Reports: NFL Owners approve expanding playoff field to 14 teams
The NFL has officially passed its newly proposed playoff format. According to sources, league owners approved expanding the NFL playoff field to 14 teams from 12 starting this season. The decision reportedly came during a conference call yesterday that was held in place of the NFL’s Annual League Meeting.
In the new playoff format, the top seed in the AFC and the NFC will both have a bye during the first week of the postseason. Meanwhile, the number two seed will host the number seven seed, the number three seed will host the number six seed, and the number four seed will host the number five seed.
Under the new format, the NFL will now play three games on Saturday, January 9th, 2021 and three games on Sunday, January 10th, 2021. The league also said that one of the games broadcast on CBS will also be shown on Nickelodeon simultaneously as a completely separate telecast that is tailored to a younger audience.
The new playoff formatting means that 43.7% of all NFL teams will qualify for the postseason, which is the second lowest mark in the big four North American professional sports leagues. Only the MLB has lower playoff representation, with 33.3% of all teams reaching the postseason.
The NFL will continue to vote on other potential reforms throughout the off-season, including possible rules changes. Those votes are currently expected to take place at a league meeting which is scheduled for mid-May, according to Judy Battista of the NFL Network.