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Chalk Talk

Chalk Talk: Will losing teams make playoffs?

Wondering about a player, a past game or another issue involving the Bears? Senior writer Larry Mayer answers a variety of questions from fans on ChicagoBears.com.

If the new CBA is adopted and a seventh team is added to the playoffs in each conference, do you think that will result in more losing teams reaching the postseason?
Nicholas W.
Wheaton, Illinois

No, I don't believe that will happen. I did some research and looked back at the 20 teams that would have made the playoffs as the seventh seeds in both conferences over the past 10 seasons and none of them had a losing record. Of the 20, 15 had winning records and five were 8-8. Five of those clubs went 10-6, including the last Bears team that would have secured the No. 7 spot—the 2012 squad that beat the Lions on the final day of the season but was eliminated from the playoffs later in the day when the Vikings defeated the Packers.

When was the last time the NFL increased the number of games it plays in a season? I can't remember a time the season wasn't 16 games.
Danny T.
Schaumburg, Illinois

You probably can't remember a pre-16-game schedule because you're a lot younger than me! The NFL switched from 14 to 16 games in 1978. Prior to that, teams played 12 games for 14 seasons from 1947-60 and 14 games for 18 years from 1961-77.

With free agency not beginning for a while, how was Greg Olsen able to sign with the Seahawks?
Jacquel

Tight end Greg Olsen didn't have to wait until the start of the new league year on March 18 to sign with a new team because he was released by the Panthers. It's the same situation with cornerback Prince Amukamara and receiver Taylor Gabriel, who are both permittef to sign with any NFL team immediately after being released by the Bears on Friday. The only players who have to wait until March 18 to join another team are those who are due to become unrestricted free agents because their contracts are set to expire.

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