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Week 17 Morning Aftermath: A proposed solution to the late-season dilemma

Now that we’ve crossed the finish line of a 17-week marathon, we’ve got two options.

We can collapse, or we can keep running.

Let’s keep running.

It’s the final Morning Aftermath of the season, a feature spawned on the fly several weeks into the 2009 campaign, and then tweaked into something but substantive and manageable.

It’s sort of like mailing it in, but on really nice stationery.

1.  A proposed solution to the problem of meaningless late-season games.

Though the issue has been around for years, the problem came sharply into focus when the Colts opted to abandon the pursuit of perfection under the guise of resting starters for the postseason.  And the Colts fueled the fire by offering up lame — and factually incorrect — excuses for trying hard in one meaningless game, and then not trying very hard in their next one.

Fans don’t like it.  The teams that need help to get a seat at the playoff table from teams not inclined to help themselves don’t like it, either. 

Most importantly, the Commissioner hates it.

But what can be done?  A mandate to publish an official depth chart and to respect it into early January easily can be avoided by exaggerating and/or fabricating injuries — after weeks of otherwise concealing them.  And incentives like extra draft selections won’t prompt a team with a chance at a Super Bowl to risk an injury to a key player like Wes Welker for an extra fourth-round pick.  (Besides, the notion that a good team can be rewarded via picks for choosing to try to be good runs counter to the notion of the draft as a tool for ensuring competitive balance.)

So sticks or carrots simply won’t work in this context.  Instead, the league needs to incorporate a natural competitive incentive that will prompt all playoff teams to continue to try to play hard, regardless of whether it’s Week One or Week 17.

And the solution requires real creativity, along with a willingness to dramatically change a flawed playoff model.

Here’s our proposal:  Augment the current playoff qualification system with seeding assignments made by a neutral committee, similar to the approach the NCAA employs when selecting teams for the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments.

The six playoff teams would be determined as they currently are.  But then the committee would seed the six teams in each conference based on their play during a specific period, such as the final four games of the regular season.  So if a team like the Saints, which started 13-0, falls apart down the stretch, they’d be at the mercy of the committee when it comes to getting home-field advantage.  And if a team like the Colts chooses to rest starters for the postseason, they’d risk losing the top seed to the Chargers, who finished with 11 straight wins.

And while we’re venturing outside the box, let’s go ahead and frolic in the poppies.  How about getting rid of playoff byes and adding two teams to the playoff field per conference, and how about letting them be true wild-card teams, added based not on total won-loss record but on how they’re performing late in the year?

For 2009, for example, we’d make the Texans and the Browns (yes, the Browns) the seventh and eighth seeds in the AFC playoff field, and we’d invite the Panthers and the 49ers (or maybe the Falcons) to join the NFC party.

Let’s face it — a revolutionary adjustment is needed in order to make teams that have secured a berth in the tournament sufficiently motivated to keep pushing for the highest possible seed.  This process would create such an incentive, and it also would enhance interest in the game by spawning speculation and anticipation regarding the possible seeds and wild-card teams, and considerable debate regarding the decisions that ultimately are made.

It also would keep hope alive deep into the season for all teams, making even a franchise that started the year 1-11 theoretically capable of turning things around and sneaking into the postseason by getting hot when the season is on the line.

Before scoffing (if you haven’t already), keep in mind that, for more than 40 years, the NFL determined home-field advantage for league and conference championship games via an arbitrary rotation.  In 1972, for example, the Steelers hosted the 15-0 Dolphins in the AFC title game.

The seeding concept came from a realization by the NFL that excellence should be rewarded via home-field advantage.  But now that the current seeding process is creating a negative impact on competitive balance and threatening the integrity of the game, the league needs to find a way to determine playoff seeding that encourages all teams to approach the latter stages of the regular season not like a second preseason, but like an early postseason.

And the encouragement needs to come not from a list of “thou shalts” or a draft-day nightcrawler, but from the actual thing that is causing teams to shut it down — positioning in the ultimate playoff tree.

Though we suspect that this idea has a very remote chance at ever being adopted, our broader point is that the solution needs to address the root of the problem.  Teams are laying down because a win won’t enhance their playoff seeding, and a loss won’t hurt it.  The only way to remove that mentality is to find a way to make late-season wins and losses have a potential impact on whether a team will play its postseason games at home or on the road.

