Though nothing is imminent, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told ESPN at the spring owners meeting in Boston that both issues are currently being discussed.
Two games would be shaved off the preseason, and the regular season would become 18 games. The specifics about extended playoffs were not mentioned.
Frankly, the NFL should just keep things the way they are. The current 16-game schedule is plenty, and adding two more games would just be a ploy to make more money.
The players likely wouldn’t be in favor of that change since two more competitive games increases the risk of injury. Of course, injuries can happen even in the preseason, but these games are generally less intense.
As far as the playoffs, the NFL in my opinion has the best postseason structure right now. Only 12 of the 32 teams make the playoffs, and the top seeded teams are awarded with a bye and home-field advantage. The whole process from wild card weekend to the Super Bowl takes five weeks.
In basketball and hockey, 16 of the 30 teams – more than half – make the playoffs. And then the playoffs go on for a few months, which is way too long.
It should be a privilege to earn a postseason berth. In some cases, an NBA or NHL team will have a record at or under .500 and still make the playoffs. Though that has also happened in the NFl, it’s much less rare than the other two sports.
Baseball had a decent system before implementing the play-in game last year. Unlike football, one game of baseball is not enough to decide a playoff outcome. The old system with the three division winners and one wild card worked fine.
So if the NFL expanded its playoffs, what would it be? Would four teams from each conference make the playoffs for a total of eight teams? That would eliminate the coveted first-round bye for the top two teams.
I understand that the NFL is a money-making entity, but right now it makes the most money of any of the major sports. So why are the owners always looking for a change?
The NFL’s schedule and playoff structure are still the best system going right now, so “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
Follow Jim Mancari on Twitter @JMMancari.