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NFL teams approve playoff expansion for next season

The No. 2 seeds in each conference will now host a Wild Card game

Packers vs. Seahawks at Lambeau Field
Packers vs. Seahawks at Lambeau Field

GREEN BAY – Two additional teams will be eligible for the playoffs next season after the NFL approved an expansion to a 14-team postseason structure following a vote by league owners on Tuesday.

The vote was slated to take place this week at the NFL Owners Meetings in Palm Springs, Fla., before the event was canceled in the response to the current COVID-19 pandemic.

The measure required a 3/4 majority vote to pass, meaning at least 24 of the 32 league owners had to approve. President/CEO Mark Murphy acts on behalf of the Packers and serves on the competition committee, which recommended expansion for the 2020 NFL season.

An expansion from a 12- to 14-team postseason was put into motion after the NFLPA and its players ratified a new collective-bargaining agreement that runs through 2030 earlier this month. NFL owners then had a three-year window to implement a new postseason format.

The No. 1 seed in each conference will receive a bye in the Wild Card round. The remaining division champions in each conference with the best records will be seeded 2, 3, and 4, followed by the next three teams per conference with the best records seeded 5, 6, and 7.

If enacted this past season, the Packers, as a No. 2 seed, would have hosted the seventh-seeded Los Angeles Rams in a NFC Wild Card game.

Wild Card Weekend for the 2020 season will consist of three games on Saturday, January 9, and three games on Sunday, January 10, 2021. CBS and NBC will broadcast the two new Wild Card games. Additionally, as part of CBS' coverage, a separately produced telecast of the game will air on Nickelodeon, tailored for a younger audience.

The NFL last expanded the playoffs for the 1990 season, increasing from 10 to 12 the number of teams to qualify for the postseason. Since that point, according to, 44 of the 60 teams that would have claimed the seventh seeds had winning records, including 10 different 10-win teams. Only one team, the 1990 Cowboys, would have advanced with a losing record (7-9).