NFL Clubs Approve 14-Team Playoff Starting In 2020

No. 2 seeds will play a wild-card game instead of receiving a first-round bye.

Chris Emma
March 31, 2020 - 1:18 pm

(670 The Score) The NFL will have an expanded playoffs beginning with the 2020 season, as clubs approved the addition of two teams and a 14-team postseason format in a vote Tuesday.

The playoffs will now feature seven teams as opposed to six from each conference, and wild-card weekend will consist of six matchups -- three games Saturday and three Sunday.

In the new playoff structure, only the No. 1 seeds in the NFC and AFC will be awarded a bye into the divisional round. The No. 2 seeds will no longer receive a bye. They'll instead be matched up against the newly added No. 7 seeds in their respective conferences.

"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," the NFL said in a statement.

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CBS and NBC will each receive receive one extra playoff game to televise in the new structure, the league said. This marks the first NFL playoff expansion since 1990, when the format increased from 10 to 12 teams.

If this revamped playoff format was in place in 2019, the Rams (9-7) would've made the playoffs as the NFC's seventh seed and met the second-seeded Packers (13-3) in a wild-card game at Lambeau Field. The AFC bracket would've included the Steelers (8-8) as the seventh seed playing the second-seeded Chiefs (12-4) at Arrowhead Stadium.

As it pertains to us locally in Chicago, the 2012 Bears (10-6) would've made the playoffs as the seventh seed in this new format. That team lost out on a tiebreaker for the final wild-card spot, then fired coach Lovie Smith after missing the postseason.

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.