The NFL has been in talks about adding that extra regular-season game for years. With the CBA set to expire, there is a chance that the NFL will expand from 16 to 17 games, while the preseason is lowered from 4 games to 3 games.
But this will not take effect until the 2021 season.
However, there is a new proposal that the playoff format will change, expanding from 6 teams to 7.
How would this work? Pretty simple actually. For starters, ONLY the top seeds in each conference would get a bye during wild-card weekend, no more two teams with bye weeks during.
These are the matchups during wildcard weekend:
2nd seed host the 7th seed
3rd seed host the 6th seed
4th seed host the 5th seed
An extra playoff game, which equals more money for the NFL, and the extra playoff seed equals a shot for another team to get a chance at a championship berth or even an upset in the early rounds.
If this format was applied to last season, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Los Angeles Rams would have qualified for the playoffs.
Then the conference semi-finals would be the same as it has been:
1st seed host the lower-seeded WC winner
Then the remaining team’s matchup, with the higher seed being the home team.
Another underrated change to the playoff format is that the team who receives a bye week are going to get paid. Oddly enough, if you finished in the top two seeds, you didn’t get paid during your bye week. So an extra payday for the players, accounting for more of the revenue going to the players.
Many people do not like this idea, making the playoffs a lot easier to make, but at the end of the day, it’s all about making more money for the league.
The ability to shake up the playoffs hasn’t happened since 2002, when the Houston Texans joined the NFL. This shows that the NFL is willing to adjust to what the fans want, while also receiving financial gain. More football, more storylines, extra money for all involved; this is just an all around win for every party involved.