This week at the NFL owners meeting in Atlanta the heads of the franchises decided to hold off the vote to expand the playoff. They instead will take up this discussion at the fall meetings. It’s an idea that is gaining popularity and one that Commissioner Roger Goodell is heavily trying to make happen. They would like to take the current format of 12 teams and expand it to 14. That would provide an extra playoff game in each conference and give another team a shot at the postseason.
This makes sense from a business side if we are looking strictly at the bottom line. One more playoff game would provide extra revenue for league and maybe would allow them to squeeze a few more dollars out of their current TV contracts. That being said as a fan I would hope that they leave what is the best playoff in professional sports as is. The current format lets 12 teams in and leaves 20 teams sitting outside wanting to get better. Unlike the NBA or NHL where over half the teams make it to the postseason.
The NFL is the king of all professional sports but this maybe one of the first steps in flirting with over exposure. One step was the insistence on having a Thursday night game that has turned out to be a less than stellar representation of the product. The playoffs did not need an extra team and the AFC would have had to push a 2nd team with an 8-8 record into the playoffs if these rules would have been in effect at the end of last season.
More than likely the owners will vote to expand the playoff because they all think that there is one more chance for them to get their team in. This would be the first expansion of the playoffs since 1990 and some people in the NFL feel its overdue. Owners are salivating at the idea a possible extra home game of revenue. I just hope that is the last playoff expansion for a while.
Keith B. Holt
Follow on Twitter @Kholtjr