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NFL approves playoff expansion plus a Nickelodeon game

The 2020 NFL season will have more teams invited to the playoff party!

T.J. Martell Foundation’s 17th Annual New York Family Day Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for T.J. Martell Foundation

The NFL announced today that the owners have approved the expansion of their playoffs format from 12 teams to 14 teams, with one extra team coming from each conference. The additional wild card teams will lead to only one team from each conference receiving a first-round bye. These changes will start with the 2020 postseason.

“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 league said in today’s memo.

This is the first time the NFL has expanded their postseason since 1990 when they went from 10 teams to 12. Every season since that change has seen a new team qualify for the playoffs that missed it the year before. With an extra wild card added that streak seems likely to continue.

Wild card weekend has been an exciting time for sports fans and now they’ll have even more action.

Wild Card Weekend for the 2020 season will consist of three games on Saturday, January 9, and three games on Sunday, January 10, 2021. ​

CBS will broadcast one additional Wild Card game on January 10 with kickoff at approximately 4:40 p.m. ET. The game will also be available via a livestream on CBS All Access. Additionally, as part of CBS’ coverage, a separately produced telecast of the game will air on Nickelodeon, tailored for a younger audience.

NBC, its new streaming service Peacock, as well as Telemundo will all broadcast an additional Wild Card game on January 10 with kickoff at approximately 8:15 p.m. ET.

I think having one game specifically marketed towards a younger audience is a brilliant idea and I’m curious to see how they’ll pull it off.

In adding the seventh playoff team some fans are concerned with watering down the postseason with teams that have losing records, but had this format been in place the last 30 years, only one team (out of 60) would have made it with a losing record.

In fact, the 2012 Chicago Bears at 10-6, led by Lovie Smith and featuring Jay Cutler, Matt Forte, and Brandon Marshall on offense, and Brian Urlacher, Charles Tilllman, and Julius Peppers on defense, would have made it as the 7th seed and opened up on the road against the second seeded San Francisco 49ers.

You guys excited for more football?