For several years rumors have circulated that the NFL was going to expand the playoffs from 12 teams to 14. On Tuesday NFL commissioner Roger Goodell confirmed that the postseason would not be expanded for the 2014 season, but that it was likely to happen in 2015.
The owners clearly want to expand the playoffs, but the NFLPA is against the idea, particularly because the league has yet to address workers compensation issues. But when the league sets its sights on a way to expand revenue it almost never abandons it.
The new system starting in 2015 would see just one team in each league earning a first-round bye, while creating three wild card games for each conference. That could lead to a diluted first round. It would also likely prevent a team like the 2013 Arizona Cardinals (10-6) from missing the playoffs, but could also mean more 8-8 and 7-9 teams playing in the postseason.
Other than the increase in revenue from having an extra playoff game in each conference, there is no reason for the NFL to change its postseason. Sure, more football is always a good thing for fans, but at the same time, the potential friction it could develop between the league and the players is a worry.
Goodell and the owners have their hearts set on expanding the playoffs, the trade-off for getting it done will likely be giving concessions on workers compensation issues and also putting off any talk of an 18-game regular season for a long time.