Expand the NFL Playoffs, Forget the 18 Game Season
As the Lockout continues, I feel it’s necessary to re-post this article I wrote a few months since I have not heard the idea even being mentioned and it certainly deserves at least that.
Expanding the NFL Playoffs would be a mutually beneficial solution to one of toughest issues facing the NFL and NFLPA as they re-negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement. Roger Goodell has been trying to figure out way to “enhance” the season. In recent months, he has talked about an eighteen game season. Ideally, the NFL would like to eliminate two preseason games and add two weeks to the regular season. Players and many fans are against this idea, primarily because of health concerns. Concerns stemming from the NFL’s past treatment of retired players and envisioning shorter careers. While there are several issues where the two sides must compromise, I believe expanding the playoffs could solve a few.
The NFL should be in favor of expanding the NFL Playoffs. It would guarantee them more meaningful football later in the season, Goodell’s objective for enhancing the season, and an additional week of games. Meanwhile, 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 could be 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. Something to this point they have had problem doing.
There are several ways the league could choose to expand the NFL Playoffs. For example: They could add more teams to the playoffs. In this scenario you would add two more wildcard teams that would play the other wildcard teams in a new round (a play-in game if you will). An extra round in the playoffs certainly would be valuable to negotiations and both sides because of increased TV revenue, as well as making the end of the regular season meaningful for more teams. Increasing the number of playoff teams to 7 or 8 in each conference should not diminish the quality of the games. How to accomplish the expansion is the most difficult part of the equation and 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 up to the standards of a playoff team? Of course. In recent years plenty of wildcard teams have won the Super Bowl, expansion would make that more difficult and reward excellence in the regular season even more. Additionally as a side note, I believe the Seahawks were an anomaly last season and a division winner should receive a benefit in the playoffs (not re-seeded).
In conclusion, expanding the playoffs would solve the NFL’s dilemma to enhance the regular season, increase total revenue, and it add more football without diminishing a great product. By adding more teams to the playoffs the probability of meaningful games at the end of the season increases dramatically. An extra week of football means more money to be shared and more teams get the experience. 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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