NFL competition committee won’t recommend expanding playoff field in 2013 season (updated)

March 12, 2013

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell are scheduled to meet March 17-20 in Phoenix (Nam Y. Huh/The Associated Press)

 

Update, 5:45 p.m.: A third person confirmed later Tuesday that the competition committee will not make a recommendation to the owners, either for or against the measure, adding that the committee was not asked to do so.

Original post: Getting to the playoffs is not likely to get any easier for the Redskins — or any other NFL team — in the immediate future.

The NFL’s competition committee is not expected to recommend expanding the sport’s playoff field to the owners at the annual league meeting later this month in Phoenix, according to two people close to the situation.

The rule-making competition committee plans to make a report to the owners about the considerations and ramifications associated with expanding the playoffs but is not expected to endorse the idea, one of those people said Tuesday.

“I know there’s supposed to be a report,” that person said. “There’s no specific proposal.”

The measure is expected to be studied further for possible implementation in future years, but not in the 2013 season.

Competition committee members in recent weeks discussed the possibility of expanding the playoff field from six teams per conference to seven or eight teams per conference. There was some thought that expanding the playoff field — and adding postseason games— might be coupled with cutting back the preseason to make it more attractive to the players’ union and some owners.

Adding one playoff team per conference would result in the elimination of one of the two first-round byes. Adding two playoff teams per conference would produce the elimination of first-round postseason byes altogether.

Currently the four division winners and two wild-card teams in each conference reach the postseason. That’s 12 of the 32 teams in the league. Expansion of the playoffs would increase that number to 14 or 16 teams.

Opponents of playoff expansion have argued that the NFL should not diminish the meaning of its regular season by letting too many teams into the postseason. Such a change would require the ratification of at least 24 of the 32 teams, and it’s highly unlikely that such a measure ever would draw sufficient support among the owners without the endorsement of the competition committee.

The owners are scheduled to meet March 17-20.

Mark Maske covers the NFL for The Washington Post.
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Mike Jones · March 12, 2013