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SHOULD THE LEAGUE GET RID OF FIRST-ROUND BYES?

We bid farewell to all discussion and consideration of last weekend’s playoff games by raising a question that we’ve heard no one else raise.
Given the current parity in the league, should the NFL get rid of first-round playoff byes?
With three teams who had a week off losing to teams who stayed sharp and built momentum in the first round, it could be that the bye is no longer a benefit.
For more, we give you three minutes and 23 seconds of PFTV.
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39 Responses to “SHOULD THE LEAGUE GET RID OF FIRST-ROUND BYES?”
  1. DumpMarinelli says: Jan 17, 2009 11:43 AM

    Like you say, I don’t think you want half the teams in the playoffs. Then it turns into the NBA or NHL where the regular season is almost meaningless. What this should show is that these teams should not “rest” their starters for the last regular season game. You’re right in that 3 weeks off is too much. Teams don’t seem to have a problem coming off a bye in the regualr season to play well. Its’ that extra week (week 17) that I think is making them lose their edge.

  2. greggyd717 says: Jan 17, 2009 11:46 AM

    The league can keep its first round byes. The home teams losing this year aren’t because of them getting too much rest. In fact, if you go back over the years, home teams have an incredible winning percentage in the Divisional round. The byes aren’t the problem.
    The issue is the fact that the NFL still places division champs as higher seeds than wild cards who might have better records. I don’t care if you won your division or not, there was still a better team out there than you. While winning the division is obviously a reason to make the playoffs, these teams shouldn’t be ranked ahead of a team with a better winning percentage. If the NFL did it this way, the NFC Championship Game would be held in Philly not Arizona which we all know. First round byes are fine, but this division winner ranking system needs to go.

  3. stiller43 says: Jan 17, 2009 11:51 AM

    Keep the byes.

  4. paper_bag says: Jan 17, 2009 11:53 AM

    You’d have to add 8 more teams to the NFL, where would you put them?
    San Antonio, L.A., Somewhere in North Eastern PA (Big football fans there)… where else?
    And then, for the talent to catch up to the needs of 40 teams (which is about what, 2520 players a year if you count practice squads, and DON’T count IR), it’d probably take another 15 years for the talent to catch up.
    And then add the scheduling nightmares…. forget about it (although if they do extend the season, this wouldn’t be nearly as difficult).

  5. SaintsBucsPanthersSUKK says: Jan 17, 2009 11:55 AM

    That Mike Florio is such a handsome paesano. Where’s my handcuffs?
    Sincerely,
    Boy George

  6. dldove77 says: Jan 17, 2009 11:59 AM

    You can’t have half the league make the playoffs. You can’t eliminate the first round bye until the league expands to about 40 teams.

  7. kurtwarnerfumbledagain says: Jan 17, 2009 12:01 PM

    Yes they should.
    Add 2 teams to each conference.
    1v8
    2v7
    3v6
    4v5
    2 games on Friday night
    7 & 10pm
    4 games on Saturday
    12, 3:30. 6, 10
    2 games on Sunday
    1 & 5pm
    Gives the fans more playoff games, gets rid of byes…

  8. ROY11 says: Jan 17, 2009 12:04 PM

    Good points, but coaches across every sport will tell you that they would still take the rest. Also, all the home-bye teams had tough matchups. Carolina almost lost at home to the Cardinals earlier in the year, we knew things could go either way with Eagles/Giants, Baltimore was a tough matchup for Tennessee as well, and the Chargers were on a big roll until they ran into the Steelers.
    Maybe only one team should get a bye, then each conference can have one more wild card team, without quite putting half the teams in the playoffs.

  9. giant67 says: Jan 17, 2009 12:05 PM

    The byes aren’t going anywhere, because you can’t add or subtract teams from the field, but I do think that the blow could be cushioned a bit. I would make it so two divisional foes can’t play until the conference championship round, and that no division can have two wild card qualifiers. Under this system, New York would’ve played Arizona and Carolina would’ve had the Eagles last year, and in 2007 the Browns, not Tennessee, would’ve made the postseason. I also think that the second round matchups should be done by record and not by seed — guarantee the division winners a home game, but it’s unfair that the one seed got a 12-5 team and the two a 9-8 team in the AFC this year.

