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NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell recently told Peter King of Sports Illustrated's TheMMQB.com that talk of expanding the league's playoffs from 12 to 14 teams has not stopped, despite the overwhelming thought that it had. The playoffs were originally supposed to expand in 2015 and have not. There is no talk of expanding them for the upcoming season.

Per Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk:

“I don’t think it’s cooled at all,” Goodell said. “There are a lot of factors that go into it. One, we want to be right when we do it. . . . It’s something that we think has got a lot of merit from a competitive side, because it would actually add more teams to the race as you get toward the end of the season. There’s the broadcasting side of it. When would you play that extra game?”

No word on how the games would be spaced out in terms of scheduling, but here's an interesting bit from the article that probably went over many people's heads.

Scheduling of that one extra game per conference, where the No. 2 seed would face the No. 7 seed, also becomes a challenge, as Steelers owner Art Rooney II recently noted. Bumping a game to Monday night of wild-card weekend gives the winner limited rest for the divisional round — and it creates a potential conflict with the NCAA title game.

“We’re respectful of college football,” Goodell said of the NFL’s free farm system.

Goodell mentioned another complication that we (or at least I) hadn’t previously considered. The No. 2 seed could, in theory, end up playing home games for five straight weekends. If, for example, the team that emerges as the second best team in the conference finishes with back-to-back regular-season home games, hosts the No. 7 seed and wins in the wild-card round, hosts the divisional round and wins, and then if the No. 1 seed loses in the divisional round (which happens nearly half the time), the No. 2 seed would be looking at five home games in five weekends.

“If you have a northern climate, that’s a lot to ask of your fans,” Goodell said. “So we have a lot to balance.”

After giving it some thought, I think I would rather not see the playoffs expand. Instead, the NFL should tweak the format it has in place.

I don't think it's fair to see a team go 10-6 (this year's Philadelphia Eagles) or 11-5 (2008 Patriots) and still miss the big dance, when teams with those records are clearly more deserving to be playing for a championship than a 7-9 team like the Panthers this year.

With that being said, I think the best thing to do would be to just have six teams with the best overall records in their respective conferences make it. That would likely give those 10-6/11-5 teams more of a chance and would still keep it to 12 teams overall. It would also put less of an emphasis on winning a division, which I really don't think means that much anymore.

What do you think? Lets debate. Follow me on Twitter - @JesseGaunce

For more of my articles, click here.

Jesse Gaunce 3/23/2015 12:51:00 PM Edit
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