The National Football League is thinking about expanding its playoff field, according to Mark Maske of the Washington Post. This has long been talked about within the league but apparently is picking up momentum. Nothing would change until 2015 at the earliest.
Under the current proposal, each conference would have an extra playoff team added, bringing the total to 14. In that structure, only one team in the AFC and NFC would get a first-round bye, and the other 12 teams would all play on the playoffs' opening weekend.
Once the Divisional round was set, it would be the same format as it is now. Four teams in each conference would remain, left to battle for a chance at Super Bowl glory. Had the proposed structure been in place for the 2013 season, things would have looked much different.
For example, the Arizona Cardinals and Pittsburgh Steelers both would have made the playoffs as the respective No. 7 seeds in their conferences. Instead of having bye weeks during the Wild Card round, the New England Patriots and Carolina Panthers would have been playing the Steelers and Cardinals.
The NFL has not changed the playoff format since 1990, when the league added two additional teams to the fold.