The NFL has long wanted to add at least one more playoff game per conference because that would add millions of dollars to the league's coffers via television money. Apparently, it's mission accomplished for Commissioner Roger Goodell.
According to a report from Adam Schefter, starting this season a seventh team will be added to each conference's playoff field via the new collective bargaining agreement for a total of 14, meaning that only the club with the best overall record in the AFC and NFC would have a first-round bye. That's important because in the last seven Super Bowls, every participant had a first-round bye. The home team has won six of the past seven AFC Championship Games and six of the past seven in the NFC title game as well.
Had this been in effect last season, the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers would have been the only teams off on Wild-Card Weekend. AFC No. 2 seed Kansas City, the eventual Super Bowl champion, would have hosted the Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8) in the opening round, while NFC No. 2 Green Bay would have hosted the No. 7 Los Angeles Rams (9-7).
This won't affect current NFL futures odds to win the Super Bowl, but when the books put out odds to make the playoffs, this change will alter some prices. Presumably, there will now be three games each Saturday and Sunday on Wild-Card Weekend, although it's known the owners would love to have a Monday night postseason game. That would be a huge disadvantage for the winner, however, into the Divisional Round on a short week.
This change likely will affect many more Week 17 games in terms of teams resting players/trying to win or not. Previously, if a team was in position to earn the No. 2 seed in the conference in Week 17 (but not the top seed), it would generally go all out. Now that may not be the case with much less a reward.
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