N.F.L. Owners Propose Adding Two Teams to Playoff Format

Written by on February 19, 2020

The N.F.L. playoffs may broaden to incorporate two additional groups as quickly as this coming season beneath a proposed labor settlement now being reviewed by the house owners and gamers, in line with a league official who wasn’t licensed to talk publicly.

Within the new playoff construction, a seventh crew from every convention would qualify for the postseason. Solely the highest seed from every convention would obtain a bye the primary weekend of the playoffs; the highest two seeds obtain byes at present.

On that first weekend, the subsequent six groups in every convention would face one another, versus 4 groups now. The N.F.L. has performed a 16-game schedule since 1978 and has had a 12-team playoff format since 1990.

The brand new format is only one of many proposals included within the collective bargaining settlement negotiations between the gamers and house owners that might revamp the N.F.L. season. Different proposals embody reviewing the construction of coaching camps; reviewing the variety of padded practices in the course of the season; and eliminating one preseason recreation and including a 17th common season recreation instead.

Together with two extra playoff groups may result in extra fan curiosity later within the season and to postseason bonuses for a larger variety of gamers. Thanks partially to the bye week they obtain, the proportion of No. 1 and No. 2 seeds that make it to the Tremendous Bowl is excessive. Lowering byes would presumably give extra lower-seeded golf equipment higher probabilities of reaching the championship recreation.

The N.F.L.’s tv companions would additionally profit from with the ability to broadcast two additional postseason video games, that are among the many most-watched TV programs yearly.

Whereas many gamers could savor the elevated odds of qualifying for the postseason, some have said they oppose including a 17th common season recreation as a result of doing so would elevate the chance of damage. The extra recreation has became a significant sticking level in negotiations between the N.F.L. and the N.F.L. Gamers Affiliation, which started a couple of 12 months in the past.

Although the present 10-year labor settlement doesn’t finish till March 2021, the house owners are pushing for a brand new settlement earlier than the present league calendar 12 months ends on March 18. Implementing a deal in the course of a league 12 months is tough as a result of newly negotiated phrases like minimal salaries must be prorated.

The house owners additionally need to safe a labor deal as quickly as potential so the league can start negotiations with tv networks, whose personal rights offers expire within the subsequent couple of years.

About half of the league’s income comes from broadcast rights, and the bidding for these rights is anticipated to be sturdy. The worth of the printed rights ought to improve with new streaming rights and, if the house owners have their approach, a rising variety of common season and playoff video games.

To push the present proposed labor settlement over the end line, the house owners have known as a particular assembly on Thursday in New York, the place they may obtain an replace on the standing of talks with the union. On Friday, union representatives from every of the 32 groups will meet by way of convention name to proceed to hash out their variations.

The union’s 11 government committee members, lots of whom had been against a 17-game season a number of weeks in the past, must vote to advocate this deal to the 32 crew representatives for it to maneuver ahead. These representatives would then need to approve a deal by a two-thirds majority earlier than it might be despatched to all N.F.L. gamers for approval. For a deal to be finalized earlier than the tip of the present league 12 months, the 32 crew representatives would want to vote on a proposal by subsequent week to have sufficient time to place the settlement to the total membership for a vote.

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