BY Steve Rudman 02:24PM 02/27/2014

Support Growing For 14-Team NFL Playoff Field

The NFL could vote as early as next month on adding two more teams to the postseason field, to take effect following the 2015 season. Good? Bad? Vote here.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is reportedly for the idea of the NFL adding two more playoff teams by 2015. / Wiki Commons

According to a report Thursday by The Washington Post’s Mark Maske, who received his information from a league source, the NFL is strongly considering expanding its postseason field to 14 teams by 2015. Owners might even vote on the proposal next month during the league’s annual meetings in Orlando, FL.

The current field has 12, six each from the NFC and AFC. The bump would grow the number of postseason participants from 37 percent of the clubs to 43 percent.

“I think there’s a lot of momentum for it,” the source told Maske. “I don’t know for sure if the votes are there yet or not, but there is momentum. A lot of people seem to be in favor of it.”

A lot of people, subscribers to the “less is more” idea, won’t be. They would argue that diluting the playoff field is dumb on the face of it. But they’ll lose that argument on monetary grounds: Wild card weekend is a major cash cow. An average of 34.7 million people watched each of the most recent opening-round games, with the 49ers and Packers attracting more than 47 million.

Adding two more teams to would bring the total games to six. The league is exploring having two on Saturday, three on Sunday and one in prime time on Monday night. The No. 1 seed would draw the lone bye, and No. 2 plays No. 7, 3 plays 6 and 4 plays 5.

Had 14 teams made the 2013-14 playoffs, Pittsburgh would have qualified for the AFC field and Arizona, which scored a late-season victory over the Seahawks at CenturyLink, for the NFC field.

The Steelers would have visited New England in one wild card game (there’s a ratings bonanza) while the Cardinals would have played at Carolina. The Patriots and Panthers had first-round byes last season, but would not have gotten them with 14 teams in the field.

Commissioner Roger Goodell, who favors an 18-game schedule, is said to endorse a 14-team playoff. Of course, 14 won’t be the end of it. A few years from now, the postseason will include 16 teams, or 50 percent of the league’s roster. Given the money involved, it’s inevitable.


  • jafabian

    For a league concerened about player safety this doesn’t make sense. There’s more than enough games already. Anymore and you’re looking at more injuries. They should dump exhibtion season then.

  • I tell ya what: why don’t we just let EVERY team in just like they do at many prep athletics levels around the country. That way, no team gets their poor little feelings hurt (never mind their bones and brains). Give me a break! The playoffs should be for a handful of teams, and that (unfortunately) means that some squads will not get in (like Arizona and Pittsburgh this past season) due to tiebreaker scenarios, etc. It’s what makes the playoffs special. Otherwise, why have them?

  • RadioGuy

    The best way to cheapen your regular season is to let more teams into your postseason, but that’s what Roger and the Ole Boys Club apparently wants to do. Why even start watching the NFL until January when the games really count?

  • zigzags

    Part of what makes the NFL is so exciting is that every regular season game means so much. One game in the NFL is the equivalent to 10 in baseball. So much rides on every play, it’s tough to pull away from.

    Completely the opposite can be said about baseball.

  • Steve Graham

    Count me in the “less is more” camp. This is the NFL’s version of grade inflation. As Rudman suggests, it’s likely a 16-team playoff format isn’t that far off.

    Doesn’t that steamroller-of-a-league have enough money? Goodell should replace the NFL shield logo with the likeness of Scrooge McDuck.

    • 1coolguy

      Well put!

  • Greg

    Let’s make it as meaningless as college bowl games. The powers are only interested in one thing $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$!

    • 1coolguy

      I agree!

  • 1coolguy

    This is such a blatant money grab it’s disgusting.
    What’s the use of winning the division if essentially 1/2 the league makes the playoffs?
    Hell, a team with a decent record can just check out the last few games and sideline their best players so they don’t get hurt.
    Sounds like a Jerry Jones idea if you ask me – Big D can’t field a winning team so “how ’bout lowering the bar so my Cowboys can get in? “

  • Big

    Funny how money can cheapen a product. Hells, bells, little league rules everybody wins a trophy.