NFL playoffs

NFL officially expands playoff format in time for 2020 playoffs

NFL officially expands playoff format in time for 2020 playoffs

The NFL has officially expanded its playoff format to 14 teams in time for the 2020 season. 

Starting with this upcoming season, the playoff field will expand from 12 to 14 teams, allowing one more wild-card team from each conference. 

Here are a few of the major points of this new format: 

• The AFC and NFC will each have seven playoff teams, but just the top seed from each conference will have a first-round bye in the playoffs. 

• In wild-card weekend, the other 12 teams will play — the No. 2 seeds will host 7s, the No. 3 seeds will host 6s and the No. 4 seeds will host 5s. 

• For this upcoming season, wild-card weekend will have three games on Saturday, Jan. 9 and three games on Sunday, Jan. 10. 

• One of the additional wild-card games will be on CBS on Jan. 10 at 4:40 p.m. The other will be on NBC on Jan. 10 at 8:15 p.m.

This is the NFL’s first expansion of the playoff format since the 1990 season, when the field went from 10 to 12. 

The Eagles made the playoffs as a division winner with a 9-7 record in 2019 and that would still be an option with this new format. This change simply adds another playoff team in each conference. In the 2019 NFC that would have been the 9-7 Rams. 

If you’re looking for a recent example in Eagles history of how this new format would’ve helped, look back at the 2014 season. The Eagles finished with a 10-6 record in Chip Kelly’s second season but missed the postseason. If this format was around, they would have been the third wild-card team after the 11-win Lions and Cardinals. 

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NFL playoff format: Football on the brink of bizarre postseason restructure

NFL playoff format: Football on the brink of bizarre postseason restructure

Only one team from each conference will receive a first-round playoff bye under terms of an NFL playoff restructure written into the proposed new collective bargaining agreement that's currently being negotiated.

The new playoff system, with 14 teams in the postseason instead of 12 and only one first-round bye per conference instead of two, is expected to be implemented this coming season.

That blockbuster news comes from ESPN's Adam Schefter, who reports that the NFL management council, representing the owners, and the NFLPA, representing the players, both expect the new CBA to be ratified in the coming weeks.

The current CBA expires after the 2020 season.

Schefter quoted an unnamed source as saying both sides had already agreed on several parts of the new CBA, including the playoff restructure.

Under the new postseason alignment, seven teams from each conference would make the playoffs instead of six, and six of those seven would play on wild-card weekend. So instead of four games the first postseason weekend there would be six, with the No. 2 seed from each conference hosting the 7 seed, No. 3 hosting No. 6 and No. 4 hosting No. 5.

The next weekend, the one team from each conference that earned a bye would face the lowest remaining seed and the highest seed that won on wild-card weekend would host the remaining team.

This system eliminates the benefit teams get for earning the No. 2 seed, relegating them to wild-card weekend. So instead of needing to win two games to reach the Super Bowl, No. 2 seeds would now need to win three.

The restructuring gives the No. 1 seed a huge advantage as the only team to get wild-card weekend off.  The last 14 Super Bowl teams have all had a first-round bye. The last wild-card team to reach a Super Bowl was the 2012 Ravens.

Since the NFL instituted the postseason seeding system in 1975, 26 percent of Super Bowl teams (23 of 90) have been No. 2 seeds. Expect that number to plummet under this new format.

The current NFL playoff structure has been in use since 1990, when the league went from 10 teams in each conference in the postseason to 12.

There was no explanation in Schefter's story why the NFL and the NFLPA would want to change the current postseason structure.

Along with the expanded playoff structure the CBA also calls for the NFL to change from a 16- to a 17-game season, although according to Schefter that wouldn’t be instituted until 2021 at the earliest.

He wrote that the NFLPA has not yet agreed to the 17-game season.

As part of that change, one of four preseason games would be eliminated.

According to Schefter, the proposed CBA that both sides are considering increases player revenue from 47 percent to 48 percent and that figure would increase to 48.5 percent if the NFLPA agrees to a 17-game season.

That would increase total player revenues by a total of about $5 billion, according to Schefter, presumably over the life of the CBA.

The current CBA went into effect in 2011 and runs through 2020, but Schefter indicated that officials on both sides believe an agreement on a new deal could come as early as the next few weeks.

It’s been 33 years since labor strife has cost the NFL regular-season games.

The NFL had two strikes in the 1980s. The 1982 season was reduced to nine games because of a two-month player strike, and the 1987 season was reduced to 15 games, three of which were played by replacement players.

There was a 4 1/2-month-long lockout prior to the CBA agreement in 2011, but that was resolved days before training camps were scheduled to start.

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NFL’s former VP of officiating calls Clowney hit ‘a cheap shot'

NFL’s former VP of officiating calls Clowney hit ‘a cheap shot'

If you think the Jadeveon Clowney hit that knocked Carson Wentz out of the Eagles’ playoff game on Sunday was a cheap shot, you’re not alone. 

FOX rules analyst and former NFL VP of Officiating Mike Pereira was on 94WIP on Tuesday and he agrees with you. 

Here’s what Pereira said about the play: 

I think it was a cheap shot. And the reason that I base it on that is on regular speed video and not slow motion. … I mean, he takes a shot. Listen, I don’t think Clowney tried to hurt anybody but I do think he tried to punish him. That was my opinion of the play. Needlessly punish him. 

And for those who don’t think it was cheap, then I would say I respect your opinion, but do me a favor and go back and look at it in real time, the live shot, which seldom do the networks go back and show. Some of them don’t even record the original line feed. But go back and look at that and tell me it was not necessary. To me, unnecessary equates to cheap. That’s my view on the play. 

Pereira said he thinks the play should have resulted in a 15-yard penalty for hitting a defenseless player. 

He explained that, sure, Wentz loses certain protections as a quarterback when he becomes a runner. But Pereira argued that Wentz was going to the ground when Clowney hit him and Wentz was “absolutely” defenseless at that point. 

“I mean, Wentz is heading to the ground, he actually hit the ground about the same time as the contact occurs,” Pereira said. “You could look at it and say, you could make it somewhat similar to a quarterback giving himself up. The defender, talking about Clowney here, is beginning to start to make the tackle. And so you can say if he hit him in the body, if he hit him in the back, he would be OK. But as a defenseless player, since he’s on his way to the ground or on the ground, you have to stay away from the head or neck area.”

NFL Network on Tuesday reported that the league won’t suspend Clowney for the hit but is looking into the possibility of a fine.

Pereira is very interested to see if the NFL fines Clowney but thinks there’s a good chance it doesn’t because the refs are already on record saying it shouldn’t have been a penalty. 

Referee Shawn Smith told a pool reporter after the game there was not a penalty called because they deemed the contact “incidental.”

Pereira on Tuesday wasn’t buying that. He called the hit “unnecessary and forceful.” 

You can listen to the full interview here: 

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