Regardless of the specific device that the league uses, the NFL needs to find a way to make late-season games have a real impact on playoff seeding.  Nothing else will fix an unacceptable situation.

2.  50 percent turnover rate persists.

3.  McDaniels should be on the hot seat.

4.  Giants should consider firing Tom Coughlin.

5.  Colts could face an awards backlash.

6.  T.J. learns the hard way not to make boasts.

7.  Jets could be dangerous in postseason.

8.  Pressure mounts for the Cowboys.

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112 Responses to “Week 17 Morning Aftermath: A proposed solution to the late-season dilemma”
  1. endzoneview says: Jan 4, 2010 1:27 AM

    Brilliant. Let’s add some BCS melodrama to the NFL.

  2. Chin35char says: Jan 4, 2010 1:27 AM

    I like the first idea, but I don’t like the “expanding by 2 more teams in each conference” idea.

  3. Stone says: Jan 4, 2010 1:29 AM

    That’s the stupidest idea I have ever heard. There is absolutely nothing about the college game that should be incorporated into the NFL. Nothing. The NFL should penalize teams a draft pick for every game they tank…so the Colts would have lost their 7th and 6th picks this year for tanking the last two games.

  4. habibfromnewdehli says: Jan 4, 2010 1:31 AM

    Ummm. NO!
    F$%@ all this “it’s not fair to fans and other teams” bull.
    You know what’s not fair to fans(season ticket holders)? Having to pay FULL PRICE for a TWO preseason games.
    You know what else isn’t fair? EVERY team should get to play on a Monday Night and a Sunday Night stage.
    If my team doesn’t play starters the final two games of the season because it has already locked up what it can for the playoffs… then I, as a TRUE fan, am HAPPY! You know why? Because my team has handled their business!
    Yeah, let’s take away from teams that WIN games because they won too many games too early in the season.
    GREAT idea!

  5. PatricktheDookie says: Jan 4, 2010 1:35 AM

    You know what? I love the ideas. They would provde a refreshing change to the season.

  6. ACDC84 says: Jan 4, 2010 1:44 AM

    Wow, Florio is up way past his bedtime.
    I appreciate these posts right this moment, but I probably would have appreciated them more tomorrow morning at 8AM when I am trying to pass the first five minutes of my work day w/o doing anything work-related.

  7. leatherneck says: Jan 4, 2010 1:44 AM

    Booooooooooooooo.

  8. Danc says: Jan 4, 2010 1:44 AM

    I compliment your attempt to come up with a solution, but I don’t think the NFL would ever leave playoff seeding up to an arbitrary committee. Fans would never go for a committee deciding weather or not their team played ‘better’ or ‘worse’ down the stretch as compared to their rivals. You HAVE to let it be decided on the field. The ONLY reason that the NCAA can use a committee is because there are like 300 teams that can potentially make the Tournament field each year, and with school size, conferences etc. there has to be a way to equate them. With a league as small as the NFL the postseason HAS to be decided on the field.
    Therefore, I see a potential solution to be a point system. Make early season wins (games 1-8, 1-10, 1-12???) worth 1 point. Late season wins (however that is determined) can be worth 1.5, or 2 points. That way, the seeding is earned ON THE FIELD, and teams in the lead in the early season couldn’t ‘lay down’ in the late season, in fear of being overtaken by a team that is a late charger.
    You’re right, something must be done to make the late season worth more…so a point system of some kind for wins and losses is the way to go. Everything decided on the field, by the teams, not by an arbitrary, potentially biased committee.

  9. williamsbros says: Jan 4, 2010 1:54 AM

    Florio (and anyone who contributed to this idea), I see a common thread with your ideas and opinions. You have a strong tendacy to drastically overweight the importance of recent events. This is why during the season you practically ignored the bulk of the season for your power rankings and frequently moved teams 5 and 6 spots based on 1 game.
    Now you want teams like the Browns to be arbitrarily placed into the playoffs by a committee of playoff czars because they beat some crappy teams late in the year. At the same time you want to drastically reduce the reward for season long excellence by taking away the byes. The point of the current postseason structure is to have the BEST team win the SB. It’s not to include every “hott” team and let some team with a losing record benefit from some bad calls and lucky bounces en route to a SB victory. I guarantee if the Brows won the SB under your format this year, most fans would consider the season a complete waste and disappointment.

