Updates from Tuesday, May 27
Katherine Terrell of NOLA.com provides an update on the workers comp bill:
BREAKING: Workers comp bill opposed by NFLPA pulled by sponsor http://t.co/rSbJZUiSug— Katherine Terrell (@Kat_Terrell) May 27, 2014
Rob Landry provides this photo of Drew Brees:
Updates from Tuesday, May 20
ESPN's Vaughn McClure provides a synopsis of Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones commenting on expanded postseason discussions:
Owners have tabled playoff expansion talks until the fall, according to Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones.— vaughn mcclure (@vxmcclure23) May 20, 2014
Tom Pelissero of USA Today was quick to weigh in:
If Stephen Jones knows what he's talking about, no playoff expansion until (at least) 2015. Plenty of time to work out details with union.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) May 20, 2014
Mark Maske of the Washington Post had more on potential plans to expand the postseason:
All along, the NFL’s leaders have targeted the 2015 season for the onset of an expanded playoff field, but entering this meeting they had not formally ruled out the possibility of it taking effect during the upcoming season. A vote being taken at this owners’ meeting had been considered a long shot. However, it is widely believed within the sport that it is inevitable the proposal will be ratified for the 2015 season. It must be approved by at least 24 of the 32 teams.
The potential of a 14-team playoff in the NFL hasn't even gone to a vote, and it might have already hit a speed bump. The NFL Players Association might have plans to fight back against the possible expansion to the postseason.
Tom Pelissero of USA Today explains the likelihood of the NFLPA looking to block the expansion:
Owners could approve a 14-team playoff as soon as Tuesday at the NFL's spring meetings in Atlanta, but the league has had no talks with NFLPA leadership or presented any proposal on the topic, two people with knowledge of the union's thinking told USA TODAY Sports.
Because expanded playoffs would qualify as a change to working conditions, the union could and might refuse to agree based on any number of issues, including the workers comp bill that is making its way through the Louisiana legislature, said the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to comment publicly.
Adding two more teams to the playoffs would, in turn, add more games to the already lengthy NFL season. While it could make the game even more enticing to fans, it also brings about more injury risks along with wear and tear on the players.
NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith spoke about the notion of expansion, per Pelissero:
The players have not seen a press release from the NFL indicating that they were going to take up the issue of better workers compensation benefits or increased injury protection benefits in light of their desire for extra playoff games.
A credible commitment to player health and safety has to include more than a group of Owners voting to recommend playing more games.
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones commented on the situation earlier in the process, as Albert Breer of NFL.com points out:
Saw Jerry Jones said in Atlanta that he doesn't think the NFLPA has to sign off on playoff expansion. I can tell you the union disagrees.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) May 19, 2014
The union's view on this is that added playoff games would constitute a change in working conditions, and thus must go thru them.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) May 19, 2014
George Atallah of the NFLPA countered, however, telling Bob Glauber of Newsday that the players would need to agree on the expanded postseason:
Per @GeorgeAtallah, if NFL owners approve expanded playoffs, union must sign off. It is "absolutely a topic for bargaining, no question."— Bob Glauber (@BobGlauber) May 19, 2014
Breer added that the NFL will do its best to ensure both sides are happy:
My understanding is the NFL fully plans to work with the union on playoff expansion. They'll come up with a plan, then present it to the PA.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) May 19, 2014
... Could whether the NFL can unilaterally act here be an issue? Sure. But the NFL is expecting extensive talks with the PA on the playoffs.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) May 19, 2014
Those are interesting thoughts coming from an owner who might benefit more than any owner from expanded playoffs. After all, the Cowboys have been just one game short of the postseason for the last three seasons.
Should the NFL expand the postseason?
With player safety and health concerns in the NFL at an all-time high in recent years, the NFLPA has a right to wonder if adding more games might not be healthy for the players.
It appears both sides are at odds about the importance of the players association to the situation. But with the possibility of the expanded playoffs in the coming seasons, we will find out just how important the NFLPA is in the voting process soon enough.