Sunday Morning Quarterback: Look out for No. 1in playoff format

That’s right, Patrick Peterson, with the likely addition of two teams to field, your Cards would not be shut out of postseason if you were to again finish seventh in NFC playoff picture.Jeff Gross/Getty Images That’s right, Patrick Peterson, with the likely addition of two teams to field, your Cards would not be shut out of postseason if you were to again finish seventh in NFC playoff picture.

One year from now, earning the No 1 seed in each conference is going to be like Jed Clampett hitting an oil gusher. It will be worth a fortune.

A high-level source told the Daily News it’s a certainty the NFL will be expanding the playoffs in 2015 from 12 teams up to 14, adding one wild-card team per conference and reducing the first-round byes from the top two seeds in the NFC and AFC to just the top seeds.

So, while it’s going to be a struggle for the Giants and Jets to make it to the Super Bowl tournament this season in what’s now a given as the final year of the current format, it’ll be easier next year.

Initially, the owners were expected to vote on the expanded playoffs at the Oct. 7-8 fall meetings in New York (they were moved from Detroit), but now it’s more likely the vote will be at the annual spring meeting in Phoenix on March 22-25. Intense discussion will take place at next month’s meeting regarding TV, scheduling, ticket sales and the impact of the extra wild-card teams on the competitive aspect.

Roger Goodell is pushing for the expansion and with the added television and ticket revenue that will be generated from the two extra wild-card games, he likely already has the 24 of 32 votes needed from the owners to get it passed. Even Giants co-owner John Mara, who prefers that things remain the same, conceded on Friday, “I don’t think it’s the end of the world if we expand.”

Dropping the No. 2 seed into the wild-card round will create the following format: 2 vs. 7, 3 vs. 6 and 4 vs. 5. The division winners will host the wild-card games. The lowest remaining seed will play the No. 1 seed in the second round. This formula would put a greater premium on getting the No. 1 seed.

The downside is watering down the playoffs. But when the NFL went to the current 12-team format in 1990, there were 28 teams. That meant 42.86% made the playoffs. The NFL is now 32 teams and with 14 making the playoffs, that’s 43.75%, pretty much a wash.

I originally thought this was a bad idea because what always made the NFL playoffs special is that it was so hard to get to January. But in most years, this will allow one more deserving team to have a shot at the trophy. Sure, every now and then an 8-8 team will make it as a wild-card, but also remember the Patriots were 11-5 in 2008 without Tom Brady and were left out. Last year, the Cardinals were 10-6 in the toughest division and didn’t make it.

It will be nearly impossible for a sub-500 team to earn a wild-card spot. The 2010 Seahawks won the NFC West with a 7-9 record and they are the only team with a losing record to ever make the playoffs in a non-strike year. An extra wild card will make the end of the season more compelling in the competition for the No. 1 seed and the No. 7 seed.

The NFLPA will never agree to an 18-game regular season, but it should be much easier getting the union to sign off on the playoff expansion.

This puts extra money in the players’ pockets, too. The NFL is pretty much an ATM machine.


Brady, who turned 37 last month and is in his 15th season, has it all figured out as to when he will retire. “When I suck, I’ll retire,” Brady said on his radio show last week. “But I don’t plan on sucking for a long time.” Brady and Peyton Manning, who have defined their era and are still the faces of the NFL, will meet again in the regular season on Nov. 2 in Foxborough. So, a couple of days after Brady decided he will stick around until he sucks, Manning, 38, and in his 17th season, was asked when he will know it’s time to give it up. “Brady said he was going to play until he … sucked,” Manning said. “That’s a pretty good line. I’m kind of the same feel. … Yeah, right until you suck – I think that’s a pretty good rule right there.” If sucking is the criteria, Brady and Manning will be around for another two or three years at least, as long as they stay healthy. … Darrelle Revis makes his Patriots debut in Miami in the same stadium where he played his last game for the Jets in 2012 when he tore his ACL in the third game of the season. It’s his first game back in Miami. “I got to redeem myself,” Revis said. “That’s how I am looking at it from tearing my ACL and it being such a big tragedy during that time, I do really think I need to redeem myself; I didn’t finish the game and I was out that whole year.”… Based on their 20-point victory over the Packers in the opener, it looks like the Seahawks are serious about becoming the first team to repeat as Super Bowl champions in the last 10 years.


