y’all do realize this is a CONTINGENCY plan, right? If there are no cancelled games, it’s business as usual. I’m pretty sure if a bubble team misses the playoffs because they played one less game, you’ll be grateful for ONE extra playoff slot.

    This comments section is so dramatic. It’s ruining football! We’re just letting ever team in now! You guys. Chill.

  15. acemagee45 says:
    November 10, 2020 at 4:05 pm
    Wow, this plan really sucks for the AFC & NFC one seeds. In a year when home field advantage does not really exist, the first round bye WAS the reward for getting the one seed.

    “In a year where home field advantage doesn’t really exist” = what the hell are you talking about? You mean players sleeping in their own bed in their own home with very minimal travel means nothing, I just don’t understand some people’s lack of thinking!

  16. ….carry the one….yep, the good news is this means good teams can start resting their key players about Week 12. Can’t wait for the JV games the last few weeks!

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