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NFL Mulls Cutting Preseason, Expanding Playoffs

(Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)(Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
(Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)Photo by Scott Winters—Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Big changes could be coming to the NFL.

The league, players and owners are discussing cutting the preseason to just three games and expanding the number of teams in the playoffs from 12 to 14, according to NFL.com. And players and owners appear open to the idea.

The talks are part of the a bargaining session that began today in Chicago. No formal proposals have been made yet and it’s unlikely a deal will be set by the league’s season opener on Sept. 5.

The NFL would also like to expand the regular season to 17 or 18 games from the current 16, but players haven’t warmed to that idea.

While issues like these will impact fans the most, the parties still are reportedly not close on the issue that’s most central to them—how to split league revenue as part of the next collective bargaining agreement. So it could be a while before any changes to the pre- or post-season are finalized.

The NFL has been mired in controversy for the past several years, first with Colin Kaepernick‘s collusion grievances (which were settled in February), then a growing number of players protesting by kneeling during the National [hotlink ignore=true]Anthem[/hotlink]. Television ratings for games, meanwhile, have dwindled.

Some competitors, like WWE’s Vince McMahon, see this as weakness as an opportunity, which was a catalyst in his decision to bring back the XFL nearly two decades after it faded away. That league will begin games next year.

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