Read the opposing argument from Loyal Homer.
Today’s topic is designed to determine whether or not playoff teams should be re-seeded in the NFL, possibly depriving a division winner of a home game if their record is not as good as a wild card team.
Quite simply, the answer is yes, the teams should be re-seeded so home games would go to the most deserving teams. With all due respect to coach Spagnuolo and the job that he’s done with the St. Louis Rams and a rookie quarterback… if we were more of a multimedia webiste I think my most persuasive argument would be to post footage from NFC West games this season with the Benny Hill music playing in the background.
For those of you unfamiliar with the Benny Hill music, enjoy. Now, tell me that isn’t the perfect soundtrack to the slapfight that the NFC West has been this season. And, if you agree with me that the NFC West has been a mess of mediocrity, isn’t that the perfect argument for reseeding teams for the NFL playoffs.
Bleacherreport.com posted an interesting article this week discussing the very real possibility that a 7-9 team can win the NFC West. Just take a minute and let that soak in. Accepting that a .500 record is the definition of mediocrity, we are taking about a less than mediocre team not only qualifying for the NFL playoffs, but hosting a home playoff game in a season where they could not even win as many games as they lost. Under the current NFL playoff structure, that is exactly what would happen if a 7-9 team won their division.
For example, let’s say Tampa Bay finishes the season with a 9-7 record and makes the playoffs. Bear in mind, of course, that that 9-7 record would have involved four games against 10-plus win divisional opponents in Atlanta and New Orleans. Beyond that, the Buccaneers have had to play Pittsburgh and Baltimore. As you can see, that 9-7 record would have been achieved against a very difficult schedule. After Tampa’s playoff berth euphoria wears off, they discover that they have to travel to St. Louis to be hosted by an under .500 team. On the surface, does that seem fair to Tampa? More importantly, does that seem fair to the fans?
Honestly, beyond making fun of the NFC West, the real point that I’m trying to drive home is that the NFL is foisting something upon its fans that just doesn’t seem right to the fans. Home field advantage is a big deal, especially in post-season football. It is an advantage that should be earned, and the average fan has a gut feeling that the better team in the game should have the honor of hosting the matchup. Should a division winner make the playoffs regardless of record? Absolutely. However, if their record shows them to be the worst team from their conference in the playoffs, they should be seeded accordingly and forced to play the best team from the conference.
It’s generally accepted that the best, most popular post-season tournament in American sports is the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. Imagine the outrage if the NCAA decided that the Sun Belt Conference winner could be seeded no lower than sixth every year. Beyond depriving the fans of properly seeded match-ups, it seems like an arbitrary thing to do, doesn’t it? I believe that’s what the NFL has done by arbitrarily deciding that a division winner should host a playoff game. The NFL playoffs are great, but they can be even greater if they’re seeded properly – and fans get the match-ups they deserve.