According to ESPN NFL Insider Chris Mortensen, the league is "urgently" discussing the idea of expanding the postseason field from 12 to 14 teams. Theoretically, this would add a third wild card team in each conference to join the four division champions. It would also give the team with the third seed a bye week, or remove the bye week from the second seeded team depending on how they apply it. One of the measures included is the removal of a fourth preseason game but keeping the 16-game regular season schedule.
Discussions are in largely in their infancy stages with a lot of things to work out but they could be "implemented as early as 2014 if the NFL can procure the necessary votes from team owners."
The league also would need to establish a new preseason scheduling formula, get sponsorship agreements and resolves a few stadium lease issues, sources said. The NFL's competition committee recommended the three-game preseason model as the minimum necessary period for player evaluation and development, sources said.
The current format was established in 2002 when re-alignment increased the number of divisions in each conference from three to four. Each division winner earned a postseason berth, along with two Wild Card teams that earned the best record (usually via tie-breakers) without winning their respective division as the fifth and sixth seed.