NFL Playoff Changes – The NFL is looking to introduce some drastic changes to the playoffs, including increasing the number of qualifying teams, as early as next season according to multiple reports this week.
NFL owners want to change the structure of the regular season and the playoffs as part of their new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).
The changes, which were first shared by NFL Insider Adam Schefter, include only allowing one team from each conference a first-round bye in the playoffs and increasing the number of playoff teams from 12 to 14 – seven from each conference.
On that first weekend, the next six teams in each conference would face each other, as opposed to four teams now.
The NFL has played a 16-game schedule since 1978 and has had a 12-team playoff format since 1990.
Other Proposed NFL Playoff Changes
Other changes include lengthening the regular season to 17 weeks by cutting one week from the pre-season but, if agreed, this will not be in effect until 2021.
The league are also reviewing the structure of training camps; and reviewing the number of padded practices during the season.
The league’s owners will meet on Thursday to discuss the changes with the Players’ Association before the current 10-year deal expires next year.
On Friday, union representatives from each of the 32 teams will meet via conference call to continue to hash out the negotions.
The additional game in the regular season has proved to be a major sticking point for the NFL Players’ Association.
If the format existed in 2019, the Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8) and Los Angeles Rams (9-7) would have made the playoffs based on their records at the end of last season.
The proposed additional regular season game would reportedly increase revenue for the NFL and owners but critics are already arguing it would likely increase wear and tear of on their bodies.
To compensate, owners are proposing that preseason games be reduced to three per team, according to ESPN.
The reaction to the proposed NFL playoff changes has been less than positive to say the least, with many fans and pundits slamming the owners for changing the near-perfect existing format.
The biggest concern, aside from the additional regular season game adding to injury woes, seems to be that the changes to the playoffs will make them less competitive.
By allowing 14 teams instead of 12, two additional mediocre franchises will qualify for the playoffs each year.
In addition to this, there is also concern that by only allowing one team per conference to earn a bye, the league would effectively be awarding a stamped ticket to the Super Bowl to each of the conference’s top seeds, ruining the excitement of the regular season’s finale.
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