This week news broke that the NFL could expand its playoff scenario as quickly as next season, news that will make any football fan excited. I mean on the face right there before we even hear the rules, more playoff football is ALWAYS a good thing, right?
According to the one and only Schefty, the current CBA proposal has seven teams from each conference making the playoffs instead of six, with only one team getting a first round bye per conference. Love it from the start.
This would also call for the NFL Season to be increased to 17 games, shortening the preseason to just 3 games. This is the only part I really see a question about due to the already grueling schedule NFL franchise go through with the addition of Thursday, Sunday and Monday Night football.
If you think about the layout of the current preseason games, the first two games traditionally are the try outs to make it past cuts. Backups, walkons and recent draft picks get shots with the occasional starter getting a play here or there. Game three is the dress rehearsal, where the starting roster normally gets a half or more to go out and practice real game time management. The fourth game, my personal favorite, is the do or die game. Players try to make plays and prove they are worthy of making the final roster.
With the removal of a preseason game, it makes you wonder which of these would most likely be removed. For me, it would be preseason game 2, leaving us with a dress rehearsal and a cut down game still.
I have to admit, only one first round bye sounds magically amazing to me. It’s not that I don’t believe the second team deserves a bye, but it makes that number 1 seed so much more important, leading to more impactful games later on in the season. Additionally, teams that receive the first round bye will get their postseason pay for the week adding to the incentives for that bye.
Although the new CBA isn’t officially done, this playoff format is enticing, especially considering the added weight to the first round bye. My only initial concern is that NFL players already are challenged with a quick turnover for NFL games. Adding in another competitive type game could have some backlash from NFL stars.
Personally, as a Pittsburgh Steelers fan who has been saddened by missing the playoffs by one spot every year since we landed on the moon, I love these changes. Keep em coming, because we know Goodell isn’t going to think of these on his own.