We’ve been hearing about the NFL’s proposals to expand the postseason for quite some time, but it appears to be getting closer to reality. Commissioner Roger Goodell told the Associated Press Sports Editors that team owners will discuss expansion to 14 teams either for the upcoming season or in 2015. A vote could come in the next owners meeting in May. If a vote is tabled next month, then Goodell would target the 2015 season for playoff expansion when the owners meet again either in October or March.
Goodell told the APSE: “We want to make sure we do it in the right way.”
The whole issue is whether the NFL wants to add two more teams or perhaps go to 16 teams where it would have eight teams per conference and no byes. Also, the NFL Players Association has to sign off on any expanded playoff proposal, but it appears this is an idea that is on the fast track to approval whether it be for the upcoming season or in 2015.
Based on the ESPN $100 million per year price tag for one Wild Card game starting this upcoming season, the NFL would likely begin any bidding for the new playoff games at $100 million minimum and go from there. The conventional thinking is that CBS and Fox would be favorites to get the new Wild Card games, but the NFL would likely go with the highest bidder. NBC and ESPN would love to pick up additional postseason games to add to their current portfolios.
No matter which network airs the new playoff games, the NFL will be the ultimate winner as the ratings will be high and the networks will pay a mint, potentially over $200 million to gain the rights for the additional Wild Card Playoff games.