NFL Nation Says: Expand the playoffs?
There wasn't a vote on it this week during the owners meetings in Orlando, Fla., but it was talked about in great detail with the goal to make it reality by 2015.
"I think there's a tremendous amount of interest in this, possibly even to the point of support, but there are also things we want to make sure we do it right," commissioner Roger Goodell said Wednesday, the final day of the meetings. "We've been very incremental when trying to do this. But we believed it could make our races toward the end of the season even more exciting, [with] more teams vying for playoffs positions, which is great for our fans."
The next step comes April 8, when Goodell will discuss an expanded playoffs with the NFL Players Association. The union fought expansion of the regular season from 16 to 18 games, which is why an expanded playoffs has gained momentum.
This should be an easier sell. It will add two more games to the playoffs, thus two more games worth of revenue.
Many owners and coaches believe the positives far outweigh the negatives. It would put more emphasis on being the top seed in each conference, because that would be the only team with a first-round bye instead of the current two.
It also would make it less likely that a hot team would miss the playoffs, as the Arizona Cardinals (10-6) did last season, while the Green Bay Packers (8-7-1) got in as a division champion.
Here's how it would work: Seeds 2-7 in each conference would play in the wild-card round, with No. 2 facing No. 7 and so forth. One of the scenarios discussed during the meetings was a three-day weekend, with two games on Saturday, three on Sunday and one on Monday night.
The competition committee is in favor of expanded playoffs. The idea appears to have enough support from the owners to get the 24 of 32 votes needed for approval.
Here's what NFL owners/coaches/general managers said to NFL Nation reporters about expanded playoffs during the owners meetings:
---- Bruce Arians, Cardinals head coach
-- Gus Bradley, Jacksonville Jaguars head coach
"I'm for it in terms of the more teams that can get in the playoffs, the better chance we have. I would be for it."
-- David Caldwell, Jaguars general manager
-- Ron Rivera, Carolina Panthers head coach
-- Mike McCarthy, Green Bay Packers head coach
-- John Harbaugh, Baltimore Ravens head coach
"I'm a big college basketball fan. You see a team that gets hot near the end of the season after squeaking in. These bubble teams are dangerous when they get into these things. We've also seen so many teams like ours, the Giants and the Packers, come from the wild-card position and win the whole thing. To me, that's as good an argument as any. If the ones toward the bottom 12 were never making hay, I clearly would be opposed to it. It would seem like [an] 'Every kid gets a trophy' attitude. We're not into that. You expand, and I think in the first few years of expanding to 14, you're going to see one of those teams be in the Super Bowl, if not win it."
-- Steve Bisciotti, Ravens owner
-- Rex Ryan, New York Jets head coach
-- Jeff Fisher, St. Louis Rams head coach
"I'm not always for big changes in the game. Whether it's moving the PAT back, moving the kickoff up
extending the playoffs. I think it eventually will happen. They've got to figure out how they want to do it first because if you have another two games, it's hard to piece out. You've got a lot of things to consider: What days are you going to do it? Are you going to go with a tripleheader? You going to go Saturday, Sunday, Monday? You could squeeze them in as long as you didn't squeeze somebody on the next round. The scheduling
that's not an easy thing. I don't think it will happen this year, but
it's probably going to happen. Just not this coming season."
-- John Fox, Broncos head coach
-- Chuck Pagano, Indianapolis Colts head coach
-- Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh Steelers head coach
-- Mike McCoy, San Diego Chargers head coach
-- Ken Whisenhunt, Tennessee Titans head coach
-- Mike Pettine, Cleveland Browns head coach