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One potential playoff format change: Wildcard weekend could go into Monday night

The NFL is NFL’ing again.

NFL: JAN 11 NFC Divisional Playoff - Vikings at 49ers Photo by Kiyoshi Mio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

NBC Sports Peter King mentioned in his weekly Football Morning in America Column that the NFL is thinking of having playoff games on Monday night. With the new playoff format, assuming it passes, there will only be one bye week, and that means the second seed will face the seventh seed in the Wildcard round. Here is the format the NFL is proposing:

Two, regarding the playoffs: I’m told it’s possible the league will use either a 3-3 wild-card weekend system for the games or 2-3-1. In other words, either three games Saturday and three Sunday, or two Saturday and three Sunday and one Monday night. It’s not ideal, of course, designing a system with short-week playoff games. But the way the league figures it, four teams annually play short-week playoff games on wild-card weekend (playing Sunday in Week 17 and Saturday on wild-card weekend), and the Ravens played a short-week road game in the divisional round when they won the Super Bowl eight years ago.

But there’s one problem with a Monday night wild-card playoff game. In the 2020 season, the Monday night game would be the same night as the NCAA championship game for college football. Would the NFL dare go head-to-head with the college ratings monster? Would they have a staredown to see if the NCAA would move the game to, say, Tuesday night? Or would they not want to antagonize the leaders of college football by trying to strongarm them into moving their game?

I get wanting to tinker your product and continue to improve, but this is getting out of hand. All I read was the NFL getting greedy and wanting to maximize revenue. A Monday night football game? Even though there isn’t a Sunday or Monday night Wildcard game and wasn’t as long as I’ve been alive.

I can already see Saints’ fans complaining about the competitive disadvantage they’re at from having to play Monday night in the Wildcard then going on the road with a short rest in the Divisional round the next week. Yes, it happens in Week 17 then the next week in the Wildcard round. The difference is one team won’t be coming off a bye.

History has shown us that playing on a short rest off Monday night football creates disadvantages. Of course, the NFL wouldn’t discuss that. Another issue would be that the college football national championship game is held the Monday night after Wildcard weekend. NFL remains king, but why would you want to lose any possible ratings? A fun idea for the fans so we can watch playoff games three days in a row—but it’s yet another sign that the players are an afterthought in the NFL’s decision making.