The NFL postseason is on the verge of evolving (and expanding).
Here’s what ESPN’s Adam Schefter has heard:
Details of the NFL’s new playoff structure that will take effect this season if the new CBA is approved in the coming weeks, sources tell ESPN:https://t.co/1eeUzVIbyB
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 19, 2020
Schefter reports a 14-team playoff format has been proposed in the new CBA. This would represent the first re-structuring of the playoffs since 1990 when the NFL implemented a 12-team format that included two Wild-Card teams and both of the conference’s top teams getting byes. In the re-vamped format, a seventh team would be added to each conference, while each conference’s top team would receive a bye week.
Had this format been in play in 2019, the Bears still would have been on the outside looking in to the playoff picture. Darn! Instead, the Rams (NFC) and Steelers (AFC) would have made the postseason in the newly created spots. Meanwhile the Packers and Chiefs would not have received bye weeks. So, yeah, that’s a pretty significant change.
Additionally, this reported proposal includes a 17-game regular season and a preseason that is cut to three games. That’s a bit of a give and take, though. An 18-game regular season was seen a non-starter for the players for quite some time, does a 17-game season that comes with a three-game preseason and expanded postseason move the meter?
As for getting the new CBA done, Schefter seems cautiously optimistic and notes there is a sense of optimism that a deal could be agreed upon in the next week. Long-time NFL reporter Peter King tweeted owners and other important executives are en route to New York, adding that one he talked to said he doubted they would be getting called into New York without a deal that could get approved. NFL Network insider Mike Silver hears similarly, reporting “significant progress has been made” en route to getting a new deal done. But that 17-game regular season still seems to be a stickler in the grand scheme of things.
With the new league year approaching, both sides have reasons to get the next CBA done. Perhaps all parties are moving in the right direction now.