BOSTON (CBS) — Provided there is an NFL season in 2020, the league’s playoff field will be looking very different.
NFL owners on Tuesday officially voted to approve the proposed changes to the postseason format, a change that will go into effect immediately. Approval from three-quarters of owners was needed for the rules to go into effect.
The most significant aspect of that change will be the addition of one playoff team per conference, expanding the field to seven teams in both the AFC and NFC.
Also significant will be the elimination of one of the two postseason byes in each conference. Now, only the No. 1 seed in the AFC and No. 1 seed in the NFC will get a first-round bye, while the No. 2 seeds in each conference will be forced to play on wild card weekend.
The changes will of course benefit whichever teams now make the playoffs instead of heading home after Week 17, and they’ll also benefit fans, who will have two extra games to watch on wild card weekend.
The league announced that, as currently scheduled, wild card weekend for the 2020 season will have three games on Saturday, Jan. 9 and three games on Sunday, Jan. 10.
CBS will broadcast one extra game, and NBC will broadcast the other. Additionally, the league noted, “as part of CBS’ coverage, a separately produced telecast of the game will air on Nickelodeon, tailored for a younger audience.”
Of course, as the world and the nation deals with the coronavirus pandemic, pretty much everything in the world of sports is on hold. For now, though, the NFL plans to forge ahead with its 2020 schedule, which means fans and teams won’t have to wait too long to see how the new postseason format affects the league.