  10. freedomispopular says: Jan 17, 2009 12:12 PM

    The teams that secure the bye weeks before that playoffs start, rather than resting and taking it easy and having those 3 or so weeks between meaningful games need to instead continue to play at a high level. I realize if a top player got injured playing in a meaningless game everyone would make a big fuss, but as Florio said, that momentum going into the playoffs is very important, so that’s the risk that teams need to be willing to take. Besides, it’s football, so guys are gonna get injured, and they have just as much of a chance at getting injured during meaningless games as they do during meaningful ones.

  11. misterj says: Jan 17, 2009 12:19 PM

    Joe looked a lot beefier in this vid. That means you don’t look beefy anymore.
    I think you need to find another high school boy to replace him.

  12. sndvl99 says: Jan 17, 2009 12:22 PM

    1998 would like to have that mock turtle neck back…

  13. neutral_like_sweden says: Jan 17, 2009 12:22 PM

    Are you kidding, the best thing about football is that you do get a first round bye! In every sport you work your ass off to get a great record, but football is the only one to really reward you for it. Homefield advantage is nice…but time off to heal injuries and just to get a freaking break is way more important.

  14. kurtwarnerfumbledagain says: Jan 17, 2009 12:24 PM

    Seed them on record don’t reward a weak division champion(give them a banner), but reward the top 8 teams in each conference.
    AFC
    1) Tenn 13-3 vs 8) SD 8-8
    2) IND 12-4 vs 7) NYJ 9-7
    3) Pit 12-4 vs 6) NE 11-5
    4) Mia 11-5 vs. 5) Balt 11-5
    NFC
    1) NYG 12-4 vs. 8)7) 9-7 Chicago, Arizona, Dallas that comes out of a tiebreaker.)
    2) CAR 12-4 vs. 7) 9-7 Chicago, Arizona, Dallas that comes out of a tiebreaker.)
    3) ATL 11-5 vs. 6) Tampa 9-7
    4) MIN 10-6 vs. 5) PHI 9-6-1

  15. kscorza says: Jan 17, 2009 12:28 PM

    No one thinks that the game Jake Delhomme had or all the mistakes Tennessee made can be attributed to the week off?? I’ll give you that the Eagles/Giants game could’ve gone either way but if there were two more wildcard teams in each conference and there wasn’t a bye week, all those 1 and 2 seeds would be facing 7 and 8 seeds and most likely have a better chance of moving on in the playoffs, as they’ve earned by being the top seeds.
    And as far as having half the league make the playoffs, by this years standings an 11-5 team and three 9-7 teams would have made the playoffs; all with records better than the 8-8 Chargers. I know no one is going to say the Patriots didn’t deserve to be in the playoffs and I know the fans of those 4 other teams wouldn’t be complaining about too many teams making the playoffs.

  16. Terrell Owens says: Jan 17, 2009 12:30 PM

    Yeah, definately, last year the first round bye gave my teammate/quarterback the opportunity to go to mexico and not be ready for the game :’-(.

  17. Fanball58 says: Jan 17, 2009 12:35 PM

    paper_bag sez “You’d have to add 8 more teams to the NFL, where would you put them?
    San Antonio, L.A., Somewhere in North Eastern PA (Big football fans there)… where else?”
    How about adding all the CFL teams? Why not? Their league has had a long run – kick them up from the miner leagues. Wouldn’t that be something to see – January games in Calgary or Montreal or Ottawa?
    I agree with San Antonio tho why Texas needs another team is beyond me. Yes to LA – 2 teams – the Raiders moving and and expansion team playing in the same stadium similar to the Giants/Jets arrangement.
    That leaves all of these towns in college football hot beds as possibilities too – Birmingham or Mobile, Memphis, Cedar Rapids, Omaha, Boise, Las Vegas, Albuquerque or Santa Fe, Portland, Columbia (SC or MO), Charleston (WV or SC), Jackson, Oklahoma City, or even Juneau or Anchorage if you go the CFL route.
    I’m still baffled as to why the NFL gave Jacksonville a team compared to any of the above mentioned places.

  18. brian_21 says: Jan 17, 2009 12:39 PM

    I don’t know what I think on this one. I go back and forth. Usually I have a strong opinion. This issue should be looked at, though I do not buy the fact that having a week off is a disadvantage in general. I’d want to see two or three more years of this “trend” occurring before making any drastic decisions.

