NFL playoffs to expand under proposed labor deal: Report

Thomas Barrabi
Fox Business

The 2020 NFL season will feature an expanded playoff format if league owners and player union representatives can finalize talks on a labor agreement in the coming days, according to a report Wednesday.

Under the proposal, seven teams from each conference would make the playoffs each season, up from six teams per conference during the existing postseason system, ESPN reported citing league sources.

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"That's been agreed to for a long time," a source familiar with the matter told ESPN. "There wasn't a lot of disagreement to that issue."

The NFL’s wild-card playoff weekend would expand to six games, up from four. Just one team would receive a “bye” week to begin the playoffs, rather than two in the current format.

If the talks yield a finalized collective-bargaining agreement before the start of the 2020 season, the proposed playoff format would take effect immediately.

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The possibility of adjustments to the NFL postseason is just one of several major points of contention in the talks.

NFL owners support expansion to a 17-game regular season, up from the current 16-game structure, as well as a shortened preseason. Players have long opposed the notion of a longer regular season, citing the potential impact to health and safety.

The longer regular season is still up for debate, according to ESPN. If approved, it would not be implemented until 2021 or later.

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Details have yet to emerge on how the adjustment to regular season and playoff schedules will affect the split of league revenue between players and owners. At present, players receive 47 percent of league revenue.

NFL owners are set to meet in New York on Thursday to discuss the state of negotiations, NFL Network reported. Player representatives will speak by conference call on Friday. Talks could conclude by as early as next week.

The NFL’s current collective-bargaining agreement expires after the 2020 season.

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