It’s been a busy offseason for the Cleveland Browns, and it’s about to get a whole lot busier as the NFL’s new playoff structure is implemented.
The NFL announced that Thursday night’s game between the Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers was blocked by the NCAA because it violated a rule that requires all teams in college football to be playing games.
The rule was enacted after a spate of NCAA violations, and the league is now considering whether to revoke its approval for the Browns to play, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Cleveland had a bye week after its season ended and the Browns played the next two games against the New Orleans Saints and Oakland Raiders.
They lost both of those games.
The Browns lost both games, including a 24-13 loss to the Steelers.
The league released a statement Friday that read, “The NCAA has blocked the Browns game, which is a scheduled non-conference game in the AFC North, because it violates NCAA Rule 3.3.5(c) which requires teams in the conference to be at least 16-game winning teams in their regular season.”
The Browns are a 16-0 team this season.
The Steelers are a 17-1 team and are the only undefeated team in the NFL.
In the preseason, the Steelers were expected to be favored over the Browns, but they were not.
The Browns are 0-8 in their last 10 regular-season games.
They’ve beaten the Raiders in the playoffs before, but have yet to defeat the Browns.
The Steelers have been one of the NFL games more successful teams this season than the Browns because they have been able to stay on the field and get the footballs out of the stadium in the final seconds of games.
It’s also helped that the Steelers are winning games against teams that are not on the playoff bubble.
The NFL is scheduled to meet again with the NCAA later this month, which could lead to a new ruling on Thursday’s game.
The NCAA is currently in the process of reviewing its decision.