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NFL Competition Committee is looking into a 16-team playoff system as a contingency plan

(Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)

The NFL Competition Committee had a virtual meeting on Monday to discuss a contingency plan of having a 16-team playoff system if games were to be canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Mike Tomlin, who is a part of the Competition Committee said they are just doing their due diligence if outbreaks were to occur and the league would have to stop play for a few weeks or possibly months.

"I don't have a lot of detailed information in that regard," Tomlin said on Tuesday during his weekly press conference when asked about the Competition Committee meeting. "We did have a conference call yesterday and talked about some significant things in terms of playoff structuring and seeding if some things should develop. That's the key ... if some things should develop. We're just doing our due diligence. There are a lot of people in New York that are working extremely hard behind the scenes to keep all options available to us."

The league, of course, would like to have the rest of the season played out with no games being canceled. However, the pandemic is still very much alive, and earlier this week Ravens' cornerback Marlon Humphrey tweeted that he tested positive for COVID-19 and seven close contacts on the roster were identified to Humphrey. Those players can't practice this week and would have to pass five days of testing to be eligible to play on Sunday.

"Our desire obviously is to play a complete schedule, I think 256 games," Tomlin said. "But we're putting some components in place that really highlight competitive fairness and we think answer the challenge if we should end up there. But that's a big if.

"Our focus is working our tails off not only in terms of staying clean and doing the things we need to do procedurally from a COVID standpoint but also just keeping an eye on what is going on globally. Our desire is to play each and every football game."

Tomlin said he has no issues with the protocols the league has implemented to help play a season in the middle of a global pandemic.

"Let me be clear here," Tomlin said. "I am extremely pleased with the efforts of the National Football League in response to the pandemic and the steps we are taking continually. And they are continually growing and changing and developing as needed. I have no issue with what we are doing in that area."

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