[NFL] League to add 2 more teams to playoffs?

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A proposal to let two more teams into the NFL playoffs could have a chance at passing at the league meetings after all. The Kansas City Chiefs will propose an increase in postseason qualifiers from 12 to 14 at this week's meetings. The NFL Competition Committee is against it, and the committee carries much sway.

But several team officials said Sunday they would like to see more playoff teams.

"I'm for anything that gives my team a better chance to make the playoffs," San Francisco 49ers coach Dennis Erickson said.

"I think two more teams in the playoffs would increase the excitement in those cities," added Miami Dolphins president Eddie Jones.

Bob Kraft, owner of the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, co-sponsored the proposal a year ago, when it was voted down. He's indicated he still favors it.

But Rich McKay, co-chairman of the competition committee and general manager of the Atlanta Falcons, doesn't expect passage of the proposal.

"We feel like the current system has worked very well," McKay said. "The playoff number at 12 is a good number and, for competitive reasons, we don't recommend expansion."

The biggest concern is that with 14 teams, only the team with the best record in each conference would get a first-round bye.

"Yes, that would create a potential unreasonable advantage for the No. 1 seed," McKay said. "When you look at the advantage for the bye of the one and two seeds, certainly you see it. To then give it to the No. 1 seed alone definitely is a concern to all of us."

Increasing the playoff field requires 24 of 32 votes. So does making permanent instant replay to aid officials, which also is on the agenda.

That is considered more likely to happen than adding two playoff berths. If it doesn't pass, well ...

"There's always plan 1-B," said John Mara, executive vice president of the New York Giants. "We think we have more than enough votes to get it in permanently, but if we feel there's enough opposition, we're open to compromise."

That compromise probably would be approving replay for five years. It was first used to help officials in the 1986 season, but was voted out in 1992. It returned, with the current system of coaches' challenges, in 1999.

In 2001, the format was approved for three years. Now, the competition committee has voted 8-0 for permanent installment.

"I have my reservations, because we've been hurt by replay a couple of times," Indianapolis Colts president Bill Polian said. "So yes, I'm for it, but I can see some people still wondering."

Replay could include a third coaches' challenge, too, but only if a team is successful on its first two challenges. That must be voted on by the owners, too

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it either needs to be 12 or 16. only one team getting a bye isnt really a good idea.. as it is, if you finish 10-6 youre almost guaranteed a playoff spot, and you can still get in with a 9-7 sometimes.. i think its a great system. the lower seeds have a hard enough time advancing as it is, and if you added more teams, thats going to dilute the quality of play. 12/32 teams, just over a 3rd, its fine.

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well i guess its a sure spot for the lesser teams like the bengals, maybe the cards, lions etc. who struggle all season, even to get an 8-8 record will get them into the playoffs!

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,Mar 29 2004, 16:31] if they are going to increase it to that number then add another week to the season :)

i say they reduce the preseason to 2 games and make the regular season 18 games. that would rake in the $$$

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