Commissioner Roger Goodell said Wednesday that the league would spend the next several months exploring playoff expansion. Instead of 12 teams, the league will consider including 14 or 16 in the postseason, Goodell said.
Yes, we all know why they have decided to go exploring this subject — putting more teams in the playoffs would give the league an opportunity to add more revenue — but has any NFL fan sat down to a watch a playoff game in the past few years and said to themselves “This is great and all, but why are there not more teams involved?"
Maybe those folks that feel passionate about playoff expansion are out there. I do not happen to be one of them.
In fact, the wild-card round of the playoffs has presented more clunkers than thrilling games in recent years. Three of the four wild-card round games last season were decided by 17 or more points.
Since 2002, when the league realigned to eight four-team divisions and adopted its current playoff format with two wild-card teams from each conference, more than half (23-of-40) of the wild-card round playoff games have been decided by 10 or more points.
More than a quarter (12-of-40) of the wild-card games have been decided by 20 or more points since ’02.
If anything, this shows too many teams are making it into the playoffs. Each year, at least one, and usually at least two, of the playoff teams prove to not be of the same caliber as its opponent.
There are some big, serious issues confronting the NFL right now that deserve even more of the league’s attention, with player safety at the top of list. The playoff format is not one that should even be on its radar, though, and for the league to waste time exploring the subject would be unfortunate.