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Should The NFL Prevent Teams With Records Under .500 From Making The Playoffs?

Submitted by on December 21, 2014 – 9:23 amNo Comment

The Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints, and Carolina Panthers are all battling for the NFC South crown right now and trying to clinch a spot in the playoffs. So at the moment, people should be excited about what’s taking place in the NFC South. It’s not often that you see three teams from the same division fighting over one playoff spot with just two weeks remaining the season. However, the NFC South has become a laughingstock this season, so people aren’t all that interested in seeing how the South is going to shake out. Instead, they’re wondering how three teams who currently have losing records (the Saints are 6-8, the Panthers are 5-8-1, and the Falcons are 5-9) are still alive in the playoff hunt. And they’re wondering whether or not that team should even have a chance to play in the postseason.

A few years ago, a similar scenario played out in the NFC West when the Seattle Seahawks and St. Louis Rams were both battling for a playoff spot despite their mediocre records. And now, it’s happening again. So we have to ask: Should the NFL prevent average teams from making the playoffs even if they win their division? Or should they continue to let division winners get into the playoffs while keeping good teams who might have better records than division winners out?

On the one hand, teams like the Falcons, Saints, and Panthers probably don’t deserve to be in the playoffs this season. They haven’t shown that they have what it takes to be there and they will be, in essence, stealing a spot in the postseason. But there’s also an argument to made for each of those teams making the playoffs. Because while they might not have the best record, they’re doing whatever it takes to beat out the competition in their own division. This year, that division just so happens to be down and out. But next year, it could be a different division that’s in the same situation. And there’s something to be said for a team winning their division, regardless of how good or bad it is. So even though it might not seem fair for a bad Atlanta, New Orleans, or Carolina team to make the playoffs, they should still have the opportunity to do it, if they win their division.

What do you think about the idea of mediocre NFL teams making the postseason simply because they win their division? Should the NFL change the rules to keep them out—or is the system that’s in place now good enough?

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