There has been a lot of talk about numerous team's decision to bench their starters and play their backups.
I do NOT agree with this decision.
The competitive integrity has been compromised, the fans are livid, and the opponents are embarrassed.
I am not saying that you have to play all of your starters, or even any of them, but give the fans a heads up that you won’t be playing them.
True, I would be upset if I was a true Patriots fans, and my star receiver is out for all of post-season because he got hurt in a meaningless game. However, I would also be upset if I paid $250 for a ticket and had to watch the third string QB throw to a third string receiver.
Another problem I have is the way the decision is affecting the integrity of the game.
For the sake of competitive integrity, they need to actually show up and play each game.
Is it fair that the Jets got to play the Colts and the Bengals, both teams having won their division and clinched their spot in the playoffs?
I don’t think it is. Not when the Steelers and the Dolphins have to play each other, both teams fighting for a spot, and both teams needing the Jets to lose to make it to the playoffs.
I am not saying that the Bengals didn’t try, but they would have tried a lot harder if they didn’t already know their post-season fate.
I also think that a lot of the late games have an unfair advantage over the early games.
The late games already know who won, who was eliminated and who needs to win. In the English Premier League and FIFA, all of the games in the last week of the season are played at the same time.
While this may cause a loss of revenue for the NFL, it would preserve the competitive integrity of the game, which I think is much more important to the fans.
This may not solve the problems with teams like the Saints and the Colts, who already clinched spots much earlier in the season, but it would eliminate issues with the majority of the teams fighting for a playoff spot.
Maybe you lose the first round bye if you sit all of your starters, or you lose home field advantage if you rest them in the last two weeks of the season.
Another solution would be incentives. The teams who play their starters for at least half of the game would receive an extra time out in the post season. Or for every game you win after you clinch your playoff spot you get an extra time out or an extra challenge.
I don’t have the perfect solution, but I do know is that the competitive integrity of the game is now compromised, and something needs to change.
If baseball, with all the steroid issues and cheating issues can have unwritten rules to protect the integrity, you would think that football would be able to as well.