For Roger Goodell, playoff expansion isn't a matter of if, but when. While expanded playoffs are bound to happen in the near future, that move won't come to fruition just yet.
The NFL commissioner revealed that the league won't expand its playoff structure for the 2014 season. Thursday Night Football is more of a priority for the immediate future, per NFL: Around the League:
However, Goodell did mention that 2015 might be the year that the postseason adds more teams, per Newsday's Rob Glauber:
This raises a couple of issues.
First, it goes against the idea of player safety. Adding more games, especially at the end of the season, when guys have already withstood a 16-game regular season, would seem to put the players' health in jeopardy.
NFL.com's Ian Rapoport reported that Goodell and DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the NFL Players Association, have talked about playoff expansion:
The NFLPA has yet to receive any sort of formal proposal, though, per NFL.com's Albert Breer:
Goodell will undoubtedly have push-back from the union when he takes more concrete steps toward increasing the number of postseason games. Getting the players on his side will be tough to do initially.
The other issue with playoff expansion is the prospect of watering down the competition. As Benjamin Allbright pointed out, almost 38 percent of the league already makes the postseason as it is:
At what point does getting a playoff spot become too easy?
Since this idea is only in the formative stage, a lot could change over the coming weeks and months. Goodell is almost trying to brace the public and his constituents for the movement that is about to come.
Too much money is on the line to not have playoff expansion happen at some point down the road, whether it's in 2015, 2016 or sometime thereafter. Goodell is constantly looking for new streams of revenue, and adding postseason games is one of the easiest ways to do so.