  10. ACDC84 says: Jan 4, 2010 1:56 AM

    Six teams per conference is perfect. I LOVE the first-round byes. Teams like Indy and NO should definately have an advantage over limping division winners like Arizona.
    There are SO few games in football that its not fair to give any less credit to a September win than an early January win. Even a neutral committee would be far too subjective to make this work out.

  11. R8R_BOB says: Jan 4, 2010 1:56 AM

    Ok, I will bite on this. No committee. The NFL does not need a committee to determine playoff games but I do agree with eliminating the bye for the top two teams.
    Change the playoff from six teams in each conference to eight. No more wildcard round. First round, second round, conference championship, Super Bowl.
    At the second round, re-seed as needed. That way the top teams will have to play to earn home-field even if that means playing hard till week seventeen. If the NFL had a re-seed policy in place then last season, the Eagles would have played the NFC championship game in Philly instead of Arizona. Arizona got the home game because they were the division champ and the Eagles were the wildcard even though the Eagles had a better record. (Ok, one less loss but it is enough to get the home game)
    Conference championship, hey the two best teams play. Just my thoughts.

  12. edgy says: Jan 4, 2010 1:56 AM

    Uh, aren’t you guys the ones who keep using BcS to show your displeasure for that system and yet, you want to do something simliar? In the words of Jordan Sullivan, when confronted with the story of prenatal lice, “I’m not buying it.”
    Leave it like it is and let the sore losers continue to whine about how their team got screwed. As I’ve said many times — win and you don’t need to worry about this problem. Want to make the season more meaningful — make it a one game season and the top 6 teams from each conference that beats the other teams by the most points makes it into the playoffs. :)

  13. JetGreeeen says: Jan 4, 2010 1:57 AM

    Forget the BCS sh!t…..but…..I can’t believe I’m agreeing with Florio, maybe you’re on to something here.
    If the NFL expands regular season to 18 games, then perhaps you could use the final 1/3 of the season (last 6 games), or something like that, to determine home field advantage for the playoff teams. This might indeed be enough incentive to have all the teams play “all out” til the last week of the season.

  14. joedimaggio says: Jan 4, 2010 2:01 AM

    lolwut? The Browns in the playoffs??? This is why you shouldn’t write articles at 1 AM. Let’s completely ignore their first 12 games of the season and put a 5-11 team in the playoffs. BRILLIANT!

  15. psychobob671 says: Jan 4, 2010 2:08 AM

    The real problem is the season is too long.
    These guys play 20 games.
    They need to move it back to 14 games.
    2 preseason games max.
    This will reduce injuries and make the later games
    more competitive. You make up for this by adding
    more games in the wild card rounds and let all teams share the revenue.

  16. Flori Hole says: Jan 4, 2010 2:11 AM

    I don’t think you have to look to much further than what happen to Wes Welker. What if that was Peyton because he was forced to play 2 games that weren’t needed? If a team plays that great all year, they deserve the perks of being able to rest up for a playoff run.

  17. straightup says: Jan 4, 2010 2:13 AM

    So say if this is used and two or three teams end up being very comparable, who makes the decision on the seeding cause i know everyone will say it’s fixed and be just as pissed as they are right now if there team isn’t seeded higher than another.
    So lets say everyone gets there way and teams continue to play thru meaningless games and there starting QB goes down and with him a possible super bowl, how pissed would you be then. There was a poll taken regarding the Colts sitting starters and abandoning the possibility of an undefeated season. The question was along the lines of would fans have been madder if Peyton sat or got hurt, it was a wash. The vote was they would be madder if he got hurt. I understand we want to see football every week be competitive but the resting of players happens in other sports as well. I think it should be left alone.
    One more thing, if there’s such a concern about seeing your favorite team continue to play because you have paid so much money for those precious tickets then be pissed about playing games over seas, that’s one less game you get to go too.

