"The NFL will add a wild-card team in the NFC and AFC next year," Patrick said on his radio show on Monday morning. He then hedged a bit: "My sources next to sources know sources who kind of know what's going on."
Intriguing, right? There's no word on how this would work, but the NFL could simply strip the #2 seed of their first round bye. The first seed would suddenly become even more coveted than it is now, I can tell you that. It would also put one more team in the playoffs, which in a year like 2013 with the impressive Arizona Cardinals going 10-6 might just be a good thing.
Hold the phone, though, because the NFL is denying it.
However, the NFL indicated on Monday that it had not yet made the decision to expand, despite Patrick's report. "There's been no such decision," a spokesman told Sports Illustrated. "It would require a vote of the clubs and it has not yet been taken up with them. If it’s taken up this year, it would happen at the annual meeting in March. The agenda for the meeting has not been formulated."
As always, where there's smoke there's likely a spark. I can imagine the league has been bandying this proposal about and someone leaked it. We may not see this by 2015, but I'd be stunned if this wasn't the new normal sometime before the end of the current decade. It's in the NFL's best interest to offer up more playoff teams.