Does it feel like your NFL team never makes the playoffs?
Then maybe it’s time the playoffs were expanded. Every year about this time, there are rumblings about doing just that and this year is no exception. This time, though, there’s a little more substantive talk. Speaking in a public forum at the 92nd Street Y in New York on Tuesday night, Commissioner Roger Goodell said expansion was “under serious consideration. One of the great things about the NFL other than it’s unscripted is that every team starts the season with hope.” The talk is, in part, fueled by the excitement of the last two weeks of the NFL season: In Week 17, nearly game had playoff ramifications; the wild-card games drew record TV ratings although they were late sellouts.
“That’s extraordinary and we want to keep that,” Goodell said of the late-season buzz over games (via NFL.com). “If we could increase that, and again this is about believing in better, can you make it better? Can you make those races better by adding two more teams? That’s compelling and that’s what we’re looking at.”
There’s no timeline for the change, but it would be fairly straightforward. Each conference would get another team, with only the No. 1 seed getting a first-round bye and the No. 2 seed playing the No. 7 seed (3 vs. 6, 4 vs. 5). With three games on each day, the NFL might look at expanding the concept of “wild-card weekend.
“They’re going to study some aspects of that because when would those games occur and one team would get a bye in each conference and you’d have six games on the weekend,” Goodell said (via ESPN). “So would you have three on Saturday, and three on Sunday? Or do you get one on Friday and two on Saturday and two on Sunday and one on Monday? I think those are the kinds of things we want to evaluate.”
There was talk of seeding teams based on record, an idea Goodell doesn’t favor, the New York Daily News’ Gary Myers writes. (In the NFC, that would have meant Seahawks, Panthers, 49ers, Saints, Eagles, Packers as 1-6 rather than Seahawks, Panthers, Eagles, Packers, 49ers, Saints.) “I don’t think there is momentum for that,” Goodell said. “One of the premises we start with every season is the first objective is to win the division and when you win the division, you have a home game. I believe it’s the right priority. I don’t see the owners pushing for a big change on that. I don’t see that happening.”
It’s an approach that would have one owner, the Dallas Cowboys’ Jerry Jones, salivating. He brought up — moments after his team was eliminated in the last game .
“From the standpoint of looking at how exciting it is for a city or a community to be involved in the playoffs and the fact that you can have a team that might have literally operated at .500 or in that area … you can have that team win the Super Bowl,” the Dallas Cowboys owner said Friday, speaking purely hypothetically on 105.3 The Fan. “That makes a big case for adding a couple of more cities or communities that have NFL teams to the playoffs.
“It just creates that much more excitement and that much more interest for people in those communities. So I fall on the side of the ledger that would increase the playoffs.”
On Monday, Dan Patrick reported that expansion was closer than anyone thought, saying on “The Dan Patrick Show” (via Andrew Perloff) that “the NFL will add a wild card team in both conferences.” That won’t be so quickly, though, as the NFL quickly pointed out (via Richard Deitsch of SI.com), even though the idea of another playoff game is financially attractive: “There been no such decision. It would require a vote of the clubs and it has not yet been taken up with them. If it’s taken up this year, it would happen at the annual meeting in March. The agenda for the meeting has not been formulated.”
Still, it’s an idea that may be gaining ground.
Meanwhile, courtesy of The Post’s Todd Lindeman, take a look at just how long it’s been since your team was in the postseason: