Jan 13, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) scrambles with the ball against the Atlanta Falcons in the fourth quarter of the NFC divisional playoff game at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

NFL playoffs need to value regular season more

The NFL playoff system has always been a fan favorite. However, I think it is time for the league to make a change.

The thing that most people criticize about the NHL and NBA is that half of the league makes the playoffs. Why play such a long season if that many teams make the playoffs?

No, there is no need for more teams in the NFL playoffs.

The current number of teams is perfect. With 32 teams in the league, 12 works out perfectly. I firmly believe the top two teams in each conference deserve a bye in the first round. Adding teams will only complicate the system and force more teams with sub-.500 records into the playoffs.

My big complaint with the current playoff system is the home-field advantage.

Under the current format the top two teams from each conference are two division winners with the best record. The next two seeds are the other two division winners. The final two playoff spots are the wild cards, 0r the two teams with the best records that didn’t win their division.

Here are this season’s NFC playoff seeds along with their record:

  1. Atlanta Falcons – South (13-3)
  2. San Francisco – West (11-4-1 )
  3. Green Bay – North (11-5)
  4. Washington – East (10-6)
  5. Seattle – Wild Card (11-5)
  6. Minnesota – Wild Card (10-6)


As you know, Minnesota was defeated in Green Bay and Seattle beat the Redskins in Washington. Last weekend, the Seahawks were eliminated after a last-minute field goal by the Atlanta Falcons. The Seahawks got off to a very slow start and trailed at halftime 20-0. Seattle found their stride in the second half which led to one of the most interesting games of the weekend, but fell short.

Now that you have all the facts here is my big issue: the Seahawks should not have traveled to play in Washington in the first round.

If the NFL wants to make every week important as they advertise then why reward a 10-6 Washington team with a home game when another team has a better record? I understand that they want to reward a division winner, but certain divisions are stronger than others. In this case the NFC East was weaker than the NFC West.

Ultimately the league wants the best teams to play each other at the end of the season. I still think that the two best teams in the league are San Francisco and Seattle, a match-up that seemed inevitable after Colin Kaepernick destroyed the Packers.

I’m not saying that Seattle didn’t have a chance to win this game. They failed to kick a field goal on 4th and 1 as well as before the half. Pete Carroll knows he has questions to answer about his decisions.

Perhaps another Seattle memory will aid the argument. In the 2010-11 playoffs Seattle hosted a first-round game with a 7-9 record. Not only did the Seahawks host the game, but they defeated the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints.

The Saints finished the regular season with an 11-5 record, four games better than the Seahawks. There is little question that the Saints were the better team that year, yet they were eliminated early. This game should have been played in New Orleans where the Saints may have won that game.

The difficulty is knowing how much traveling really did effect these teams. Maybe in the end the right teams won, but the wrong team had the advantage.

I agree that much of the appeal of the NFL is that any team can win on any given Sunday. But when the purpose of the Super Bowl is to feature your two best teams, a change needs to be made.


Tags: Pittsburgh Steelers Russell Wilson Seattle Seahawks Washington Redskins

  • Matt Gajtka

    On board with you on this one, Jason.

  • skyfire322

    This is a very interesting, and great read. I most definitely agree with it as well.

  • David Ozab

    Then why have divisions? Just take the top six teams based on record and seed them accordingly.

  • http://www.facebook.com/rloubaker Arnie Lou Salazar Baker

    Doesn’t make sense. If you believe Seattle was better then Washington and Washington would have won with home field advantage, I think your point would have been stronger. But Seattle won so what is the problem? The NFL was able to reward a team for winning the Division and the team you thought was better won . Also, remember, record doesn’t equal better team. Teams do not all play the same teams and so win-loss (a one game difference) doesn’t really say much. Also, remember, RGIII was seriously hurt. There is little chance Seattle wins this game regardless of were it is played if he is completely healthy. Seattle was fortunate to have a hobbled RGIII and still almost got steamrolled.

  • Don’tUsuallyComment

    Did Seattle really win that game with Green Bay? I think not. Stop kidding yourself, the Seahawks had the same number of real wins as Washington. Besides, is everyone certain that the outcome would be the same if RGIII didn’t have a knee injury going into the game? If not, do you want to start putting in an injury penatly with the seeds?

    I don’t agree with the examples, however, I don’t disagree with the conclusion (forgive the double negative) that seeding should be by record.

  • WW

    The argument has a huge hole in it because the Redskins with a healthy RG3 cut the Seattle D apart and went ahead 14-0 in the first quarter. From that point on, with a severely hobbled RG3, Seattle took 2 1/2 quarters to build a 7-point lead. The game didn’t really end until RG3 tore his knee apart, fumbling the ball near his own goal line. Seattle, with a 1st and goal from near the 5 yard line, ran three plays for no gain, settling for a field goal to seal the game.

    Seattle’s win is real enough — it put a “W” in the playoff record book — but it will always deserve an asterisk for RG3′s injury. It’s arguable that the Redskins, at the end of the season, and with a healthy RG3, were the better team.

    The result certainly doesn’t support your argument for a change in the playoff seeding system. I’m surprised you would even point to it to support your point. I’m not in favor of adding two more wild card teams based on full season record. The thought of teams getting into the playoffs with an 8-8 record isn’t appealing, but teams should be rewarded for winning the division.

    Two wild card teams are an improvement on the old system where only division winners got in; the current system makes sense and shouldn’t be changed.

  • Matt Gajtka

    You guys are weighing the results of one game too heavily. The author’s argument is that this would be a fair system on the whole, not just for the WSH-SEA game from 2013. Don’t be swayed by the smallest of sample sizes. Also, I would like to keep the divisions because if you win one, you should at least be guaranteed a playoff spot…but nothing more than that.