Playoff expansion is a matter of when, not if, and according to Newsday's Bob Glauber, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said Thursday that owners will discuss the topic at May 20 meetings in Atlanta.
Last month, TheMMQB.com's Peter King reported that the postseason could expand from 12 to 14 teams in 2015, though the owners could vote to implement the changes as soon as 2014. But Goodell says that if there is no vote at the May meetings, the playoffs status quo will remain for at least one more season.
fyi: A lot has to happen before expanded playoffs become a reality. 1. Owners must approve. 2. Players must approve.— Bob Glauber (@BobGlauber) April 24, 2014
Giants owner John Mara told Glauber earlier this week that he doesn't expect changes to happen this year.
“I think it's kind of late. We have a May meeting, but I sense that we'll wait a year before we do that. It hasn't been voted on yet," he said. ... "[The league] would notify us in advance, but I'm thinking it's probably not going to happen for another year or so. My guess is that it's going to pass at some point.”
Whenever it happens, King writes that 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.
Goodell starting planting the playoff-expansion seeds in January, during the 2013 playoffs.
"That is under serious consideration," Goodell said at the time, regarding 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. 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."