NFL Playoffs

NFL Playoff Format Needs To Be Tweaked

SEATTLE, WA - JANUARY 08:  Quarterback Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints walks off the field after the Saints were defeated 41-36 by the Seattle Seahawks during the 2011 NFC wild-card playoff game at Qwest Field on January 8, 2011 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
Cliff EasthamSenior Writer IIJanuary 10, 2011

The current playoff implemented by the NFL is lacking.

The way it is now, each of the four division winners in both the NFC and the AFC reach the playoffs and all four are assured of a home game in the first round. The two teams with the best record receive first-round byes.

The third and fourth best records (of the division winners) host a wild-card team.

It makes no sense at all to see a team such as the New Orleans Saints with a record of 11-5 playing a wild card game at a division winner such as the Seattle Seahawks with a ridiculous record of 7-9. Does anyone else see the complete lack of reasoning here?

I realize that the Seahawks upset the defending Super Bowl Champs but it still should not have been played in Washington.

For your perusal and edification I would like to propose some changes.

First, the only thing that winning a division will get you is a pennant to flap in the breeze in your stadium. Just  because you are the best of the worst gives you no entitlement here, sir.

The only purpose the divisional format would serve is geographical. If you win the division, albeit with a record that is under water, then you can raise your banner high. If, however, your record is not one of the top six in the conference you call home, you may watch the playoffs with your wife and kids on television.

It is the pinnacle of absurdity to have the team with the second best record in the conference playing an away game in the opening round. It takes absurdity to a new level to make them play that away game against a lesser qualified opponent.

Am I saying that the Seahawks do not belong in the playoffs. Yes indeedy!

I am also saying that the Saints should be the second-seeded team. You see, I am ranking them by their records, then applying tie breakers in the case of identical records.

In my playoffs, the NFC first round would pit (six) Tampa Bay at (three) Chicago and (five) Philadelphia at (four) Green Bay.

In the next round (one) Atlanta would play the Tampa Bay-Chicago survivor in Atlanta, and (two) New Orleans would play the Philadelphia-Green Bay winner in New Orleans.

Winners would play in the highest remaining seed's home town.

Doesn’t that sound reasonable? If not, why even play the regular season, if it is meaningless? As you can see, in my prototype, the only change in personnel would be the Bucs in and the Seahawks out.

The ranking by wins (performance) may seem new-age, but I believe that is the way it all started.

The AFC had it right in terms of who should play but wrong in where they play. The Jets should have hosted the Colts and the Ravens should have been home against the Chiefs.

I would like to see it changed, but I doubt it will. Call me old-fashioned but I don’t see the benefit of rewarding a team just because they are from the worst division in the game.

This article can also be found at My Two Cents.

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