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NFL clubs approve expansion of postseason; number of playoff teams increases to 14

Players and clubs both recognized that nothing energizes fans like the chance to see their team qualify for the playoffs and compete for the Super Bowl.
Credit: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
The NFL logo is displayed on the turf as the Denver Broncos defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 24-17 at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on September 14, 2014 in Denver, Colorado.

NFL clubs voted unanimously Tuesday to expand the postseason by two teams beginning with the 2020 season.

Expanding the NFL postseason was addressed in the new NFL-NFLPA Collective Bargaining Agreement. Players and clubs both recognized that nothing energizes fans like the chance to see their team qualify for the playoffs and compete for the Super Bowl.

Today’s vote during a league meeting held remotely follows the recommendation of the Competition Committee, Management Council Executive Committee and Media Committee on increasing the number of playoff teams from 12 to 14.

According to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero, the NFL also announced, on a conference call, they expect to release the 2020 regular season schedule "no later than May 9."

EXPANDED PLAYOFFS 

Two additional Wild Card teams – one each in the American and National Football Conferences – will qualify for the playoffs. The No. 1 seed in each conference will receive a bye in the Wild Card round. The remaining division champions in each conference with the best records will be seeded 2, 3, and 4, followed by the next three teams per conference with the best records seeded 5, 6, and 7.

AFC and NFC Wild Card games will feature the 2 seed hosting the 7 seed, the 3 seed hosting the 6 seed and the 4 seed hosting the 5 seed.

Wild Card Weekend for the 2020 season will consist of three games on Saturday, January 9, and three games on Sunday, January 10, 2021.

CBS will broadcast one additional Wild Card game on January 10 with kickoff at approximately 3:40 p.m. CT. The game will also be available via a livestream on CBS All Access. Additionally, as part of CBS’ coverage, a separately produced telecast of the game will air on Nickelodeon, tailored for a younger audience.

The NFL last expanded the playoffs for the 1990 season, increasing from 10 to 12 the number of teams to qualify for the postseason. Since 1990, at least four new teams have qualified for the playoffs that missed the postseason the year before – a streak of 30 consecutive seasons.