NFL Faces Off Against NFLPA on Playoff Expansion


May 8, 2014; New York, NY, USA; NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on stage during the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

We talked about this a couple of months ago during the owners annual meeting back in late March. Roger Goodell and the NFL are looking to increase the playoff size from 12 teams to 14 teams.

This is what Goodell had to say back in March

"“I think there is a tremendous amount of interest in this, possibly even to the point of support,” Goodell said after ownership discuss the topic this week. “But there are also things we still want to make sure we do right. We’ve been very incremental in trying to do this. But we believe competitively it could make our races towards the end of the season even more exciting, more teams vying for playoff positions, which is great for our fans.”"

I don’t think that expanding the playoffs by two more teams is really going to muddle up the playoff experience as some thing or thin the waters out for the more “elite” teams and their playoffs.  I think adding another two teams will allow for the borderline teams to get a shot as well as make the race for the wildcard that much more interesting.  Really what we are looking at are teams that finish in the 9-7 range at this point.

The issue that is now arising with this whole playoff expansion idea is that the league is trying to move forward without the approval of the NFLPA.  The NFL doesn’t think that they need to work in collective bargaining with the NFLPA while deciding this issue while the NFLPA believes that it is a perfect collective bargaining topic.

"The NFL Players Association is warning the owners that the players might not go along with a plan to expand the playoffs if the owners don’t support better workers’ compensation laws. But one high-profile owner isn’t so sure that the league needs the players’ approval.– Mike Florio,"

The owners are pretty much on board and are ready to move forward, but there is legal jargon that requires both sides to go to collective bargaining if there is a change; “confer in good faith with respect to wages, hours, and other terms and conditions of employment.” This is found in the National Labor Relations Act.

So the owners are looking to move forward and put this to bed, and Jerry Jones is all for it, especially if there are two more spots for his Dallas Cowboys to make the playoffs.

"“The sooner the better for the Dallas Cowboys,” Jones told Paolantonio. “The more of our teams that have a chance to get in the tournament, I think, it’s the better.”"

The NFL may have to go to collective bargaining on the idea of playoff expansion. This could be interesting if the NFL moves forward without collective bargaining, the response from the NFLPA will be the interesting part.  The NFLPA may be fighting a fight that most of the players already want if they are not part of the talks.