Current NFLPA president Eric Winston is open to expanding the playoff field. (Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
Eric Winston, the 30-year-old newly-elected president of the NFL Players Association, told Tom Pelissero of USA TODAY Sports on Wednesday that he will do everything in his power to prevent the league from expanding to an 18-game season.
In 2013, it was reported that the NFL is attempting to persuade the NFLPA to get on board with the idea of each team playing 18 games instead of the current 16 during the regular season. As part of the negotiating process with the NFLPA, Mike Florio of NBC Sports' ProFootballTalk.com reported last September that the league could shorten the preseason as part of the conditions to expand the regular season.
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While Winston is against expanding the regular season, he may be more open to the possibility of postseason expansion. The NFL Competition Committee, comprised of current NFL coaches and executives, is in favor of expanding the playoffs from 12 teams to 14. The topic will be discussed by team owners and other attendees to annual NFL meetings in Orlando next week, according to A.J. Perez of NJ.com.
While the NFLPA president has already taken a hard line against the expansion of regular season games, the association has yet to take an official stance on expanding the number of teams in the playoffs.
Winston, who started 119 consecutive games during his NFL career -- the second-longest streak for an active player -- told Pelissero that there are still many questions to be answered about the possible playoff expansion:
"How is that structured? How is that worked out? What are we talking about here? How's that other team getting in? I think it goes to a broad structure and it speaks differently than we're talking about having 32 teams play two more games apiece... That's something that will be looked at and looked at hard by the players because there are some guys that might want it. But if it's some broad stroke, then we're probably not going to go for it."SI WIRE: New Dallas Cowboy Henry Melton calls biting lawsuit ‘a money grab’