Blog Entry

'Hawks give NFL good reason to fix playoff seeds

Posted on: January 2, 2011 11:53 pm
Edited on: January 2, 2011 11:56 pm
Posted by Will Brinson

First of all, hats off to the Seattle Seahawks for showing up on Sunday night and beating St. Louis. They're 7-9, but they're the NFC West champions and they're going to the playoffs.

No one can take that away from them.

But someone (like, say Roger Goodell) can stop people from being forced to watch a team with a losing record host a home playoff game ever again. And it needs to happen as soon as the final whistle for the Super Bowl blows, because, frankly, it's embarrassing that the Saints will travel to Seattle next week.

I'm actually not staunchly opposed to the idea that if you win your division, you get in the playoffs. Andy and I have argued at length over this during pretty much every podcast since it became apparent someone was going to limp into the playoffs with a terrible record out of the NFC West. And, for me at least, the whole "it's cyclical" explanation works fine.

Every team -- except for the 49ers -- in this putrid division has been in a Super Bowl at least once over the last decade, and San Francisco has more than enough historical success to make up for their recent terrible play.

It's also clear that the Cardinals are a quarterback away from not being horrible, and you could say the same for the Niners. The Rams could dominate the division once they find some actual playmakers who have hands, and the Seahawks, well, heck, they already won their division title.

So let's not go and blow things up and simply take the top-six teams in each conference, because that defeats the entire purpose of having divisions.

But it's absolutely imperative that the NFL determine some manner to re-seed the playoffs beginning in the next season. There's no possible way to say that the Seahawks are better than either the Packers or Saints, and yet New Orleans, who didn't fall short of the No. 1 overall NFC seed, actually has to travel to Seattle on a short week to play in front of a rowdy crowd.

Could the Seahawks win? Sure. It's the NFL and anyone can win. But that doesn't mean that seeding teams in a blatantly inaccurate manner based on an antiquated notion that winning your division equals a home game is the way keep going.

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Since: Feb 23, 2007
Posted on: January 3, 2011 9:49 am

Stupid Stupid Stupid

First, owners will not vote to change the format of a home game for division winner, it won't change, it gives teams added incentive to win their division.  Second, there's too much "It's Not Fair!" when it comes to playoff schedule.  Cream will always and forever rise to the top, it doesn't matter who or when you face a team, you need to win in the playoffs Period!

Since: Oct 23, 2006
Posted on: January 3, 2011 9:42 am

'Hawks give NFL good reason to fix playoff seeds

If you will recall, the 2008 superbowl was gift-wrapped for Pittsburgh due to this insane system.

THe #1 seed Titans had to play 11-5 Baltimore in the divisional round while the #2 seed Steelers were rewarded with 8-8 "division winner" San Diego Chargers that weekend. Pitt won, Tenn lost, Pitt got another homegame for the AFC. They won that game because the one good team in the NFL they can actually beat is Baltimore, and then they faced a 9-7 Cardinals team in the superbowl.

Since: Oct 23, 2006
Posted on: January 3, 2011 9:40 am

'Hawks give NFL good reason to fix playoff seeds

I have no problem with a bad division winner hosting a playoff game. You won your division -- that's the reward.

What i do have a problem with is the divisional round format.  If the Ravens and Colts win this weekend,as an example, the 12-4 Ravens go to New England while the 10-6 Colts go to Pittsburgh. That is ridiculous. And lets pretend Green Bay beats Philly while Seattle stuns New Orleans.

You guessed it -- the Falcons reward for winning their conference is 10-6 red hot Green Bay while Chicago gets 7-9 Seattle.

That's got to change.

Since: Oct 5, 2006
Posted on: January 3, 2011 9:21 am

'Hawks give NFL good reason to fix playoff seeds

Two issues here, neither valid for change because both usually work just fine.  First, 4-team divisions create a lot more interest and make the last games of the regular season meaningful.  Sometimes, apparently, a losing team gets in.  A year or two back the whining was about teams locking in early and taking the last few games off.  Stuff happens -- but it works and it's interesting.

Second, home field.  Keep applying to this first round.  The "prize" for winning one's division.  This year the Saints knew what they needed to do.  It didn't happen.  So they play in Seattle.  Subsequent rounds -- sure go with the best record.  Pretty much works that way anyway.

What ought to be changed though after round 1 is the AFC/NFC thing.  This has no current relevance.  We have 8 divisions, but 1 league.  In the beginning it was the old school NFL versus upstart AFL.  If there were no inter-conference games, or even far fewer inter-conference games (and the NFL doesn't have enough games in a season like MLB), this would still make sense.  But there is no definitive style of play or classic AFC/NFC regualr season games -- all just NFL games.  And we do have too many years where we easily acknowledge one of the Conference Championship games as being the better game for a Super Bowl -- where one conference is clearly stronger and deeper.  And this changes, sometimes year to year.