  18. Charlie says: Jan 4, 2010 2:16 AM

    Just a quick thought but… how about rewarding any team who goes the regular season undefeated the #6 wild card spot the following year, even if they normally weren’t to reach the playoffs by the merit of their record… This way by going undefeated you guarantee that your team will be in the hunt the following year, but doesn’t stop them from trying to still play hard the next year because they still have to fight to get a a higher seed and they would still try and win the division…
    16-0= guaranteed #6 seed in the next years playoff
    *good incentive and the following year still have to fight to get a higher seed or even win division.

  19. Desides says: Jan 4, 2010 2:19 AM

    “For 2009, for example, we’d make the Texans and the Browns (yes, the Browns) the seventh and eighth seeds in the AFC playoff field, and we’d invite the Panthers and the 49ers (or maybe the Falcons) to join the NFC party.”
    Congratulations, you just recreated the BCS controversy in NFL form.

  20. stnmmc says: Jan 4, 2010 2:21 AM

    I think the playoffs should be the Rams, Lions, Browns, Skins, Seahawks, Raiders, Bills, and Bucs.
    The winning team gets the first pick in the draft, and the NFL pays three year salary for the coach of their choice, no Rooney Rule required.

  21. AlphaBean says: Jan 4, 2010 2:26 AM

    The teams in the playoffs earned it. If another team’s winning or losing dictates whether or not you make the playoffs, then you didn’t deserve to make it. In the NFL, you make your own luck, and can’t blame anyone but yourself if you have to watch the scoreboard.
    In a league where Peyton Manning and a group of DII college freshmen can earn a first-round bye, yet the Redskins’ free spending hasn’t done squat, teams need to realize there are consequences for bad management, and rewards for good management.
    Maybe there should be a committee to overthrow crappy owners like Daniel Snyder and Al Davis. For the good of the NFL, bad teams just need to get better… and receiving better picks in the draft just isn’t going to improve you when you draft JaMarcus Russell.

  22. SDCharger1969 says: Jan 4, 2010 2:27 AM

    I started reading this trash and the minute i got to committee … I stopped reading.
    …i cannot even think of an appropriate swear word …
    I smelled BCS …
    The current system is fine. Too bad if your team falls to the mercy of another game where the seeded team is rolling over; the system is the system. Don’t like it? Win more games.
    I smell the cries of Fantasy Football owners ( yea i suffered too but thats my tough sh!t … draft better next year. )
    Florio … dude … seriously … just go away.

  23. Charlie says: Jan 4, 2010 2:31 AM

    16-0 = guarantees #6 seed in the following years playoff despite record
    this would give teams the incentive to play hard and wouldn’t hurt the following year because they would have to fight to get a higher seed anyway, but they get rewarded with at least a shot in the following years playoff…

  24. culturalelite says: Jan 4, 2010 2:41 AM

    I like the committee idea. But the frolic in the poppies thing where the Browns make the playoffs…not so much.
    The reality, however, is that the current system is fair. A team like the Texans that must rely on a another team with little or nothing at stake is in that situation because they lost games they should have won earlier in the season.
    This reminds me of the constant hand-wringing about sudden death overtime being unfair. A defense should be able to stop a team for one drive, then give their offense a chance to score.

