The NFL Could Expand Playoffs to Fourteen Teams

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Two new wild cards could be added to the NFL playoffs.

According to multiple reports circulating the internet Monday afternoon, the NFL is leaning towards a 14 team playoff format to replace the current 12 team format.

As it stands now, each conference is broken down into four divisions, with each division winner making the playoffs as a 1, 2, 3, or 4 seed, depending on their overall record. The top two seeds receive a first round bye, while only the first seed is guaranteed home field advantage for the entire playoffs.

The final two seeds, 5 and 6, are left for the best two teams that did not win their division. These are the "wild cards" and will most likely not play a home playoff game (unless both were to make it to the conference championship, where the higher seed would host).

The NFL’s plan is simple- add one more wild card team, or a 7 seed, to each conference. This would nullify the first round bye for the second seed while keeping the rest of the current format intact. The number 1 seed would become even more valuable in this situation.

For those wondering, the Ravens would still have not made the playoffs this season if a seventh seed was added, but rather the Pittsburgh Steelers would have.

Another topic of discussion lately in the NFL is the possibility of reseeding the playoffs by record, further complicating the wild card. This has long been a topic of debate, especially since the 7-9 Seattle Seahawks hosted and defeated the 11-5 New Orleans Saints in the 2010 postseason. Many felt that the Saints deserved the home playoff game and that the Seahawks did not even have a place in the postseason (they had the best record in the NFC West at the time).

The fact that the NFL could expand the playoffs should not come as a surprise. Even though this move would make the playoffs less prestigious, it would create two additional playoff games for the NFL to make money. After all, the NFL is a business.

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