Forget the 18 Game Debate, Expand the NFL Playoffs

February 9, 2011 at 11:16 pm Leave a comment

Expanding the NFL Playoffs would be an amicable solution to one of toughest issues facing the NFL and NFLPA as they re-negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement, how to “enhance” the season (as Roger Goodell likes to say).  The NFL and NFLPA are under a deadline to re-negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement for the 2011 season and beyond.  There a several key issues where the two sides must compromise, including how to structure the season.  The NFL would like to eliminate two preseason games and add two weeks to the regular season.  Players do not want to expand the season and increase the risk of injury.  I think the solution is the expand the NFL playoffs.

Both sides should be in favor of expanding the playoffs

The NFL should be in favor of this change as it guarantees them more meaningful football later in the season.  The NFLPA could be in favor of this measure as it add more teams and players to the playoffs, as opposed to adding 1-2 more weeks of Week 17 football.  One of the reasons expanding the season is so important to CBA negotiations is because it would increase the total revenues.  In other words, it makes the collective pie bigger, which they must share and agree on how to share it.

There are several ways the league could choose to expand the NFL Playoffs.  For example; They could add more teams and bye weeks or reseed the playoff teams.  Another alternative would be to add two more wildcard teams that would play the other wildcard teams in a new round (a play-in game if you will).  That is my favorite solution at the moment, play-in games with the wildcard teams.  In this scenario there is also the possibility of giving the top teams 2 week byes, but I do not think that’s an advantage.  We saw recently how off he timing of the Packers was early on after the two week layoff and in College Basketball the top seeds in the Big East tournament get two game byes but it has not helped them succeed.  If you have an idea, please comment or send an e-mail.

Each year worthy teams fall short, wouldn’t you say that the Raiders, Chargers, Giants, and Buccaneers were worthy this year or at least as good as the Seahawks?  Of course, for this thought process to remain logical reseeding would have to be considered. I believe the Seahawks were an anomaly and a division winner should receive a benefit in the playoffs.

Additionally, expanding the playoffs would solve the NFL’s dilemma when it comes to the end of the regular season.  Last year the NFL changed the scheduling to matchup divisional foes at the end of the season in hopes of having a couple of competitive games.  By adding more teams to the playoffs the probability of meaningful games at the end of the season increases dramatically.

How it should be done is up for debate, but I’m convinced the solution is to expand the NFL playoffs.

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