  25. VonClausewitz says: Jan 4, 2010 2:43 AM

    First off I disagree that the current system is an “unacceptable situation”. Please, that’s a complete overreaction.
    The problem with changing the playoff criteria is that you are just changing the rules of the game. There will still be ways to game the system. That’s just how these things work. I could go thru your suggestions and list several ways they will create new issues to replace the old ones you hope, at best, you will be fixing. New boss same as the old boss.
    Next point. You’ll never be able to stop a team who is undefeated from taking a break for whatever reason at the end of the season if they deem it gives them the best chance at ultimate victory. Records be damned. This won’t change in any system you invent.
    Final point. The real problem people have with Indy hanging it up early was that it helped to prevent dangerous teams from making the playoffs. The problem wasn’t really with Indy not chasing perfection. It was with the tangible sense that Indy was taking the easy way out as a way of improving their chances, while simultaneously hurting deserving teams from competing in the postseason. The first part of that was the salt on the wound. The real annoyance was that deserving teams don’t make the playoffs. Well with the current limited playoff spots you’re going to run into deserving teams not making the playoffs. It happened to the Pats last year remember. It happens almost every year.
    The easiest solution is to add more playoff spots and thus hopefully expand the portion of the bell curve you’re allowing to compete. But this too will fail when you have a situation like we do this year with a lot of 500 teams, a few top teams, and a few bottom teams. You’ll just never be able to get all the deserving teams in when they’re mostly clustered around the middle. This should be self-evident.
    Well since you can never change the possibility that you’ll have a year where a lot of teams cluster together, you can make an effort to decrease the probability that this will happen. How? By better scheduling. Every year there are teams that have weak schedules and teams that have tough schedules. And every year some of those paper lions make the playoffs. That, I think everyone will agree, should stop. You do this by ensuring that the level of competition is basically the same for each team. And that probably means breaking the current division structure completely (easiest answer), or at least improving the scheduling algorithms. One gets the sense that the latter option would annoy the league as it picks these things with an eye towards finance rather than equality. But hey, we all have to suck it up sometime.

  26. stetai says: Jan 4, 2010 2:44 AM

    First off it’s way too controversial on who gets what seeding.
    Secondly, it makes quality of wins a factor, which turns football into figure skating. It becomes more entertainment than sport that way, when a team will take wild chances like onside kicks and big passing plays and even if they lose, perhaps the judging committee might respect their moxy and give them a higher ranking for looking “very good” at 9-7, versus the conservative playing team that went 11-5, yet still won more games. And isn’t that what this is all about, winning.
    my only compromise to your proposal is to determine tiebreakers by going back through teh season and removing all teh BS plays awarded through BS referee calls. But then if we did that, the Steelers would never be in the playoffs ever again!

  27. edgy says: Jan 4, 2010 2:46 AM

    BTW, Florio, you’re absolutely wrong about the reason why the Steelers hosted the Dolphins. That is a holdover from the AFL, which rotated the title game host between the divisions (It’s also the reason why the AFL Championship game was in New York, despite the fact that the Jets were 11-3 while the Raiders were 12-2. Starting in 1960, the rotation was East host in even years and West host in odd years). Because of what happened, the AFC changed it to be the same as the NFC, which went by record (The rotation didn’t apply in 1971 because Miami was playing a wildcard team, ironically, the Colts). The NFL was actually the normal one and used a better record to determine the home field advantage. There was actually a set rotation schedule but they threw that out the window after 1972.

  28. Bucfs says: Jan 4, 2010 3:18 AM

    How about altering the scheduling for the following year?
    Teams that pack it in early week(s) before the last game should be allowed to rest their starters IF they have to play the very next week
    But teams that do otherwise (bench starters in week 15 or 16) should be forced to play very tough road games back to back to back, depending on the severity of their late-season dilemma. Changing the seeding of the playoffs is stupid, this solution makes more sense.
    They could even have a competition committee to review each game specifically (like the Saints who didn’t even start Brees-would be subject to harsher scheduling the next year)
    That would get them to at least try, since it would make a team potentially make next year’s schedule incredibly difficult. This would allow teams to still have the option to pack it in and get ready for playoffs and not effect anything immediate but knowing they would have a tough road ahead of them, especially since the turnover rate is 50 percent.
    Doesn’t Roger Goodell enjoy games in London?
    Next year would have home games removed from Colts and Saints- replaced by London games. And if teams are super obvious about it, force them to play across the country away game-across the atlantic “home game” then only to come back home to a divisional away game.

  29. DT79 says: Jan 4, 2010 3:20 AM

    Here’s my idea: let teams play whichever players they want. If the Colts want to send their practice squad out there, let them. And this BS about “well, fans pay big money to go to those games” is moot… fans aren’t guaranteed anything in those games. If Manning is hurt, should he play because someone paid $150 for a ticket? Give me a break. There’s some issue every year that makes people completely lose their minds and start throwing out ridiculous ideas that would do so much more harm than good (ie, 5-11 teams in the playoffs). Stop freaking out, the playoff system is fine.

