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The NFL might expand its playoff field to 14 teams as soon as the 2015 season, according to a report in The Washington Post.
The league’s competition committee has been eyeing for some time the possibility of adding one team in the AFC and one team in the NFC. Under the format being discussed, one team in each conference would receive a first-round bye instead of two, ensuring six games on the opening weekend.
A vote by the owners could come as soon as late next month at the annual league meeting in Orlando, The Post’s Mark Maske reported. Twenty-four of the 32 owners would need to vote in favor of expansion for it to take effect. Commission Roger Goodell is also said to support playoff expansion.
“I think there’s a lot of momentum for it,” Maske quoted a source as saying. “I don’t know for sure if the votes are there yet [among the owners] or not. But there is momentum. A lot of people seem in favor of it.”
The last postseason expansion occurred in 1990, when the field grew from 10 to 12 teams.
Under the structure being discussed internally, the Steelers (8-8) and Cardinals (10-6) would have qualified for the postseason in 2013. The Patriots and Panthers, meantime, would not have received byes.
The argument against expansion is that it could water down the competition and devalue a playoff spot. On the other hand, though, it also means more revenue and two additional cities remaining fully engaged for another weekend. Did we mention more revenue?
The report went on to say the league seems to prefer a format that would see two games on Saturday, three on Sunday and one on Monday night for the opening weekend of the playoffs. Currently, there are two on Saturday and two Sunday.