Despite an earlier display of confidence from commissioner Roger Goodell, Steelers owner Art Rooney II doesn't expect the league to expand the current player format in time for the 2015 season.
"I'm not necessarily opposed to the idea of adding a playoff team or adding a team from each conference," Rooney said. "But my view on that depends a lot on what goes with it. Schedule is certainly a factor: When would this game be played? The fact that we would now wind up with likely only having one team in each conference with a bye is not a great outcome.
The issue of expansion will be discussed during owners meeting in March, but Rooney doesn't feel anything will transpire, according to Scott Brown of ESPN.
"There are things like that I think we would have to look at and think through before a decision is made on this, and that may be one reason why this is probably not a decision that gets made this year."
Playoff expansion would certainly appease the owners, the NFL and television stations, as the added revenue from an extra game would provide a boost to the NFL's already booming economic situation. Specifically, the league wants to add another wildcard team to each conference, boosting the playoff field from 12 to 14 teams. A seventh team per bracket would mean only the No. 1 seed is awarded a first round bye, while the No. 2 through No. 7 seeds each play a wildcard game. With two extra games per wildcard weekend, the NFL would stand to make millions.
The players union, however, wouldn't quite see it that way. With the top two seeds currently earning a bye, the additional week off for each conferences top teams is quite the blessing, as the tiresome 16-game season begins to take it's toll. Also, the players make all their guaranteed money over the course of the 17 week NFL season, so by the time the playoffs start, players are only afforded a set "bonus" depending on which round they play in, meaning the majority of NFL players are actually taking a pay cut to participate in the playoffs. With the No. 2 seed effectively being punished into playing an extra game, players likely would not take kindly to an expansion of the current format.
With the NFL having generated nearly as much money as the entire GDP of Nicaragua last year, it's safe to say the league isn't desperate for those extra couple million dollars.