  30. afiresnake says: Jan 4, 2010 4:09 AM

    TMQ has always said the NFL playoffs should be a seeded tournament. If it is cross-league (AFC, NFC combined), week 16 would have mattered to any team, I think even week 17.
    The playoff format is broken since the league realigned to eight divisions. That was a small change with huge negative effects. But at least it looks good:)

  31. Bob S. says: Jan 4, 2010 4:12 AM

    4 tanked games yesterday worth noting
    arizona 7-33, philly 0-24 and cinci 0-37 all blown out yet next week meet the same team again and ariz and cinci are favorites? and philly only a 4 point undedog – AFTER all 3 of them were big underdogs yesterday?
    also underdog new england against a weaker houston team who they of course lost to, loses welker to boot yet new england is favorite over a tougher baltimore team?
    something is rotten in denmark!

  32. Dirk says: Jan 4, 2010 4:56 AM

    Making the last four or six games more valuable results in the scheduling committee having a huge influence on playoff seedings. Talk about soft or hard scedule in december. That’s not a good idea.
    You want all teams to play all games full out? There is a simple solution: Shorten the regular season to about four games.

  33. BorisBulldog says: Jan 4, 2010 5:06 AM

    Wonder how much rest the Colts and Saints will get when they pull a play-off one and done?

  34. Brohamma says: Jan 4, 2010 5:12 AM

    Introduce a BCS type of committee into the NFL postseason… ARE YOU INSANE?!
    Regarding the “all out” mentality till the end of the season… be careful for what you wish for. Here’s why.
    THE TEAMS WILL DOG IT AT THE BEGINNING OF THE SEASON INSTEAD!
    Why would I risk my players prior to the “decision-making” time? I’ll just hold on and then go on a big run with my uninjured/fresh players and claim my “TRUE” wild card berth. And since my regular season record won’t amount to a pile of maggots, in regards to home field advantage, my strategy of making a late season run is further fortified.
    I’d rather see the final two weeks of the season be a rest for quality teams than the first four or five weeks be an extended preseason. HOW ABOUT YOU FLORIO?

  35. The Black Cat says: Jan 4, 2010 5:33 AM

    What a HORRIBLE slew of ideas, mostly evidenced by the ridiculous “Browns in the playoffs” concept.
    The format now is pretty good. Since the reformat in 2002, you have a 90% chance of being in the playoffs if you win 10 games. For all the “confusion” we hear about every year, its really that simple. If you win 9 games, you have a shot of getting in, although any team that wins 9 and makes the playoffs should consider themselves fortunate. Given that roughly 40% of 9-7 teams do, expansion of the playoffs would be a bad idea. Expansion to let the BROWNS in would be worse.
    I’ve come to accept that this will happen in week 17. I think most fans have. But week 16?? C’mon now. Perhaps the NFL should be able to take away the bye if a team decides to go on vacation for a month.

  36. bergerwitz says: Jan 4, 2010 5:39 AM

    I believe implementing a system similar to the Sprint for the Cup like system in Nascar that allows you to reseed based on the last 6 weeks of the season might work. This develops an even playing field and creates an incentive to “finish strong”. The two best records in each conference over the last 6 weeks would gains the byes and forces teams to real stay competitive throughout the season. No committees, just the records determine their fates…

  37. Newguy says: Jan 4, 2010 6:10 AM

    Since the union contract is also being renegotiated, this is an opportunity to make wins a factor in all players, and coaches contracts.
    For example, $100,000 per win and $25,000 per loss. The playoffs can be higher, maybe $250,00 per win and $100,000 per loss. Of course, the base compensation levels would have to be reduced to keep the overall rates in sync.
    If a coach thinks he can not go for the win and keep the locker room he would be nuts.

  38. danfinocchio says: Jan 4, 2010 6:18 AM

    People just need to get over this. Goodell would be angry if a marquee player like Peterson or Brady got hurt so he should be fine with the current system. Not everything can be absolutley perfect. The NFL system is the best postseason in sports because it rewards teams for the regular season and doesn’t let everybody in. NOTHING is wrong with the playoff system!