The NFL and NFLPA are once again close to reaching an agreement to implement HGH testing as part of a revised drug policy. One of the holdups has been the union’s insistence that Goodell does not have final say on appeals and that they instead go to a neutral arbitrator. Another is the league wanting the right to discipline players arrested for DUI before the case is resolved in the legal system, which the union is opposed to. The sides agreed during the CBA negotiations in 2011 that HGH testing should be implemented. Two other big changes could be part of a new drug testing agreement: The threshold for a positive marijuana test would be raised. Browns receiver Josh Gordon was suspended for the 2014 season with a test that was barely over the limit. If the new parameters were in place, he would not have been suspended. Also, positive offseason tests for Adderall and other stimulants would shift to the substance abuse policy – there is no suspension for a first offense – from the PED policy, which comes with a four-game suspension for a first offense. If an agreement is reached soon, it will be interesting to see if the recent of suspensions of Gordon and Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker (PED four-game suspension for a positive offseason test for an amphetamine) will be rescinded or adjusted. Positive tests for stimulants during the season would still be a violation of the PED policy and result in a four-game suspension.


Goodell always said owners and executives are held to a higher standard and he hit Indy’s Jimmy Irsay harshly after Irsay pleaded guilty last week to a misdemeanor count of driving while impaired. Irsay was suspended for six games, fined $500,000 and will be drug-tested, much more than Goodell is allowed to discipline a player under the CBA. “Well, not only would (a player) not have been suspended, but (it) would’ve been a $50,000 fine,” Goodell said. “Jim Irsay will be subjected to the same testing, same program, $500,000 fine and six-game suspension. It’s clearly a lot higher. Now, we want to increase that discipline for first-time offenders on DUIs for players also. That’s something we have addressed in the 2011 CBA and when we hopefully get the drug program implemented fully, we’ll be able to get that done.” The $500,000 was the maximum under NFL rules that Goodell was allowed to fine Irsay, who is one of Goodell’s bosses. The owners should give Goodell the leeway to fine them up to $1 million. … The Colts are 12th on Forbes’ list with a value of $1.4 billion. Irsay won’t need to take out a loan to write the $500,000 check… Perhaps the greatest buys in team sports: Jerry Jones bought the Cowboys for $140 million (which included the lease to Texas Stadium) in 1989. Forbes has them valued at $3.2 billion. In 1991, Robert Tisch purchased 50% of the Giants for $75 million. Forbes has the Giants at No. 4 at $2.1 billion. Woody Johnson has almost tripled his money in the 14 years he’s owned the Jets. He bought the team from Leon Hess’ estate in 2000 for $635 million. They check in at No. 6 on the Forbes list at $1.8 billion. Imagine what they would be worth if they could ever get back to the Super Bowl.

NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpiCorey Sipkin/New York Daily News Rex Ryan wants you wearing white on Sunday at MetLife Stadium.


Rex Ryan’s recorded message to season ticket holders asking them to wear white for Sunday’s game against the Raiders to create a white-out at MetLife is so small-town and so not New York. Forcing the Raiders to wear their black uniforms on a hot day, on the other hand, is a fine idea. … Look for teams to sign veteran street free agents this week. Vested veterans on opening day rosters are guaranteed their salary for the season. Players who sign starting in Week 2 go week-to-week… Now that Santonio Holmes has made the Bears and is listed as a second-teamer on the depth chart behind Brandon Marshall, it should be quite a warm and fuzzy reunion when the Jets host Chicago on Monday, Sept. 22. I wonder if the Jets will do a video tribute to Holmes before the game. There is so much good stuff to choose from, starting with his teammates throwing him out of the huddle in Miami in the 2011 season finale. On the flip side, he was outstanding in year one for the Jets in 2010, but still not worth the five-year, $45 million contract he received. The Jets’ locker room is a much friendlier place with Holmes 800 miles away.


The Patriots received only a conditional seventh-round pick from the Texans for Ryan Mallett after Bill Belichick was satisfied that rookie Jimmy Garoppolo was ready to be Brady’s backup. The Texans were always the most logical spot for Mallett: rookie coach Bill O’Brien was the Patriots’ offensive coordinator in Mallett’s rookie year in 2011 and quarterbacks coach George Godsey was an offensive assistant in New England for three years coaching Mallett. Mallett is a free agent after the season, so unless Houston gets off to a great start with journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick, I would expect O’Brien to get Mallett on the field to see what he’s got. O’Brien didn’t draft a QB until taking Pitt’s Tom Savage in the fourth round. O’Brien passed on Derek Carr with the first pick in the second round. Carr was taken three spots later by the Raiders and then beat out Matt Schaub, whom O’Brien traded to Oakland, and will start against the Jets. Two of Brady’s former backups are starting season openers over first-round rookies: Matt Cassel in Minnesota and Brian Hoyer in Cleveland.

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