Playoffs were not always as simple as they are now. In the early years between 1920 and 1932, there was no actual championship game or playoffs. The champion was simply voted upon, or chosen by best winning percentage. In 1932, it was the first NFL playoff game as the Chicago Bears and Portsmouth Spartans needed to settle a tiebreaker. This set things in motion, as the NFL Championship game was set in place. This put in the winners of each conference would play in a championship game. In 1967, this was the first scheduled playoff. However things did not get rolling until the merger took place.
Once the AFL and NFL merged together, we consider this now the Super Bowl era. The AFL and NFL had suggested a game between the two league champions, and it couldn’t take place. However the leagues would end up merging in 1970 to give us the NFL and 26 teams. During 1970-1977 four teams from each conference would make the playoffs. In 1978 there was an expansion of the regular season going from 14 to 16 games. It also added one more wild card team to the division, which is similar to what MLB does. In 1990 the playoffs were expanded to 12 teams, which was what most of us had known. 2020 will mark the new era with now 14 teams in the playoffs and limiting just one team to a bye.
New NFL Playoff Expansion
The NFL has been wanting to expand the playoff field for a while now, and that is finally happening. It will help with league revenue, and also reward more 9-7 teams mostly, with the occasional 8-8 team slipping through. This new format should also help coaches keep their jobs more, as the playoff mark is certainly what teams aim for the most. So as we look at the new format, we see two extra wild card spots are added. One is going to the AFC and one is going to the NFC. This is going to remove the bye week for the number two seed. So a seven seed will now play the two seed, leaving the one seed to be the only teams to get a bye week.
This is actually a tough draw for two seeds, because a team going 13-3 could get screwed out of a bye and have to play in that first weekend. You can go back and forth on byes helping teams or not, but history suggests that they do. If you are worried about the quality of the playoffs being taken down a notch, but if this format was put into place over the last 20 years, you would find most of these spots would have gone to 9-7 and 10-6 teams. An occasional 8-8 team would slip in, but for the most part you would still get some deserving teams in there.
NFL Playoff Overtime Rules
The NFL overtime rules have changed over time. Up until 2010, the NFL playoffs were just sudden death. Each quarter would be replayed until someone had scored. This changed as the NFL decided to go with a new rule that if a touchdown or safety is scored on the first team possession, the game is over. Meaning a team cannot just kick a field goal on the first possession and win. However they can still kick the field goal and hold the opponent to zero overtime points and win. Now if a team kicks a field goal first possession and scores, the other team can tie the game or score a touchdown and win. After one possession, any score is going to win the game.
NFL Playoff Tiebreakers
We generally will see teams finish with the same record, and that means tiebreakers will come into effect to decide seeding and just overall a team making the playoff. The first tiebreaker is going to be head-to-head. If a team beat that team earlier in the season, they would hold the advantage with the tiebreaker. If there was no game played or they are division teams and split the season series, it will go to the best win percentage within the division. If it needs to go further, it will go between the best win percentage in common games, meaning the same opponents that each team has played. Now if it continues, it will go to the best win percentage within the conference win percentage. It rarely goes past this, but strength of victory and strength of schedule begin to get factored in.
2020 Playoff Schedule
This year will start the new playoff changes. On Wild Card Weekend, which is January 9th and 10th, we will have three games on Saturday and three games on Sunday. This is one more game each day, as we usually have had just four total games spanned out over the course of the weekend. Moving into the Divisional Round on January 16th and 17th, we get the two a day games. On January 24th, this is Conference Championship weekend, and both games are played on that Sunday. At the moment the bye week is still intact, and that means Super Bowl LV will be played on February 7th.
Super Bowl LV
Super Bowl LV will be the 55th Super Bowl in NFL history, and will be held in Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL. This is the third time that Raymond James Stadium has hosted a Super Bowl. The two candidates were Tampa and SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California. However construction delays pushed back the new home of the Rams and Chargers to host the Super Bowl in 2022. The NFL has put in contingency plans to potentially push back the Super Bowl if needed, or possibly eliminate the bye week before the Super Bowl. CBS will be televising the Super Bowl this year.
How Many Playoff Rounds Are There In NFL?
There are four rounds of the NFL playoffs. You have the Wild Card round where there is six games. The Divisional Round is four games total. The Conference Round decides the Super Bowl matchup, which is the last round in the NFL playoffs.
How Long Are The NFL Playoffs?
The NFL playoffs are about one month long. They start on January 9th 2021 and will go on until Super Bowl Sunday, which is February 7th 2021. This is spanned over four weekends, and there is an off week between the conference championships and the Super Bowl.
What Date Is The Super Bowl?
The Super Bowl for the 2020-21 season is on Sunday, February 7th, 2021. It is going to be in Tampa, FL at Raymond James Stadium. As always this is two weeks after the Conference Championship games have been played.
How Many Teams Make The NFL Playoffs?
Under the new playoff format, 14 teams will now make the playoffs. It was previously 12, but the NFL decided to add two more wild card teams. This will provide us with an extra wild card game bringing the total to six on Wild Card Weekend.
When Do NFL Playoffs Start?
The first scheduled NFL playoff game, barring any sort of changes, is Saturday, January 9th, 2021. This would be the start of Wild Card Weekend, resulting in three games Saturday and then three games on Sunday. This is all with the new format.
Who Gets A Bye In NFL Playoffs?
Under the new rules, only the first overall seed in each conference will get a bye. This changed from the top two teams getting a bye in the old format. Having the one seed is a major advantage, and the two seed is not as important outside of home field.
What Is The New NFL Playoff Rules?
The NFL playoff expansion moved from 12 teams to 14 teams, adding an extra two wild card spots. This only gives a bye to the first overall seed, and then there will now be six wild card games. Six out of the seven teams in each conference will play round one.
How Are NFL Playoff Teams Seeded?
NFL teams are seeded by their overall record, but the first four are going to be division winners. The wild card teams are seeded by overall record. Tiebreakers include head-to-head record and then win percentage in division games.