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NFL owners approve playoff expansion contingency plan

NFL owners approve playoff expansion contingency plan
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said Tuesday that the league is "committed" to finishing its full regular season in its typical 17-week interval. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 10 (UPI) -- NFL owners unanimously approved a plan that would expand the playoff field from 14 teams to 16 in the event upcoming games are disrupted due to the coronavirus pandemic.

League sources told ESPN and NFL Media that league owners signed off on the contingency plan during a video meeting Tuesday afternoon. Under the proposal, the postseason would feature eight playoff teams from each conference.

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The proposed scenario will only happen if the NFL can't complete its 256-game season as scheduled within 17 or 18 weeks, with the 18th week added solely to finish the 256-game slate prior to the playoffs.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said Tuesday that the league is "committed" to finishing its full regular season in its typical 17-week interval. But after the league's recent increase in confirmed COVID-19 cases, Goodell acknowledged the importance of having alternative plans established should the season end with not all teams playing 16 games.

"Today's resolution is part of our contingency planning should it be needed," Goodell said.

In March, NFL owners approved a plan to expand the playoffs from 12 teams to 14 beginning with the 2020 campaign. That plan boosted the number of wild-card teams from two to three.

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The New Orleans Saints' Jared Cook grabs a pass in front of Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Jordan Whitehead during the first half at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla, on Sunday. Photo by Steve Nesius/UPI | License Photo

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