Courtesy of WikiMediaCommons.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was asked about the chances of an expanded playoff system, having 14 teams in the postseason instead of 12. Goodell stated that the topic will be further discussed at the Spring League Meeting on May 20.
During the NFL Annual Meeting that took place in March, the owners decided to not make a definitive decision regarding expansion. Commissioner Goodell commented on the topic afterward:
“It’s not out of the question, but we didn’t make that decision at all. We have more work to do. I wouldn’t rule it out, but I wouldn’t say that’s the direction we’re headed right now.”
With the recent news of ESPN airing its first NFL Playoff Game for the 2014 season, the topic of playoff expansion from 12 to 14 teams has resurfaced. In order for expansion to become a reality, the NFLPA must agree with the terms after the NFL owners approve them.
New York Giants owner John Mara on the chances of playoff expansion for this season:
“I think it’s kind of late. We have a May meeting, but I sense that we’ll wait a year before we do that. It hasn’t been voted on yet,” he said. … “[The league] would notify us in advance, but I’m thinking it’s probably not going to happen for another year or so. My guess is that it’s going to pass at some point.”
The idea of expansion formed during the 2013 postseason by commissioner Goodell:
“That is under serious consideration. We think it’s one of the great things about the NFL, besides the fact that it’s unscripted. Every team and their fans start the season with hope. You mentioned the fact that for 11 straight years we’ve had a team go from last to first, that’s unique to professional football and the NFL, that doesn’t happen in other sports. And that’s because we have such a competitive league and we want to keep that.”
If the two extra playoff teams were to be included last season, the 7 seeds in each conference would have been the Arizona Cardinals (10-6, NFC) and the Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8, AFC). These two teams gained late-season momentum but were the victims of tiebreakers holding them out of the playoffs. Arizona (10-6) is the last team to defeat the Super Bowl Champion Seahawks in Seattle, and Pittsburgh finished the season winning 8 of their last 12 (8-4) after starting with 4 straight losses (0-4). These two teams could have drastically changed the entire playoff landscape last postseason but expansion is more likely for the 2015 NFL Season, 2016 NFL Playoffs. If financial numbers can be decided between the NFL owners and NFL players, then the idea will continue to grow toward reality.