The NFL released a statement last night about the status of Week 18 in the NFL, and how it could affect the playoffs.
Before this announcement, many had speculated that the league would make a drastic change to the structure of the playoffs, which appears to not be the case.
NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith said the league has not proposed an idea of adding an 8th team to both conferences for the postseason.
The NFLPA would have to approve any change like that as it’s subject to collective bargaining.
— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) January 5, 2023
One of the many proposals that were thrown out was adding an eighth team to each conference for the postseason in the wake of Damar Hamlin‘s injury.
This was quickly shot down.
Although this proposal may have seemed fair to some, it is simply too large of a change, which is why the NFL ultimately decided against it.
An eighth team in the playoffs would have upset the competitive balance of the league, and it would have also eliminated the ever-elusive bye week, which is awarded to the top team in each conference.
Instead, the league decided to go a different direction, offering a solution of a neutral site AFC Championship if there was a scenario in which the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs played each other.
Since the Chiefs and Bills would have played a disproportionate amount of games, the NFL deemed a neutral site the fairest way to move forward, all things considered.
However, if this matchup doesn’t happen, the AFC Championship will simply occur at the top seed’s home stadium, the traditional way that this game has been played in the past.
Will an eighth team in the playoffs be something that is considered in the future?