The NFL’s franchise owners will discuss expanding the playoff field when they meet next week in Atlanta, and it is possible but unlikely that a formal vote on the issue will be taken then, according to several people familiar with the deliberations on the matter.
Many within the sport now believe it is inevitable that the owners will, at some point, ratify the plan to expand the NFL playoff field from 12 to 14 teams, likely beginning in the 2015 season. But it is unclear when the measure will be formally approved. It must be ratified by at least 24 of the 32 owners.
One person familiar with the situation, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the deliberations on the topic, said there will be “discussion” by the owners next week of the expanded-playoffs proposal and a “possible vote.” That person said a formal vote being taken next week “seems unlikely right now [but] that could change.”
Another person with knowledge of the matter said that “no decision will be made on a vote until the meeting.”
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell potentially could make a decision on whether to take a formal vote of the owners after seeing how the discussion goes.
Under the proposal, seven teams in each conference would qualify for the postseason instead of the current six. Only one team per conference would receive a first-round playoff bye, rather than the current two, and there would be six first-round postseason games league-wide instead of the current four. One of those first-round playoff games potentially would be played on a Monday night.
The additional postseason games would be intended to generate increased revenues for the sport, particularly through its television deals.
The owners are scheduled to meet in Atlanta next Tuesday.
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