NFL teams have voted to approve postseason expansion by two teams beginning with the 2020 season, the league announced in a press release Tuesday.
One additional Wild Card team from each conference will qualify for the postseason, bringing the total number of clubs in the playoffs to 14. Only the No. 1 seed in each conference will receive a bye.
The AFC and NFC will now have three games each on Wild Card weekend. The No. 2 seed will host the No. 7 seed, the No. 3 seed will host the No. 6 seed and the No. 4 seed will host the No. 5 seed. Three games will be played on Saturday, Jan. 9, with the remaining three being played on Sunday, Jan. 10.
CBS will broadcast one of the new Wild Card games, and livestream it on CBS All Access. In addition to coverage on CBS, a separately produced broadcast of the game will air on Nickelodeon that is “tailored for a younger audience.”
The other game will be broadcast on NBC, as well as Telemundo and their new streaming service Peacock.
This is the first time the NFL has expanded the playoffs since the 1990 season, when they increased from 10 to 12 teams.
Playoff expansion should come as welcomed news to Steelers fans, who know all to well how close Pittsburgh has come to making the postseason over the last few years.
Had the expanding of the postseason come seasons prior, the Steelers would have benefited the most. If the NFL had expanded the playoffs a decade ago, the Steelers would have been the last team in four times and made the postseason each of the last ten years.
The Steelers have missed out on the playoffs by just one game the last two seasons.