I have no adjectives to utter, in reaction to the 2010-2011 NFL playoff format, other than "disgraceful, outrageous, unrighteous and embarrassing!"
For the first time in NFL history, a team with a LOSING record will be competing in the postseason. The Seattle Seahawks, fresh off their 16-6 victory over the St. Louis Rams in Week 17, improved their regular season record to 7-9 clinching the NFC West. The playoff berth that the Seahawks clinched not only extends their season by one week but also gives them an extra home game. Under NFL rules, regardless of regular season record, the division winner automatically hosts a Wild Card playoff game.
So, who is Seattle's opponent? New Orleans!!! That is right! The defending champions with an 11-5 record (four games better than the Seahawks) will be traveling to Seattle for the Wild Card playoff game!
So, readers may ask, "What is the controversy, Thomas, since these are the rules the NFL set forth?"
True! No rule has been broken here. This is the format the NFL went with. However, one has to ask whether or not this format is good for the game! It does not take a brain surgeon to question the wisdom of rules that allow a team with a winning percentage below .500 to not only clinch a playoff berth but gain an extra advantage of hosting a playoff game!!!
Let us have a frank discussion about the NFL regular season. How long is it? 16 games? In order to avoid a losing season, a team must win at least eight of the 16 games. I have news for you. That is NOT a tall order. If a team does not hit that mark, that team should be deemed ineligible for postseason play! End of story! If a team in whatever sport loses more than half of its games, is that indicative of a good season or bad season? Seriously, even if you are a Seattle Seahawks fan, do you honestly classify this season as successful? Do you feel that you have earned a playoff spot?
Should a division leading team with a losing record be disqualified from postseason play if it finishes the season with a losing record?
Let me illustrate how PATHETIC the NFC playoff picture is right now by order of seeding:
(1) Atlanta Falcons (Point Differential: +126)
(2) Chicago Bears (Point Differential: +48)
(3) Philadelphia Eagles (Point Differential: +62)
(4) Seattle Seahawks (Point Differential: -97)
(5) New Orleans Saints (Point Differential: +77)
(6) Green Bay Packers (Point Differential: +148)
When a team finishes with a losing record and, on aggregate, allows nearly 100 more points than points scored for the entirety of a regular season, that means that the team royally stunk! That means that team has not even an ounce of being a championship-caliber team! It is a disgrace to the NFL that such a team could even be considered a contender among five more deserving squads in the NFC for a shot at the Super Bowl. It is true that the rules of the NFL were followed...but by golly, it stinks to high Heaven! What a disgrace!