The San Francisco 49ers and New Orleans Saints probably won't find this news to useful, but the NFL has discussed the possibility of reseeding the playoffs based on overall record. A change that could possibly occur as soon as next year.
No decisions have been made, but the league has "looked at multiple ways" to change the playoff system, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said on Thursday, via the Associated Press.
"Every scenario has been discussed, ranging from reseeding to one extra game, expanding from 12 to 14 teams," McCarthy said. "Think of a scenario, it's been discussed and remains in play."
If the league had reseeded teams this season based on record, the 49ers and Saints would most likely be hosting games this weekend. Instead, 12-4 San Francisco is headed to 8-7-1 Green Bay and 11-5 New Orleans is headed to 10-6 Philadelphia.
According to McCarthy, part of the reason that the NFL hasn't already moved forward with reseeding the playoffs is because some teams have "raised the concern that reseeding would minimize the value of winning a division; winning a division now means a guaranteed home playoff game."
In every year since 2007, there's been at least one wild-card team that's had to go on the road to face a division winner with a worse record. Although reseeding has been discussed, there's been no formal vote on the matter, according to McCarthy.
It's possible the NFL could decide to expand and reseed the playoffs in the same season. The topic of playoff expansion came up in September with reports that the league would likely start including 14 teams in the postseason as soon as 2014. If 14 teams would've made the postseason this year, both Arizona and Pittsburgh would have made the playoffs.