At least for the 2014 season, the number of teams in the NFL playoffs is going to stay at 12. For 2015 and beyond, however, it's highly likely that 14 teams will make the playoffs. Talks on playoff expansion have been tabled until an October owners meeting in Detroit, but all signs point to the field expanding by one team per conference at some point in the near future.
Why exactly does the NFL want to expand the playoffs? Money, quite simply. Two additional playoff games each season would give the NFL another big payday, just like the new Thursday night package did this year. The NFL is already basically printing money at this point, but an extra pair of playoff games would be extremely lucrative for the league.
Simply from an on-the-field standpoint, expanding the playoffs does actually make some sense. The No. 2 seeds wouldn't get a bye, putting even more importance on getting the top seed in each conference. What's more, adding in a No. 7 seed on each side of the bracket wouldn't dramatically affect the quality of the field of teams. In recent memory, there actually hasn't much of a difference between the No. 4 seeds and the teams that would have been the No. 7 seeds, according to ESPN. In other words, expanding the field would reward teams that are typically on the same level as the No. 4 seeds.
On the flip side, there are concerns that adding more teams will ultimately oversaturate the playoffs and the NFL in general. If you can comfortably slide into a playoff spot at 8-8, for example, perhaps there won't be as many intriguing playoff battles down the stretch. At the same time, perhaps including more teams will lead to people downplaying the importance of the first round of the playoffs, which in turn could lead to a decrease in interest.
Personally, I'm for the idea of playoff expansion. I don't think two extra teams will have an overall negative effect on the playoffs, and in the long run, more teams being in playoff contention should create more interest in the NFL. What's more, considering the Detroit Lions have been to the playoffs only once in the last 14 seasons, I'm all for increasing the chances of them making it to the postseason more often.
What do you think? Is playoff expansion a good idea or a bad one?