2010 Seattle Seahawks. Remember them?
You probably shouldn’t.
They made the playoffs despite finishing the regular season at 7-9, the only team in NFL history (with the exception of two teams in a strike-shortened nine-game season) to make the playoffs with a losing record.
Everyone was up in arms, and rightfully so. There were plenty of other worthy teams that deserved a chance at the Super Bowl.
The Seahawks nearly gave America a collective heart attack. They beat the defending champion Saints in the wild-card game in one of the biggest upsets in history. Thankfully, they didn’t make it to the Super Bowl.
Now imagine if every year we had a 7-9 team there.
As if this didn’t water down the NFL playoffs enough, the league is strongly considering adding more teams to the playoff mix.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has alluded to the league’s “urgent” intentions to increase the number of playoff teams from 12 to 14, adding to what is already described as “an era of change.”
Change seems to be Goodell’s end game, and perhaps his only. We already know that he, like any league commissioner, is trying to leave his mark on the game’s history. A lot of what he has done since taking over the position has been admirable, even though he has been wildly controversial throughout his tenure. Not every decision he has made has been solid. However, in the long run, many of the changes he has implemented have benefited the NFL.
But it comes to a point of not only over doing it, but also harming the league he is supposed to be helping.
Now, after years of toying with the idea of an expanded regular season, it seems the playoffs are the new focus, adding two more squads to a mixed bag of so-so wild-card playoff teams.
The NFL’s wild-card rounds have been stale recently. I can’t even remember how many times Houston and Cincinnati have played a boring first round game. And before that, we had the controversial sub-.500 Seahawks sparking debate as to whether we should consider allowing fewer teams in, not more.
So, when the formula works just fine, well, almost just fine, why would you tweak it any more?
The potential new format that would add another round of games to the league’s postseason is garbage to say the least. Now, instead of excitement leading up to the greatest yearly event in all of sports, we have to wait an extra week (because the week off between the conference championships and the Super Bowl wasn’t agonizing enough).
Instead of true competition in the playoffs, we have a whole score of mediocre teams battling out to see who’s less mediocre than the others. Instead of the regular season games mattering even a little, you can blindly have a playoff spot fall into your lap.
I already had to watch the dull, mistake-laden 2011 New York Giants, perhaps the worst team to ever win a Super Bowl, stumble into the playoffs and luck their way through to a championship.
And I certainly don’t want to see that again.