December 30, 2013

Don't we want the best?

Jim Geraghty in today's [e-mailed] "Morning Jolt":

I still lean towards the idea that the NFL playoffs should consist of the six best teams in each conference, or perhaps even the best twelve teams in the league, regardless of conference. As it stands now, the 12-4 Forty-Niners will be traveling to Green Bay to play the 8-7-1 Packers, who get the home field game because they won the NFC North. Meanwhile, the 11-5 Saints will travel to Philadelphia to play the 10-6 Eagles.

I've always hated the fact that, like Geraghty says, a team like the Niners -- three and half games better than the Packers -- would have to play away for their first playoff game. The current division set-up penalizes teams in a particular division who all may be good, and rewards at least one team in a crummy division. For a few years there, the NFC West (where my fave team, the Rams, resides) was a doormat, its division winner once having a pathetic record of 7-9. Now, however, three of its four teams could (should?) have been in the playoffs. (Arizona had a better record than Green Bay and the same record as the Eagles.)

The question is, how to perfect the system that Geraghty ponders. I think it would be a lot easier to maintain the conference system and take the best six teams from each than just the twelve best teams from the league overall. Why not just dissolve divisions and have the NFC and AFC? Existing tie-break procedures could all be maintained except the best division record. For instance, the heirarchy could be 1) head-to-head, 2) conference record, 3) interconference record, 4) best point differential. Then again, if you want the best twelve teams overall regardless of conference, you could still utilize conferences merely for tie-break issues. I mean, if the NFC has eight of the twelve playoff teams, does anyone care ... if these dozen are the best teams in the NFL? Not I.

Posted by Hube at December 30, 2013 11:40 AM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

I agree. I've never liked how an 8-8 team can get in the playoffs but a 10-6 team can't. The Cardinals should've made it.

Posted by: Carl at December 30, 2013 01:21 PM

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