The NFL reportedly is considering a contingency plan that would expand the postseason field in the event that regular-season games are lost to the pandemic. That’s not the end of the analysis, however.
Even if the NFL’s owners decide to approve a 16-team playoff field, the NFL Players Association would have to agree to any expansion of the playoff field. It’s a subject of mandatory bargaining, and the agreement from earlier this year to expand the playoff field from 12 to 14 teams did not include an agreement to expand the postseason any farther than that.
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the union would be inclined to seriously consider the possibility, based on the number of games lost to the pandemic and the revenue generated by the two extra playoff games. The union also could request (and this is speculation, not reporting) a commitment to pay all or part of the wages lost by the players who lose paychecks to canceled or suspended regular-season games. Under the pending arrangement between the NFL and NFLPA, the players would not get paid for those games not played. (There’s an open question as to whether players would be played for forfeited games.)
Regardless, the union will have a voice in any type of on-the-fly expansion to the postseason. Hopefully it won’t come to that. Hopefully, all 256 games of the regular season will be played.
NFLPA would have to agree to 16-team playoff field originally appeared on Pro Football Talk