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

Updated 14 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 11 a.m. ET: 31,937,244 — Total deaths: 977,624 — Total recoveries: 22,013,874Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 11 a.m ET: 6,937,145 — Total deaths: 201,959 — Total recoveries: 2,670,256 — Total tests: 97,459,742Map.
  3. Health: The coronavirus is surging again — Johnson & Johnson begins large phase 3 trial — The FDA plans to toughen standards.
  4. Media: Pandemic spurs journalists to go it alone via email.
  5. Technology: The tech solutions of 2020 may be sapping our resolve to beat the coronavirus
  6. Sports: Here's what college basketball will look like this season.
Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Republicans condemn Trump's refusal to commit to peaceful transfer of power

Photo: Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

A number of prominent Republican lawmakers addressed President Trump's refusal on Wednesday to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses November's presidential election.

Driving the news: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tweeted, "The winner of the November 3rd election will be inaugurated on January 20th. There will be an orderly transition just as there has been every four years since 1792."

2 hours ago - Technology

Pandemic spurs journalists to go it alone via email

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A slew of high-profile journalists have recently announced they are leaving newsrooms to launch their own, independent brands, mostly via email newsletters.

Context: Many of those writers, working with new technology companies like Substack, TinyLetter, Lede, or Ghost, have made the transition amid the pandemic.

Get Axios AM in your inbox

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!