  19. DontBeEmo says: Jan 17, 2009 12:45 PM

    What was the problem with the teams with byes…. was it the bye? or was it the matchup?
    Giants lost to the Eagles…. was it Plaxico missing? or the fact the giants hadnt played?
    Carolina lost to the Cardinals… hmm… look at Delhomme’s whole career… the guy takes chances like he’s Brett Favre… problem… is he has Chad Pennington’s arm…
    Pittsburgh.. still in it…. maybe because they dont suck?
    and the Bmore defense can beat anyone w/o the offense doing much…
    The bye wasnt the reason the teams lost florio… the teams not being better than their opponents is the reason the lost

  20. JSpicoli says: Jan 17, 2009 12:47 PM

    I agree. Momentum is a helluva a drug. Ban the Bye.

  21. WorldChampionBears2008 says: Jan 17, 2009 12:49 PM

    “You’d have to add 8 more teams to the NFL, where would you put them?”
    Chicago!
    It still makes me mad that all these big market states have more than one (or even two) team(s) and Chicago still has one. I say put a dome on the Northside right next to Wrigley (hell, move the Lions over there) and it would be set. Instead of adding more teams to Texas, California, Pennsylvania (you’ve got both teams on win away from the SB!), and NY. That just sickens me. Heck even Missouri has two horrible teams.
    Not to mention Chicago would be perfect for the SB (hell you brought it to Detroit!), Mag Mile, Navy Pier, etc.

  22. ACDC84 says: Jan 17, 2009 12:50 PM

    The NFL playoff format is absolutely perfect. The best teams in the league should get rewarded for the regular season.
    The problem with having eight playoff teams per conference is this: In the NBA, when the 1 plays the 8, the 1 team is much better and will practically always win the series, so they are being rewarded for their season. The better team will win 3 of 5 (or is it 4 of 7 now for the first round? I don’t know). But in the NFL anything can happen in ONE game. Would the Titans beat the Ravens 3 of 5 times? Probably. I know they outplayed them last week, but a few TOs cost them a close game. I’m just saying that the better teams wins a series ALOT more often than the better team wins one winner-take-all game.

  23. iamthorny says: Jan 17, 2009 12:53 PM

    I think at the beginning of each season each team should be able to state whether they want to receive a “bye” if they should reach one of the top two spots in their respective conference.
    The change I would like to see in the NFL is to count NFL coaching salaries into a team’s salary cap. It would be fun to see just how many coaches were let go for non-performance if this rule was implemented. Obviously, there would have to be an increase in the overall cap to do this. Or… as there is a “rookie pool” perhaps there should be a “coaches pool” and you can only pay so much.

  24. ghost says: Jan 17, 2009 12:57 PM

    There nothing wrong with the byes. You what to change something? Get rid of that ‘bye week’ before the Super Bowl and play the game the following Sunday after the NFC/AFC Championship games.
    THIS is the lamest scheduling in all of professional sports.

  25. empty13 says: Jan 17, 2009 1:16 PM

    Well if the nfc had 8 playoff teams…
    Discouraged and wiped put tampa would have ended their season one week later in carolina. And maybe carolina would have been tuned up to play zona.
    53 induhviduals, aka the dallas cowboys, wouls have gone back to new york and lost again, like another 44-6*. And the gynauts would have been less flat vs. Philly.
    And in the afc… Pats at steelers. Not convinced the steelers make it to round 2 or healthy either.
    Then the jets would have gone back to nashville. I would have expected tennessee to be up for that game, then warmed up for balto.
    I would scrap the byes.
    //////////
    To maintain. 3/8 of playoff teams vs all teams, I think ten teams would have to be added. 8 at least…
    Forget parity… With the lions, rams and chiefs it isn’t line the nfl has parity anyway these days.
    LA
    San Antone
    Birmingham
    OK city
    Portland
    SL city
    Omaha
    Hartford
    Norfolk
    Orlando
    Vegas
    Columbus
    San b, CA
    Sacramento
    New mex
    Wichita
    Import the cfl or plant teams in vancouver, edmonton, calgary, winnipeg, saskatchewan, toronto, montreal, quebec
    Detroit ?

