Should The NFL Expand The Playoffs To Include More Teams?
The NFL isn’t like other sports. Unlike the NBA that seemingly allows the entire league into the playoffs at the end of every season, the NFL only invites the cream of the crop when January rolls around. If you win your division—no matter how good or how crappy your record is—you make the playoffs. That means that, every year, both the AFC and the NFC have four division winners. Then, the NFL also awards two wild-card playoff spots to two other deserving teams in each conference. It’s designed to allow for two more good teams to make the playoffs while also giving the top two squads in each conference a bye week. It all works out very well and rarely are there teams who actually deserve a spot in the playoffs left on the outside looking in.
But now, the NFL is reportedly considering making a change that would expand the NFL Playoffs to include more teams. “Right now, we’re with 12 teams obviously,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said after a meeting in Dallas earlier this week. “We’ll look at probably 14 or 16 teams.”
For NFL fans, that might sound like a great idea. More teams in the playoffs obviously means more playoff games and more action to watch. But, is it good for the game of football? I’d argue no. Already, the NFL has a ton of parity. Just look at a team like the New York Giants that, twice in the last five years, has managed to turn a low seed into a Super Bowl victory. NFL is a game of momentum, and lower seeds have been known to crash the playoff party and wreak havoc. That’s all well and good if that team is, say, the winner of the NFC East. But, if that team stunk all season, started off the year 3-6, and then miraculously rebounded to make the playoffs at 8-8, do they really deserve the opportunity to play in the playoffs? I’d say no.
I’m all for more NFL playoff action. But, at the same time, I don’t want to see the playoffs ruined. In football, “any given Sunday” is a phrase that’s thrown around often. And, it’s because it’s true. Any NFL team can beat any other NFL team on any given Sunday. And, while that’s all well and good during the regular season, I don’t want to see 8-8 or, worse, 7-9 teams playing in playoff games and winning them. They don’t deserve to be there—and I hope the NFL works to keep them out.