Report: NFL tables expanded postseason vote, but 14-team field feels inevitable

Eric Edholm

NFL owners discussed expanding the playoff field from 12 to 14 teams at the owners meetings, which are going on in Atlanta, but ultimately tabled the discussion until the fall, according to ESPN.com.

The league's fall meeting is slated for Oct. 7 and 8 in Detroit. Twenty-four of the 32 NFL owners would need to vote in favor of the expansion for it to occur.

The topic of playoff expansion has become one that has grown in volume in league circles, and it appears that the league and some team owners are in favor of it — and the TV revenue it would bring in — but that the players' union is not at this point.

There are still a lot of logistical and legal ramifications that would come along with adding two playoff teams. It would alter the format of the playoffs and change the revenue flow. It also would anger the NFL Players Association, which has sent out a strong message that it would try to block any potential playoff expansion as it fights over workers compensation benefits and legislation in Louisiana.

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said previously that he doesn't believe that the owners need the union's approval on playoff expansion, but NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith told USA Today's Tom Pelissero that adding playoff teams would be tantamount to altering work conditions — a violation of the collective bargaining agreement in Smith's eyes.

"Under the CBA, all changes in player working conditions, such as expanding the number of games played, requires negotiation with the players," Smith said.

That said, the NFL appears only to be pushing back the inevitable from happening eventually. Jones said Tuesday that he considered the matter to be an issue of "when" not of "if."

"The 'when' is a substantive matter," Jones told USA Today. "If you really look at the dynamics, the gravity of what's at stake, the benefit to the players, the teams that wouldn't be in the playoffs and the fans, there really is no pushback. I know there is a lot of enthusiasm for it."

You'd think that the 2014 season would be off the table, with the next vote likely to come in the fall — even the NFL owners aren't crazy or greedy enough to try to change the playoff format within a season. But for 2015? Get ready for more 8-8 type of teams — such as Jones' Cowboys, yee-haw! — being in the playoff hunt.

NFLPA's incentive to agree to expanded playoffs: