By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
As first reported by Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, the league approved via teleconference on Tuesday that it has approved an expanded playoff format to begin immediately for the 2020 season.
The important parts: each conference will now field seven playoff teams, with only one getting a first-round bye. The other six will play each other in three Wild Card games per conference on the first Saturday and Sunday of the 2020 playoffs.
If the format were in place for the 2019 playoffs, this means the Pittsburgh Steelers would have made it in and visited the Kansas City Chiefs in the wild card round, significantly altering the road for the eventual Super Bowl LIV champions. In the NFC, the Los Angeles Rams would have snuck in at 9-7 and faced the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field.
Speaking of records, this ruling will inevitably lead to squawking around here about the league adding "bad" teams to the NFL Playoffs. It's partly a product of how the Patriots have warped everyone's sense of a "good" and "bad" team. The Steelers and Rams were not bad teams. Mediocre, you have an argument.
Rapoport himself supports the idea, and has data to back it up. If the new format had been in place since 1990, just 1.6 percent of playoff teams would have had losing records and many 10-6 teams would have made it in instead of bubbling out.
Ultimately, more football is better than no football. There's still the specter of the COVID-19 pandemic and the threat it will inevitably pose to the NFL starting the 2020 season on time. But if America loses the other major sports for the summer and the NFL comes back on time as the only game in town, you'll be begging for as much football as possible.
Wonder how those people who complained about more football feel about it now.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at [email protected].