  39. Theda Skocpol says: Jan 4, 2010 6:19 AM

    A subjective process in a committee won’t fly — it would be controversial each year. The NFL can keep the process of seeding automatic and still give greater weight to games later in the season by changing the weight of wins and losses. For example, divide the season into quarters and give less than one weight to wins and losses in the first quarter, one for one in the middle two quarters, and greater than one weight for wins and losses in the final month. Using this approach, it is likely than San Diego, which finished strong, would have overtaken Indy for the top seed at the end. This system could be used for divisional rankings and seedings, or maybe just for seedings.

  40. faulkn22 says: Jan 4, 2010 6:21 AM

    I think your idea sucks Florio, no offense.
    Getting to the playoffs should never be granted by a committee. It should be determined by W’s and L’s… thats it. Also, Browns to the playoffs? WTF!?
    How about this idea. Maybe it wouldn’t work, maybe it would, you tell me. Why not just make the first 10 games of the year non conference games and then the final 6 conference games.
    What team is going to lose to a conference opponent on purpose?

  41. this class sucks says: Jan 4, 2010 6:32 AM

    So to make the NFL more popular we are going to add to it the most unpopular system in sports? Its simple if a team deviates from their depth chart than the price of the tickets is decreased and the game can’t be blacked out. So the fans, while still will have to sit through what is really a preseason game they wont have to pay top dollar to do so. Florio I took a picture of this with my phone so don’t bother deleting my comment and claiming the article as your own.

  42. xgbx says: Jan 4, 2010 6:51 AM

    I don’t have the words…
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fEkWH8DB7b0&feature=related

  43. Streetsmart says: Jan 4, 2010 7:00 AM

    Well it finally happened……Florio’s cheese dunn fell off his cracker!
    Sad to see really….

  44. Big Stretch says: Jan 4, 2010 7:05 AM

    Why are people constantly trying to change what is already great? If a team wins enough games that they can rest the starters and get healthy for the playoffs then why shouldn’t they be rewarded for their effort? If I kick ass all semester in school so I can fail the final and still pass the class I should be allowed to.
    You just like to stir shit up Florio, hey maybe what the NFL should do is adopt the BCS scoring system, that would be great right?

  45. FireJerryJones says: Jan 4, 2010 7:09 AM

    Jeez Louise.
    Didn’t you make some resolution or something against long, and dumbass posts?
    How about teams like the Steelers winning more games, so they don’t need the Colts to beat the Jets for them.
    The only reason the commish is involved is because he wants to add a game to the season… which is already long enough thanks.
    Fans in Indy can boo their 14-2 team all they want. They can stew about it after Manning retires.

  46. argos says: Jan 4, 2010 7:17 AM

    After hearing these ideas, the current system looks well thought out.
    The only way to motivate teams to play in the last game is to pay them a bonus if they play and win in addition to extra draft picks.
    You can’t penalize a team for winning too many games. Also, penalizing teams for resting players will invoke fake injuries and will conjur up images of european soccer games where even the best players could use some acting lessons.
    Reallocate tv money to reward teams who win the last game or two of the year. If it’s enough, players will want to play and win. If an extra draft pick is on the line, I’d like to see what hapens.

  47. Choirdrunk says: Jan 4, 2010 7:20 AM

    One of the reasons the NFL is so much more popular than the NBA ever will be, is, outside of a couple of rules (pass interference, roughing the passer) there is little doubt about the integrity of any given play or the game.
    Introducing a committee to seed playoff teams changes that. The first time big market teams such as the Jets or Patriots get seeded past the Bills or Jaguars, there would be an uproar. And the most troubling part wouldn’t be the uproar from the team displaced, it would be the sad generalizable realization that football, which is supposed to be a deviation from the normal kissing ass, nepotism and general unfairness that we all have to deal with at some points in life, isn’t the relatively pure meritocracy that we have come to love. It’s just another exercise in who can buy-off who, who is related to who and who likes who more.
    I recommend we hit the owners in the wallets. If they decide to tank a game, they need to recompense the fans, regardless of whether the game is home or away. Heck, if they go 14-0 they earned the right to do it. But the fans haven’t done anything to warrant spending upwards of $500 to watch third stringers flop around. The draft pick idea here is also good. Creating clear lines for this sort of thing would not be easy, but we’re not looking for perfection for this rule change. We just want to curb the worst abuses so that, between playoff tickets and late season games, fans don’t decide it’s cheaper to buy tickets on the secondary market.

