On the eve of the trade deadline, with a few moves happening around the league, one thing happened to stick out on the timeline. Chris Mortensen dropped some news on a potential 16-team formatted NFL Playoffs as a result of games lost due to Coronavirus.
NFL competition committee expects to present a resolution to owners based on a contingency of having a 16-team playoff season (8 in each conference) if games are lost due to the pandemic, especially as bye weeks disappear, according to league sources. Committee met by zoom today.— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) November 2, 2020
That means eight teams per conference in the postseason, just weeks after the league increased the postseason qualifiers to fourteen. Just imagine HALF of the NFL being in the playoffs! At that point, I’d expect players to be parachuting into the stadium and fighting to the death to get to the traditional wild card format.
According to Mortensen, the format would feature the four division champions and four wild card entrants. If the season were to end today, this is what the NFL’s 2020 playoff bracket would look like:
16-Team Playoff Format Week 9
|1. Steelers||1. Seahawks|
|2. Chiefs||2. Packers|
|3. Bills||3. Saints|
|4. Titans||4. Eagles|
|5. Ravens||5. Cardinals|
|6. Colts||6. Buccaneers|
|7. Browns||7. Rams|
|8. Raiders||8. Bears|
Going off of last year’s final season win totals, we could potentially see some 8-8 or even 7-9 teams make it to the postseason. With the Texans sitting at 1-6 with a (somewhat) lighter load going forward after the bye, they’re not completely out of the hunt in this scenario.
Now, this is all just hypothetical and based off of an idea that might not take form. However, I think it adds a larger implication if this format gets put into use. Let’s say that the league moves forward with this idea and the Texans get in the postseason. If, by some miracle, or the rest of the league spontaneously combusts, our Houston Texans end up with the championship that we’re all lusting over, what will it mean? Sure, we’ll all party in the streets and likely do our best “BFD At Bathtime” impression, but there’s something more sinister in the weeds.
The dreaded *.
Ah, yes, that evil little thing that has dogged Houston sports since the dawn of time. From the Rockets back-to-back championships that get criticized due to Michael Jordan trying his hand at baseball, to the Houston Astros with the sign-stealing scandal (Uprooted Texan will tell you that the team did nothing wrong), the last thing that my tiny heart could take is another “tainted” championship, especially with it being the Texans’ first.
With how the team is looking right now, I don’t think that there’s any real cause for concern. Regardless, this could be a very fun, interesting way of spicing up a football season that has had its bumps along the way. Are you in favor of a sixteen-team NFL playoff format?