  26. PackAttack says: Jan 17, 2009 1:25 PM

    Yes

  27. Fade 2 Black says: Jan 17, 2009 1:45 PM

    I like kurtwarnerfum……’s idea mostly. Let 8 teams in from each Conference. That’s 16 teams playing 8 games at the Divisional Round
    This year that format would have put the 11-5 Patriots in along with the 9-7 Jets in the AFC, as well as the Bears and Cowboys from the NFC with 9-7 records. Doesn’t it seem like they deserve to be in? (Cowboys still suck, Vox.)
    Play 2 Games Friday Evening and 3 each on Saturday and Sunday. Wild Football Weekend! 33% More TV Revenue for Playoff Games! What’s not to like? I bet the players wouldn’t mind 33% more playoff bonuses. So there you go.
    (And under this format, Denver and Houston, Tampa and New Orleans all still bite the bullet and miss the big dances…)

  28. Fade 2 Black says: Jan 17, 2009 1:49 PM

    PS… No need to go to 40 teams.
    Why dilute the talent pool like that?

  29. SpartaChris says: Jan 17, 2009 1:54 PM

    >>WorldChampionBears2008 says:
    January 17th, 2009 at 12:49 pm
    “You’d have to add 8 more teams to the NFL, where would you put them?”
    Chicago!
    It still makes me mad that all these big market states have more than one (or even two) team(s) and Chicago still has one. I say put a dome on the Northside right next to Wrigley (hell, move the Lions over there) and it would be set. Instead of adding more teams to Texas, California, Pennsylvania (you’ve got both teams on win away from the SB!), and NY. That just sickens me. Heck even Missouri has two horrible teams.
    Not to mention Chicago would be perfect for the SB (hell you brought it to Detroit!), Mag Mile, Navy Pier, etc. <<
    While I don’t care if Chicago gets another team or not, you don’t want to play in a dome. Only pussy teams play in domes. Football should always be played outside, in the elements, no exceptions. I have more respect for teams that play in inclimate weather than I do for pansy ass teams that play in domes (cough::Vikings::cough)

  30. EskinSux says: Jan 17, 2009 2:45 PM

    Yes…..they should get rid of the byes…..This way the DramaQueens can make their annual exit a week early when they overachieve and win the division…..Only a matter of time anyway

  31. Jolly says: Jan 17, 2009 2:49 PM

    Ponder this….
    8 new teams…
    LA….Omaha/Des Moines….Vegas/Salt Lake…Oklahoma City…Mexico City…Houston….Birmingham…Outside Chicago South.
    Add two teams to the Playoffs with the two teams getting byes….3 games on Saturday, 3 Sunday or 2 Saturday and 4 Sunday with simultaneous games at 1pm with the 2 weakest matchups.
    Stop with the talent pools garbage…There’s enough talent out there.
    Take a look at the Qbs in the league who are capable, not great but capable….Losman, Smith, Leftwitch, Rosenfels, Cassel, Andersen/Quinn, Plus others who may not be studs but can lead a team.
    All this garbage about two headed RB approach is because some teams are capable of drafting RBs while others miss..Check this…
    Stewart/Williams….White/Johnson…Jacobs/Bradshaw/Droughns/Ward….Lynch/Jackson….Grant/Jackson…McfADDEN/bUSH fARGAS…Barber/Choice…
    And you continue to see more and more kids come out of Colleges more prepared than before to play. This can be done…Now is a great time to do this…With ratings slipping…New CB coming and the Economy in the trenches, a great way to infuse life into communities, spark debate revamp competitiveness and grow with the New America coming.

  32. spyboots says: Jan 17, 2009 3:00 PM

    No.

