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Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

The NFL and its players' union have informally agreed to restructure the postseason and add a seventh team from each conference for a total of 14, ESPN's Adam Schefter reports.

Why it matters: If finalized as part of the NFL's new collective bargaining agreement, this format change would mark the first playoff expansion since 1990, when the league went from 10 teams to 12.

The structure: The proposal would eliminate the first-round bye for the No. 2 seeds, so the playoff structure would look like this: six wild-card games (up from four), four divisional-round games, two conference championships and the Super Bowl.

Looking back: Here are the teams from the last 10 years that missed the postseason as the No. 7 seed but would have made the playoffs under the proposed format.

  • 2019: Steelers (8-8) and Rams (9-7)
  • 2018: Steelers (9-6-1) and Vikings (8-7-1)
  • 2017: Ravens (9-7) and Lions (9-7)
  • 2016: Titans (9-7) and Buccaneers (9-7)
  • 2015: Jets (10-6) and Falcons (8-8)
  • 2014: Texans (9-7) and Eagles (10-6)
  • 2013: Steelers (8-8) and Cardinals (10-6)
  • 2012: Steelers (8-8) and Bears (10-6)
  • 2011: Titans (9-7) and Bears (8-8)
  • 2010: Chargers (9-7) and Giants (10-6)

The big takeaways: With a 14-team field, the Steelers would have made the playoffs with an 8-8 record three times last decade, and the last two Super Bowl champs (Chiefs and Patriots, both No. 2 seeds) would have had to play an additional game.

  • Six wild-card games (three Saturday, three Sunday) would be wild, with the NFL dominating an entire weekend like college basketball does during March Madness — and college football and the NFL combine to do throughout the fall.

What to watch: The current CBA expires after the 2020 season, which officially begins March 18. If a new agreement is reached before then, this expansion could go into effect immediately.

Go deeper: Increased viewership ups the stakes for the NFL's broadcast rights

Go deeper

Former D.C. Guard alleges Army Generals lied about Jan. 6 response

Members of the National Guard and Capitol police keep a small group of pro-Trump demonstrators away from the Capitol following the insurrection on Jan. 6. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

A former D.C. National Guard official has alleged that top Army generals "lied" to Congress in their testimony on the U.S. Capitol riot, Politico first reported Monday.

The big picture: Col. Earl Matthews, who was serving on Jan. 6, alleges in a memo that the official version on the military response is "worthy of the best Stalinist or North Korea propagandist" and that the Pentagon inspector general's November report on it features "myriad inaccuracies, false or misleading statements, or examples of faulty analysis."

Toyota to build $1.3 billion U.S. battery plant in North Carolina

The all-electric Toyota bZ4X, the company's first battery-electric vehicle, at the Los Angeles Auto Show in Los Angeles, California on Nov. 17. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

Toyota announced Monday it's investing $1.3 billion to construct an electric vehicle battery "megasite" near Greensboro, North Carolina, set to open in 2025.

Why it matters: Toyota's Prius hybrid won environmental plaudits when it launched in 1997, but it has since lost ground to electric vehicle world leader Tesla, per Axios' Joann Muller. This battery plant will be the first to produce automotive batteries for Toyota in North America.

6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Congress hunts for shortcut to pass defense funding, debt limit combo

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer returned to his office Monday. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

The scramble in Congress to pass the National Defense Authorization Act is being complicated by an effort to tie it to a needed hike in the federal debt limit.

Why it matters: The House and Senate are rapidly coming up against a series of deadlines they must address before the end of the year — or risk disrupting crucial military funding and upending the economy. Congressional leaders are now hoping they can knock out both "must-pass" priorities in one, complex swoop.