Commissioner Roger Goodell's position on playoff expansion has gradually pushed the door open for the possibility of instituting the change as soon as the 2014 season.
With owners set to discuss the idea at the NFL Spring Meeting in Atlanta on May 20, one concern is whether expansion would dilute the competitive nature of the postseason.
Pointing out that the league is "very cautious about that," Goodell refuted the notion that the additional playoff spots would offer inferior competition.
"I think what we're seeing now is such a competitive league that a team that got in on the 13th or 14th spot has a chance to win it all," Goodell said Friday. "... The reality is there are a lot of teams that other playoff teams are afraid of coming in in those 13th and 14th spots."
Last year's results bolster Goodell's point.
Taking it a step further, three consecutive Super Bowl champions failed to win more than 10 regular-season games from 2010 to 2012.
Fans should begin bracing for the expanded playoffs because Goodell suggested the proposal has enough support to pass.
"What we're doing now is talking to partners, our networks and our players," Goodell explained, "and making sure that, when we do it, we do it right."