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NFL considering 16-team playoff field as pandemic contingency plan

NFL considering 16-team playoff field as pandemic contingency plan
Under the NFL competition committee's plan, the postseason would feature eight playoff teams from each conference. File Photo by Jon SooHoo/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 2 (UPI) -- The NFL competition committee is expected to propose a plan to team owners that includes a 16-team postseason scenario if upcoming games are disrupted due to the coronavirus pandemic.

League sources told ESPN and NFL Media that the competition committee met via video conference Monday to discuss the contingency plan. Under the proposal, which could become increasingly likely as bye weeks are used up, the postseason would feature eight playoff teams from each conference.

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If necessary, the plan would take four division champions and four wild-card teams from both the AFC and NFC. The playoffs would have no bye weeks and would consist of traditional seeding matchups -- No. 1 vs. No. 8, No. 2 vs. No. 7, No. 3 vs. No. 6 and No. 4 vs. No. 5.

After postseason teams are determined, seeding would be carried out according to winning percentage, regardless of whether teams ended up with the best record in their division.

If the contingency plan is needed, teams would need to approve the proposal.

In March, NFL owners approved a plan to expand the playoffs to 14 teams beginning with the 2020 campaign. That plan boosted the number of wild-card teams from two to three.

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