The NFL is close to adding two more teams to its playoff format, expanding the postseason bracket to 14 teams. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones described the change as inevitable Monday, telling reporters that it is matter of "when and not if." He argued that the addition of two more wild card teams would add more excitement to the NFL postseason.
Not every owner is in favor of the potential change, however. For example, John Mara of the New York Giants is against the addition of playoff teams, according to ESPN's Sal Paolantonio. Still, Mara admitted that he is in the minority among owners, furthering the belief that there is enough owner support to pass a proposal.
Jones echoed this sentiment when gauging the likelihood of the owners eventually passing the motion. Via Newsday:
"I think it's more a question of timing, but I do get a real good feeling that at some point, we'll have additional playoff [teams]," Jones said Monday afternoon. "I know we're going to discuss it here. It makes a lot of sense for the NFL. We all know some of the arguing points, but our game is so popular, our league is so equal in terms of how teams compete. I don't think there's anything watered down with two additional teams that would be in the playoffs."
According to Mark Maske of the Washington Post, that vote likely won't come during this week's owners meeting in Atlanta. Even if a vote is passed, the NFL might have its hands full pushing for the change without first receiving the approval of the NFL Players Association.
While Jones told Bob Glauber of Newsday that he doesn't believe the NFL requires NFLPA approval on the matter, NFLPA spokesperson George Atallah said that isn't the case:
NFLPA spokesman George Atallah said the league has yet to submit a plan to the NFLPA for expanded playoffs. Asked if the owners agreeing to add two playoffs teams would require approval from the union, Atallah said, "It would definitely be a topic for [collective] bargaining, no question."
If approved, the NFL would add an additional playoff team from each conference, upping the total teams from 12 to 14. The additional team would be a third wild card selection, which would have been the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC and Arizona Cardinals in the NFC this past season. The change would also mean that just one team from each conference would earn a bye in the first round -- the current format allows two.