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NFL owners agree to expand playoff field to 14 teams

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell started considering the idea of an expanded playoff field almost 10 years ago. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell started considering the idea of an expanded playoff field almost 10 years ago. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

March 31 (UPI) -- NFL team owners voted to approve the expansion of the playoff field from 12 to 14 teams, starting with the 2020 season.

League officials confirmed the change during a conference call with NFL Media on Tuesday, which took place in lieu of the league's annual meeting. The vote was initially scheduled to happen at the meeting, which was canceled earlier this month because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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The changing of the playoff format required approval from three-fourths of the 32 owners in the league.

Under the new postseason format, the AFC and NFC Wild Card rounds will feature the No. 2 seed hosting a seventh-seeded team, the third-seed hosting the No. 6 seed and the fourth-seed hosting the No. 5 seed. The No. 1 seeds in each conference will be the only teams to receive a first-round bye.

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NFL commissioner Roger Goodell started considering the postseason expansion idea almost 10 years ago, and the league was close to adopting a similar concept in 2014. The plan was stalled until after league owners and players ratified a new collective bargaining agreement earlier this month.

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The NFL's wild-card weekend will feature three games Jan. 9 and another three matchups Jan. 10, according to the league. NBC and CBS will broadcast the additional wild-card contests.

In addition to CBS' extra NFL broadcast on Jan. 9, the network will live-stream the game on CBS All Access. That game also will be aired on Nickelodeon in a telecast tailored for a younger audience. Sunday's NBC games also will be aired on the network's streaming service, Peacock, as well as Spanish-language Telemundo.

The NFL last expanded its postseason in 1990. The league's playoff field went from 10 to 12 teams that year.

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