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NFL votes to expand playoffs to 16 teams if season is impacted by COVID-19

I refuse to hope. I refuse to hope. I refuse to hope.

NFL: Super Bowl LIV City Views Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL has not yet had a major disruption to its season due to COVID-19, which is sort of remarkable given that they’ve had to juggle schedules and have had rashes of positives tests all across the NFL. The Falcons had multiple positive tests on the roster and in the staff, and it’s clear that while weeks haven’t been called and the season hasn’t been extended, the league is thinking about those eventualities.

That’s probably why the NFL’s owners have voted unanimously to expand the playoffs to 16 teams...if games are impacted. What that means in practice is that if the league can’t finish the season in their regularly scheduled 17 weeks or an expanded season that spans 18 weeks, they’ll expand the playoffs.

It goes without saying that the Falcons might actually have a small chance of making it into the postseason if the NFL was letting half the teams from each conference in, but that’s still a pretty slim chance given that the team supposedly has the hardest slate in all of football coming up. More to the point, an expanded playoff format would indicate that something has gone terribly wrong and the league has had to cancel multiple games or even an entire week of football leaguewide, which is not really an outcome to root for.

File this one away for now just in case something bad happens and/or the Falcons climb back into it, but if all goes well this is the last time we’ll discuss it.