Doubting Thomas doubts the NBA and NHL will be able to complete their seasons in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. I put the MLB season in the “iffy” column. But the NFL season is probable, and this year’s theme is Mo’ Money.
If you prefer a western flavor, we can call it For A Few Dollars More because clearly more dollars were the motivator when NFL owners approved a 14-team playoff bracket yesterday. The new playoff format will start this season.
The new format means an extra team from each conference gets a wild card berth. But another change is only one team from each conference earns a first-round bye. No team has made it to the Super Bowl without having a bye since 2012.
Fans will have six games to watch on Wild Card Weekend in December instead of four. This means triple headers on Saturday and Sunday. Each division winner that isn’t the top seed in their conference will host a game on Wild Card Weekend.
Obviously, the extra nationally televised playoff games will bring in significant new revenue for the league. The scheduling of the new playoff games and the networks they’d air on had been the two biggest question marks until yesterday.
Now we know that CBS and NBC will both broadcast an additional wild card game. Interestingly, CBS’ game will have a separately produced telecast of the game to air on Nickelodeon, specifically “tailored for a younger audience.”
The other major change, moving to a 17-game schedule, won’t happen this season. This, of course, assumes there will be a 2020-2021 season. In professional sports, money talks and bullshit walks. This means NFL games will probably be played.