The momentum for playoff expansion continues, and changes could be coming as soon as the 2015 season. TheMMQB.com's Peter King is the latest to suggest that the NFL postseason could add two teams, bringing the total to 14, and the topic will almost certainly come up at the owners meetings next week.
"I'm hearing it's probably a matter of when, not if," King wrote Monday, adding that the league might be inclined to have just one team in each conference earning a first-round bye. That would mean six wild-card games with No. 2 vs. No. 7, No. 3 vs. No. 6 and No. 4 vs. No. 5. There's also the possibility that at least one of those games would be on Monday night.
If this all sounds familiar, it should. The Washington Post reported last month that there was "a lot of momentum" for playoff expansion beginning in the 2015 season, and commissioner Roger Goodell admitted as much in January, during the 2013 playoffs.
"That is under serious consideration," Goodell said of adding more teams to the postseason mix. "We think it's one of the great things about the NFL, besides the fact that it's unscripted. Every team and their fans start the season with hope. You mentioned the fact that for 11 straight years we've had a team go from last to first, that's unique to professional football and the NFL, that doesn't happen in other sports. And that's because we have such a competitive league and we want to keep that."
Last season, a 14-team playoff field would've included the Steelers and Cardinals, two teams that just missed the postseason with 8-8 and 10-6 records, respectively. One of the arguments against expansion is that it makes the 17 weeks of the regular season less meaningful, a concern that carries little weight when the counterargument is "more money in owners' pockets."