There will be labor peace in the NFL for at least the next decade.
The NFL Players Association announced Sunday morning that its members had approved the new collective bargaining agreement. It was close, with only 60 votes separating those that wanted it approved and those that didn’t. Of the 1,978 that submitted votes, 1,019 voted yes.
While players will get a bigger piece of the revenue pie and see significant increases in minimum salaries, the most notable aspects of the new deal for fans will be the expanded playoffs and a 17-game season.
Starting in 2020, the playoffs will go from 12 teams to 14 teams. Instead of the top two teams in each conference getting a bye, only the top seed will. That means there will be six games on Wild Card weekend instead of four. Had this been in place for 2019, the Packers would not have gotten a bye and would have played the Los Angeles Rams in the first round.
There is no definite start date for the 17-game season, though we know it won’t be in 2020. When it does go into effect, there will still only be one bye week for teams, though there will also be one fewer preseason game. Teams will play an uneven number of home and road games, with some years playing eight at home and nine on the road and vice versa.
Several Packers had been outspoken against the deal, including quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who serves as the team’s NFLPA representative. Tackle David Bakhtiari also came out against it, as did former Packers offensive lineman T.J. Lang.