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Expanded Playoffs approved - 14 to 16 teams IF games are cancelled


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Come 2031, the 16-team playoff needs to be permanent. The first-round bye is now too much of a competitive advantage.

One thing that cannot wait until 2031 is the removal of seeding priority for division winners. It needs to happen next year. Right now the first place team in the NFC East has a lower winning percentage than that last place team in the NFC West - and the latter team isn't currently in playoff positioning. Without seeding priority for division winners, the Eagles would currently have the #7 seed in the NFC, and have to open the playoffs in one of the toughest home environments in Seattle.

Furthermore, I feel that a division winner with a weak (9 wins or fewer) record going on to win the Super Bowl would be a more believable Cinderella story if they did not have a home playoff game along the way.

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A 16-team playoff would keep all its games on weekends by implementing a reverse mirror for early afternoon games in the first round.

The 1 PM slots on Saturday and Sunday would feature two games split regionally between CBS affiliates for AFC playoff games and Fox affiliates for NFC playoff games. Only games taking place in the Eastern or Central Time Zones could appear in the slot. In a given market, the 1 PM game not airing locally on the CBS or Fox affiliate would air in the market on an affiliated cable network - Paramount Movie Network (wider distribution than CBS Sports Network) for AFC games on CBS and Fox Sports 1 for NFC games on Fox. Markets with a rooting interest in one team (including inevitably, official primary and secondary markets for a team in question) would air that team's game on the local CBS or Fox affiliate.

The reverse mirror could be implemented in the regular season as early as 2023, in tandem with completely eliminating the "no opposing games" rule, allowing additional CBS and Fox games to be carried in local markets every week through the aforementioned cable networks. In cases where 3 or more games are still planned for a time slot (counting singleheaders as a single time slot), Sunday Ticket would still be needed. Thus, a local market could see up to 6 (8 in week 17) Sunday afternoon games air locally in the market without the need for Sunday Ticket to see these games.

Edited by pf9
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I think it’s smart. Extending the league an additional week or two just isn’t a good idea. It only adds the possibility for increased exposure... you know, because the league has an even longer season. Plus what about the teams that are finished playing? They essentially all get a bye week. Which isn’t bad, it means all such teams will be more fired up for the playoffs which equal a better product... but the downside is also true, leads to a competitive disadvantage for teams not receiving such, but more importantly... bye weeks only add increased opportunity for NFL players to be exposed outside the building and then bring it in. Sort of defying the point of the added week.

With this plan at least, if the season is FORCED to abruptly end, teams that already put in the work this season will be rewarded, while also not completely ruling out all the teams that would’ve finished just short with reduced games, that could’ve closed out strong to make the playoffs.

I’m sure they only do this if the league can only make it through like 12-14 weeks or something before closing down for a couple weeks due to high exposure. They might then just form mini team bubbles and go with this idea of a 16 team playoffs. I think it makes sense revenue wise, while also keeping the season shorter, so as to keep the exposure period for the team personnel/players shorter.

Edited by diamondbull424
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