Whether you like it or not, expanded playoffs are coming to an NFL near you

It could be official as early as next month, according to Mark Maske of the Washington Post: 14 playoff teams instead of 12:

That would result in one team in each conference receiving a first-round playoff bye instead of the current two. There would be a total of six games played league-wide on the opening weekend of the postseason rather than the current four.

I guess it was inevitable. More playoff teams means more playoff games, which obviously means more money for the league, its owners and its employees (including the players themselves). 

But when you're a $10 billion a year industry, is it worth jeopardizing the broad product in order to increase revenue only slightly? That's the debate now, because more playoff teams also means the regular season is watered down at least minimally. 

Before 1990, only 10 teams made the playoffs. Prior to 1978, only eight teams got through. Before 1970, only four teams got to play in the postseason. And before the Super Bowl era, the playoffs didn't exist.

The NFL playoffs feel special right now, but that slips every time the club becomes less exclusive.

On the other hand, the extra spot should in theory keep more teams in contention for a longer period of time, which benefits the fans. That's probably why Major League Baseball added two wild-card teams and two play-in games last season. 

Ultimately, let's face it, this will only help the league, which can't seem to do anything wrong. Football fans are as devoted as they come, and they won't ditch the continent's most popular and lucrative sports league merely because of a 16 percent increase in playoff competitors. 

Brad Gagnon

About Brad Gagnon

Brad Gagnon has been passionate about both sports and mass media since he was in diapers -- a passion that won't die until he's in them again. Based in Toronto, he's worked as a national NFL blog editor at theScore.com (covering Super Bowls XLIV, XLV and XLVI), a producer and writer at theScore Television Network and a host, reporter and play-by-play voice at Rogers TV. His work has also appeared at Deadspin, FoxSports.com, The Guardian, The Hockey News and elsewhere at Bloguin, but his day gig has him covering all things NFC East for Bleacher Report.

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