And the geography of the conferences also has little meaning.  Unlike the NBA and NHL, there is no clear east versus west.

So play the first round just as is, but then seed the eight remaining teams and hold the Super Bowl between the last two irregardless of conference.  For me if something has to change, that would be it.  (The Hunt and Halas trophies could be awarded by regular season records in the conferences.)

Since: Nov 23, 2008
Posted on: January 3, 2011 9:08 am

Brinson and everyone else-why?

Ok- so the debate begins: We need a new play-off seeding system. It's unfair to big dollar teams with HUGE markets to not get a game when they make wildcard... Well- to me that's BIG MARKETS wanting more big dollars. When smaller market teams (like Seattle) make the play-offs it gives the city a chance to make some money too. Big teams will ALWAYS have their home play off games at some point. Bottom line is still- division winners get home field advantage- perhaps rather then worrying about where a wild card team plays we should worry about how to make them a division champion- or how to get them to be a top champ to earn the first round bye.
In regards to the losing team in the play-offs--- are you all ignorant? 1 time... count it out loud... it's unbelievable- 1 time in the non-strike superbowl era has a losing team made the play-offs...  
What is so terrible about this? 6-6 college teams get bowl games? They won division. That's the bottom line. IF the division had a majorly down year so be it... Now-
Maybe--- just maybe you're worried that the 7-9 sub .500 NFC West champ Seahawks will knock off the beloved defending NFL champs in said play-offs.... much as they beat the Bears in Seattle this season-  I am not holding my breathe- but I would tend to think that is the concern of MOST who bring this up... they don't want to be a party to the first sub .500 team getting a play-off win. 
Disclaimer- As a Seattle fan this was a win-win: Top 10 draft pick, or playoff berth. I found it hard to root against my team for the purpose of obtaining a draft pick.. and since that's out the window anyways- 


Since: Nov 23, 2008
Posted on: January 3, 2011 8:58 am

'Hawks give NFL good reason to fix playoff seeds

Ok, so the NFL changes the rules.. Then what does that do to the fans of divisions like the NFC west or smaller market teams where their only hope to make the play-offs  is to win division? That's like kicking out the small teams from the NCAA whose only hope at glory is a division win bid... You have to think outside the "WAAA MY GIANTS" aren't making the play-offs kind of thinking. They had the same two options- win the division, win the wild card. They had their division and gave it away.

Now- let me ask this; Is it that nobody wants to watch a losing team in the play-offs (which has only happened 1 time in a non-strike year anyways) or that your worried the defending superbowl champs might get knocked off by this losing team-

Since: Nov 13, 2009
Posted on: January 3, 2011 8:36 am

'Hawks give NFL good reason to fix playoff seeds

I feel sorry for Giants and Buccaneers fans.  The NFL has to change the rules when it comes to letting teams make the playoffs.  No winning record (at least .500), no playoffs.  Plain and simple. 

Since: Nov 17, 2006
Posted on: January 3, 2011 8:22 am

'Hawks give NFL good reason to fix playoff seeds

Take a deep breath this is the first time it has ever happened.......  Don't touch it.  The NFL is known for it's teams being even who can argue that with the NFC WEst Laughing   

Since: Dec 3, 2007
Posted on: January 3, 2011 8:16 am

'Hawks give NFL good reason to fix playoff seeds

Don't touch it.  What if Seattle wins two playoff games?  It probably won't happen but didn't the 8-8 Cardinals nearly win a Super Bowl?  Were they not worthy of that game?  The wild card Steelers and Giants have won Super Bowls.  There is no disadvantage to being a road wild card team and by not winning the division your "penalty" is being a road team.  That's the breaks.

I don't think anything needs fixing but if they are going to change something, here are the two best options...

* Make it two divisions per conference taking the division winners and then seeding the next best four teams
* Make it a single conference and take the top six teams

Neither of these are going to work well with scheduling and rivalries will be lost.  So, the most obvious solution (and it fits the money-hungry NFL trend)...

* Add two more wildcard teams, skip the bye weeks for the top two teams and seed the four division winners against the four wildcard teams.  The worst division winner will play the best wildcard team.  After that first weekend of playoffs, with the exception of the occasional upset, the top four teams will be left.

Then we'll have people complaining about 7-9 wildcard teams.

See, my opening statement was correct.... don't touch it!

Since: Sep 20, 2006
Posted on: January 3, 2011 7:43 am

'Hawks give NFL good reason to fix playoff seeds

A rule change makes sense this year, but what about a year where a wild card team gets destroyed in a game against a division champ but gets to host since they have a better record. Example: lets say Seattle beat the Saints this year 42-7. Would people still be upset about the record?  This argument came up in 2008 when the Cardinals stumbled into the playoffs, but they showed they belonged.  

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