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

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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.

 

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Tags: Pittsburgh Steelers Russell Wilson Seattle Seahawks Washington Redskins

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