NFL unanimously approves contingency plan for 16-team postseason


NFL owners today unanimously approved a plan to expand the postseason to 16 teams if a COVID-19 outbreak forces the regular season to be shortened.

Commissioner Roger Goodell confirmed after a virtual league meeting that every owner was in agreement on the plan, which will include eight teams in each conference making the postseason in the event that not all 32 teams can play all 16 games — something the league still hopes to avoid.

“We are committed to completing the season as scheduled,” Goodell said.

The owners decided not to re-seed the teams once they qualify for the postseason, which had been an aspect of the proposal.

Despite the possibility of having to use the contingency plan, Goodell stressed that the NFL believes it can do a thorough job of contact tracing and isolating people who have tested positive or had high risk contacts, and that will, the league hopes, be sufficient to prevent an outbreak that causes games to be canceled.