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NFL confirm expansion of post-season to 14 teams

Richie McCormack
Richie McCormack

19:38 31 Mar 2020

NFL owners have agreed to expanding the playoffs from 12 to 14 teams beginning from this year. 

The decision came via a videoconference which took place instead of the usual NFL Annual League Meeting, which was cancelled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It's the first time since 1990 that the number of teams allowed passage to the post-season has increased, and the expansion required 24 of the 32 NFL owners to agree.

NFL.com say the new format will see "AFC and NFC Wild Card games will feature the 2 seed hosting the 7 seed, the 3 seed hosting the 6 seed and the 4 seed hosting the 5 seed."

They say, "Adding an additional playoff team in each conference means only the No.1 seeds in the AFC and NFC will earn a postseason bye, a massive advantage to the top club each year."

The expansion is also giving the NFL the chance to aim the game at a younger audience.

While the broadcast rights in the US for the additional wild card games will be split between NBC and CBS, it's been confirmed that Nickelodeon will air "a separately produced telecast" tailored for a younger audience.

Voting on other alterations for the 2020 season - including potential rule changes - is due to take place in mid-May.

Speaking about the expansion in a conference call, NFL executive Jeff Pash says their "expectation is fully directed at playing a full season and starting on schedule", despite the coronavirus pandemic shutting down sport pretty much worldwide.

Pash says they hope to release their 2020 schedule no later than May 9, and that international games will continue to be part of that schedule.

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