NFL considers expanding playoff format, cutting preseason to 3 games

Allison Joyce

More reports are coming in on Sunday that the league is looking to have fewer games that don't count and more games where everything matters.

ESPN's Chris Mortensen is reporting that the NFL is considering expanding the playoffs to a 14-team format and reducing the preseason from four games to three. The current system has 12 teams making the playoffs with the eight division winners and four wild card berths. Teams play four preseason games the way it is presently set, but concerns of injuries and waning fan interest have brought up the possibility of reducing the exhibition season many times in recent years.

It was been reported for awhile now that the league has been considering expanding the regular season to 18 games and commissioner Roger Goodell addressed the issue of an expanded playoff format and fewer preseason games this past May:

"As I have said before, I think the structure of the season is something that we consistently reevaluate," he said. "I have been quite open about [indicating that] we have to address the quality of the preseason.

"I hear from fans consistently that they want to make every NFL event more valuable. They see the preseason as being less valuable to them because they don't see the best players and the games do not count," he said. "We have to address that, whether we are looking at 18 [regular-season games] and two [preseason games] or 16-and-two and expanded playoffs."

Goodell said this week that the current competitiveness of the league may be begging for more teams to have a chance to win the title:

"With the competitiveness of the league, you see teams get hot the second half of season, a reasonable argument could be made that there are teams that should qualify for the playoffs and don’t and could win the Super Bowl," Goodell said. "I don’t think we want to expand just to have more teams. We want to create more excitement, more interest and give teams a chance to win the Super Bowl."

Not much else is known at this time about the likelihood of these changes or when they would occur, but it appears as though it wouldn't happen before the 2015 season, based on reports from Goodell.

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