  33. Fanball58 says: Jan 17, 2009 3:21 PM

    No need for 2 teams in Illinois – the Bears are plenty – no one would go due to market over saturation. Until there is an NFL team in all 50 states – no state should be allowed more than 2 teams.
    Go to a 56 team league with every state represented – you know NFL fans in all the states without teams now would be sure to turn out for the games. Dump all pre-season games and have a 18 week (no byes) regular season.
    Split the league into 2 – 28 team divisions (east and west or north and south) with 7 – 4 team divisions where the winners make the playoffs and the the best record gets the bye – unless one div winner doesn’t have a winning record. The end result would be similar as it is now except with more players, more teams, more coaching opportunities and most importantly – more “real” football games that all count instead of fake games the owners charge real money for.
    Give Orlando a team??? No way – why should there be 4 teams in Florida??? The NFL needs to move/rescind the Jacksonville franchise and drop it back to 2 teams in the sunshine state.
    NY will be losing the Bills to Toronto in a few years so they’ll be down to 2 teams.
    No more Cally teams – too many there already – expand to Oregon or Vegas.
    Why are there no teams in Nebraska or Oklahoma – serious hot bed football states like these 2 would love to have the NFL (they could be in the Bears division and kick Chicago ass every year).
    No one has mentioned Hawaii – what a sweet spot for the NFL to play games, not to mention the difficulty for the visiting teams. And that bad east coast run the Cards had this year – imagine the “Fighting Pinapples” having to travel to all the way to Tampa or Bmore or NY and vice-versa.
    Same goes for Alaska getting a team – what a home field advantage that would be – though they may need a serious dome to play in just to get the games in. How bout the Fish going to Anchorage for an away game in Sep and freezing? Or the “Fighting Polar Bears” traveling down to Tampa in Sep for a humidity/heat stroke experience?
    Expansion – I’m all for it. More real games that count – I’m for that too. And why not 56 NFL teams? College has 163 major teams that all seem to get supported. Plus more use out of all those empty stadiums on Sundays.
    Not in favor of the NFL on Friday or Saturday tho – Sunday and Monday are enough. With 56 NFL teams there could be 3 Sunday and Monday night games too.
    Whatever – Just get that team out of J-ville – that’s the most undeserving city that has a team besides Oakland.

  34. meefer says: Jan 17, 2009 3:49 PM

    Keep the byes, let the teams with the #1 seed PICK who plays them instead of this inane system of lowest vs highest (which would only make sense if you seeded the tournament by record instead of divisional winner).

  35. Eric Chase Fox1470.com says: Jan 17, 2009 5:13 PM

    The cost of momentum has a price, and that’s a possible L.
    The best tweaking the NFL could do to the playoffs is, as mentioned by others before, reseed teams by record once the season is over.
    You win your division at 8-8? Great. You’re not getting a home game playing against a 12-4 team.
    We could always go the route of pollsters and a neat lil computer system!

  36. WorldChampionBears2008 says: Jan 17, 2009 6:37 PM

    “While I don’t care if Chicago gets another team or not, you don’t want to play in a dome. Only pussy teams play in domes. Football should always be played outside, in the elements, no exceptions. I have more respect for teams that play in inclimate weather than I do for pansy ass teams that play in domes (cough::Vikings::cough)”
    In Chicago, yes you do especially if you’re hosting a SB. I don’t think you want to see a SB played in the snow. It was just -18 degrees here the other day with a -30 degree windchill. I don’t think the seats would be packed and you could hold all that pregame stuff in that kind of weather.

  37. pftfreak says: Jan 17, 2009 7:09 PM

    They should just eliminate the divisions and just have the two conferences. The top four teams make it period. this eliminates the weak-strong divison debate. It also works well in the tie-breaker senarios because with a 16 game season you can play everyone in your conference and one interconference game. eight teams are too many to make the playoffs, and anymore teams would water-down the league. In a perfect world the NFL would eliminate two teams from each conference. Lions/Panthers,and Texans/Titans.

  38. Pantherfan105 says: Jan 18, 2009 4:52 AM

    If they get rid of first round byes they would have to say goodbye to the expanded playoffs and that wouldnt happen because of advertising $$$.

  39. TheDPR says: Jan 18, 2009 7:50 AM

    I don’t like the idea of a bigger league (diluting the already diluted talent) or a bigger playoff field (teams getting in that aren’t championship-worthy).
    You solve the “problem” by doing two things.
    One, coaches should be playing their starters every week of the regular season, whether they’ve clinched a spot or not. Sure, they can work in some of the backups into the rotation more than usual but the regular players have to stay sharp.
    Two, don’t seed the playoffs according to divisions. You *make* the playoffs the same way as you do now, but the spot you’re seeded at is based on your record and whatever tiebreakers are necessary. In other words, this season the Cards and Chargers would have been #6 seeds.
    It’s a minor issue, anyway, IMO. But if you think it’s a problem, the solution is pretty simple.

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