Owners to consider 16-team postseason contingency plan

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In 1982, the NFL used a 16-team postseason to determine a champion following a nine-game regular season resulting from a strike. In 2020, a 16-team postseason could happen again.

On Tuesday, owners will consider a proposal that would expand the playoffs if any games are lost to the pandemic.

As explained last week, the league’s preference continues to be playing 256 games in 17 weeks. Plan B consists of an eighteenth week, for games that had to be postponed and couldn’t be fit within the 17-week window.

Plan C, an expanded postseason, could happen if even only one game can’t be played despite an 18-week season.

The move, if adopted by the owners, has a clear financial component. It would, put simply, restore losses arising from canceled regular-season games. As explained last week, the NFL Players Association would have to agree to an expanded playoff field; the union would give it serious consideration, if it preserves money lost by players due to lost regular-season games.

Having 16 teams instead of 14 teams in the postseason won’t necessarily cure the perception of unfairness based on some teams playing fewer than 16 games. If the ninth seed in either conference misses the window based on the inability to compare records on an apple-to-apples basis, that team and its fans will be as  unhappy as an eighth seed that would have been left out of a 14-team field thanks to winning percentages due to teams playing fewer than 16 games.

14 responses to “Owners to consider 16-team postseason contingency plan

  1. With an expanded playoff tournament, I would think they can create team bubbles. Not what the owners want but the show must go on.

  2. If they go to 16 with no bye weeks for #1s, they’re adding two playoff games. That doesn’t seem like a huge money increase, but it depends on how many games are lost. It just punishes the top seeds be making them play in the wild card round.

  3. It’s 2020. All championships will come with “but it was 2020, so life was weird” It’s not fair to the premier teams this year, but life is unfair. Try to keep things as normal as possible. I’d prefer the old 2 byes format this year just because it is 2020, we’ve all had enough change

  4. The 16 game postseason is the plan C contingency plan.

    Why discuss it now if they have not even needed to use plan A yet?

  5. Seems like a strange idea. They’re already letting an additional team in from each conference. Two additional games would not make up for an entire missed week of the regular season, and the only teams getting punished by this are the top seeds from each conference.

  6. Much of the “fairness” question would be resolved if the last 3 weeks are a division round-robin, where final week is essentially an elimination game between the closest teams that remain eligible for the playoffs.

    Players want to get into the playoffs. Everybody makes the most money with the playoffs. Just make 16 games standard for the playoffs, instead of extending the season.

  7. Who ever thinks over half of the players deep down want to make the playoffs are oblivious to the pay structure in the league. Players get 17 regular season checks dividing their yearly salary. In the playoffs, they all make minimum football wages and are too close to next season if an injury occurs to be fully healthy and this if in a contract year ect lose massive dollars by being cut and or in signing their next contracts. The owners are the only ones who profit off of the playoff games.

  8. dartmouthstevens says:
    November 10, 2020 at 10:49 am
    It’s 2020. All championships will come with “but it was 2020, so life was weird” It’s not fair to the premier teams this year, but life is unfair. Try to keep things as normal as possible. I’d prefer the old 2 byes format this year just because it is 2020, we’ve all had enough change

    —————

    Does winning the presidency count as a championship? There are, um, certain people who think the winner’s win wasn’t legitimate. They aren’t given much credence. I doubt the people who brush off 2020-season sports champions will be taken seriously, either

  9. Totally unfair to the first and seconds seeds. But this was inevitable since they’re trying to get 17 games after this season anyway. If they cared to do it properly, 3 vs. 8 and 4 vs. 7 with 5 getting a home playoff game vs. 6 would make the most sense. The top two seeds would still be able to keep their byes. 8th seed gift for failure/mediocrity will have people who don’t deserve the occupation they currently have onboard for at least another year, HCs, GMs and players alike. But the Titans did fire Mularkey after winning a playoff game, so it’s just up to the franchises to be smart enough as to know what is a mirage and what isn’t.

  10. Terrible idea. Not much incentive to win games once you’ve clinched your playoff spot. The NFL will turn weeks 15-17 into preseason game #4 for all the elite teams.

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