Before the NFL expanded to four divisions, there was a possibility that four teams from one division -- if strong enough -- could make the playoffs in a given season. That has happened, including four NFC Central teams qualifying for the postseason in one year.
Under the new system, that is no longer possible -- only two wild cards are available in each conference. And it looks like it will remain that way for at least the time being.
While the NFL owners meetings don't begin until next week in Philadelphia, VU was told Wednesday that in a conference call of the eight members of the prestigeous competition committee -- which former Vikings coach Dennis Green used to co-chair with Jerry Jones -- voted unanimously against increasing the playoff pool by two teams in 2003.
The league rarely acts against the recommendations of the committee and this could make playoff expansion a dead issue -- at least for this year.
In 2002, there were no worst-case playoff scenarios like a 10-6 team missing the playoffs while an 8-8 division champ qualified. It will likely take such a situation to get the owners moving in that direction, much like it took a series of referee calls that were clearly wrong upon review to get instant replay instituted.
That being said, VU has been told by a league source that, while potential future discussions will be held concerning expanding the playoff pool by one team per conference -- reducing the teams with first-round byes from two to one -- it looks like a moot point right now.
No Playoff Expansion?
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