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Big Pete on the commissioner’s plans to expand the playoffs…
Today, Roger Goodell said that they are discussing the expansion of the NFL playoffs to either 14 or 16 teams. While I don’t know what is going through his brain, lets take a quick look at how this impacts the playoff structure as we know it.
As it stands, 6 teams in each conference make the playoffs with the #1 and #2 seeds having bye rounds. This leads to the #3, #4, #5, and #6 teams playing in the wild card round, with division winners enjoying home field advantage. The winners advance to the teams with the bye weeks.
If the playoffs are expanded, in order to keep conferences (AFC/NFC), they have to add a multiple of 6 to the playoffs, meaning 18 teams. That would mean that the top 3 seeds have bye weeks, and an extra 2 wildcard teams playing each other; the 3 winners in wild card weekend will advance.
In order to add an oddball number like 14 or 16, you’ll have to eliminate conferences altogether. This is the only way to make it happen without someone having a 2 week bye period in the playoffs.
While the idea of a Broncos/Patriots Super Bowl is definitely exciting to dream about, there are other issues that I see with eliminating conferences… The regular season schedule.
How would the regular season play out? You can’t very well give the playoff teams “1st place schedules”, or else the next year, all 16 playoff teams would just play themselves over and over again. Conversely, all the horrible teams would play themselves over and over again. This would dramatically dilute the quality of play in the playoffs, as there would be a handful of complete garbage teams making the playoffs each year because they were the “best of the worst.” The NFL would have to figure out a way to keep teams playing realistic schedules if they did away with conferences and just had a 1-16 playoff seeding.
What do you guys say? Tell me what I’m missing here. Are you for the playoff expansion? Do you think it dilutes an already fantastic system? Let us know in the comments below!