Taylor: Expanded Playoff Comes At "A Perfect Time"

Ike Taylor explains why expanding the NFL playoff from 12 to 14 teams is the right decision

After Hours With Amy Lawrence
April 01, 2020 - 7:57 am
Lamar Jackson Ravens

USA Today Images


The NFL has voted to expand its playoff format from 12 to 14 teams beginning in the 2020 season. Under the new format, only the 1-seed in each conference will get a bye; the 2-seed will host the 7-seed, the 3-seed will host the 6-seed and the 4-seed will host the 5-seed.


“I think it’s at the right time because it’s a change of guards in the older quarterbacks to the younger, new, exciting quarterbacks,” former NFL player Ike Taylor said on After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “The Tom Bradys, the Big Bens, Drew Brees, Russell Wilson – but you could put Russell Wilson with this second generation of Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson and Lamar Jackson. I think it’s at a perfect time, to be honest with you.”

While the new playoff format will usher in a new era, it will also make life much more difficult for 2-seeds – or so you might think. Taylor, who won two Super Bowls with the Steelers, says a playoff bye isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be.

“It depends on how you look at it,” he said. “For me, when I was playing, I liked to stay in a rhythm. I think a lot of players and a lot of coaches who played football, who coach it now, they always talk about a rhythm. If you just look at the Tennessee Titans last year, they just caught a rhythm. They stayed in that rhythm. If you look at us in 2005 when we won a Super Bow, even though we was the sixth seed, we stayed in a rhythm. When you’ve got two weeks off or a week off, you kind of get out of rhythm – and the rhythm is the game rhythm. There’s a difference between having practice rhythm and game rhythm. Some teams, they can do it.”

The New England Patriots, for example, have more or less mastered it over the last 20 years.

“They’ve been doing it for so many years, it really didn’t matter whether it was a 16-0 1-seed; they would get on a rhythm regardless,” Taylor said. “But not every team is like that. For us, Pittsburgh, we had to get in a rhythm. That’s playing every week. So it just depends on the team and the coaching staff and the surrounding players if they all can stay in that same rhythm.”

One benefit to only one team getting a bye? The regular season will be that much more competitive.

“Now you got a dog fight every week,” Taylor said. “I’m not going to say every team every takes it for granted as far as getting the seed, but everybody is trying to get to the top of that pyramid to get that seed now.”