Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The NFL Needs to Change their Playoff Structure

Drew Brees Signed Picture - 8x10 Breaking YardsThe NFC South is becoming a huge embarrassment to the NFL. All the teams in the division have a losing record and the 2-9 Tampa Bay Buccaneers are still in the hunt to win the division and make the playoffs.

The two leading teams in the NFC South are the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints, both with records of 4-7. The best record either team could muster would be 9-7 but that seems highly unlikely.

I believe that winner of this division will finish with a losing record, probably 7-9 or 6-10. For a team with a record of 6-10 to potentially make the playoffs and host a playoff game is ridiculous and embarrassing for the NFL.

When teams like Seattle, San Francisco, Detroit, Dallas or Philadelphia risk missing the playoffs due to teams like Atlanta and New Orleans making the playoffs makes this fan angry.

Playoff Structure Needs a Tweak

I know the NFL loves divisional rivalries and wants to reward the division winner for making it through the grind in their divisions. I'm not going to say that the structure needs to change greatly. A little tweak could solve the issue of a pathetic team making the playoffs.

So what do I propose? Keep the structure basically the same but change the rules so that if a team in the Wild Card hunt finishes with a better record than a division winner, that team takes the place of the division winner in the playoffs.

Then the next two teams in the Wild Card hunt get playoff berths, while the division leader gets to see the game from their living rooms.

There is one caveat here. The potential Wild Card teams would have to finish the regular season with a winning record to be considered for replacing the divisional leader.

You might not think that this makes sense but there is a possibility of a team finishing 6-10 or 7-9 and having three teams at 9-7 being in the playoff hunt. In my scenario the 6-10 team would still make the playoffs and host a home game.

I believe that this system would require minimal changes to the existing structure and it would be rare for a division leader to miss the playoffs. It would take a season like this one for that to happen.

Giving a Poor Team a Second Chance

I'm all for second chances...usually and not necessarily when it comes to teams making the playoffs. What the NFL is doing with its current structure is rewarding a team that failed in the regular season a chance at running the tables in the playoffs.

Arizona did that in the 2008 NFL regular season. They finished 8-8 and marched their way to the Super Bowl. All they needed to do was to play a few good games.

I think the New Orleans Saints are a team that could take advantage of making the playoffs after a terrible regular season. Sure they've played some bad games and have lost 3 straight at home but when you have a quarterback in Drew Brees, you don't want to give him too many chances to right the ship.

I think that any outcome that allows any NFC South team to make the playoffs is flawed and one that could potentially yield a Super Bowl champion is pathetic.

It's time for the NFL to male some tweaks to its current NFL playoff structure.

NFL Playoff Structure

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