  48. shaunypoo says: Jan 4, 2010 7:20 AM

    Sorry, this is the worst ideas ever. The NFL is the best because every game counts and who is where is taken out of the hands of people. If you don’t like teams keeping your team out of the playoffs because they “tank it”, do something about it on the field and quit having 5 game losing streaks to the Raiders, Chiefs, and Browns. Did Woodley give you a call and ask you to post this garbage.
    Same people who whine about running up the score. There are two teams on the field, you don’t like it, do something about it, on the field.
    The NFL is the best league right now, even with all the flaws, because it is fair and impartial, for the most part.
    williamsbros is right, this is the worst year for teams laying down, and all of a sudden there is a problem. Teams lay down at some point or another. By this philosophy, the Bengals would have gotten in late last year, and I guarantee none of you think that should have happened.

  49. Wiscdave says: Jan 4, 2010 7:21 AM

    This idea comes up every few years. It was discussed on the CBS pregame show yesterday morning. In a tradition-bound league, regional and division rivalries are important and, at least in the past, there was a feeling that a seeding system would dilute them. Yesterday’s Cowboys-Eagles game had drama because they were playing for the division title. Playing for a better seed doesn’t do it.

  50. Big_Monkey says: Jan 4, 2010 7:32 AM

    I think this is a ridiculous idea. Teams should not be penalized for playing well at the beginning of the season and then not winning at the end.
    Every game is important in the NFL. If a team is so far ahead that they can afford to rest their players for the last game, then good for them.
    This is no different than baseball, when teams win their division and choose to rest a pitcher or star batter.

  51. Lumas101 says: Jan 4, 2010 7:32 AM

    I don’t think it’s a good idea to have the playoff particpants based on opinion rather than actual record. It leaves too much open to interpretation, and would cause too much drama for teams that get left out. I also don’t know how they would determine draft order if a team with a worse record was arbitrarily placed into the playoffs above a team with a better record.
    I wouldn’t mind seeing a 16-team playoff rather than 12, and I would suggest that in such a scenario they could do one or both of two things:
    They could use an MLS-style playoff, at least with the last four teams to get in, where each conference sends six teams, but the last four are based on best record, regardless of conference. You could put the worst of those four teams against the best team already in the field. For example this year if an NFC team was the last team in, they would open against the Colts. If an AFC team was the second last in, they’d open against the Saints or Chargers, depending on a tie-breaker that doesn’t yet exist.
    A second possibility would be to run it similar to the NBA, where a team that doesn’t win a division can still be seeded higher than a team that does win a division if it has a better record.
    Just some thoughts. In the end I think the best answer is to leave things how they are, and deal with teams sitting their starters.

  52. efangule says: Jan 4, 2010 7:33 AM

    I agree. Arbitrary adding of “hot” teams is completely stupid. However, you might be onto something with using the final games of the season for seeding.
    If you have it so that the final four games decide a first week bye and home field advantage among the division winners, it would make for an interesting last couple of weeks.

  53. Big_Monkey says: Jan 4, 2010 7:36 AM

    Also, this whole idea of expanding the number of games in the season is ridiculous as well.
    The season is long enough, teams are banged up enough as it is. You expand the season any longer, you’ll lose half of the team’s stars.
    Talk of expanding the season is aboout gaining more revenue and is selfish on the part of the League, ownership, and fans.

  54. BigOx says: Jan 4, 2010 7:38 AM

    Ridiculous. Having six teams make the playoffs based on the current system, and an additional two team based on end of year performance is mind boggling. Two different playoff qualifying criteria? C’mon. Put down the spiked eggnog and sleep off your drunken stupor Florio; however, I do appreciate the thinking out-of-the-box on the seeding issue.

  55. openfieldtackle says: Jan 4, 2010 7:39 AM

    This year is a year that had a tremendous amount of teams with lopsided records. this has caused much of the problem.
    If you think this is bad wait until the uncapped years arrive. the NFL will go the way of MLB if this happens. Green Bay will become the Brewers, Steelers will become the Pirates and the Cowboys will be the Yankees, Patriots the Red Sox.
    Let’s fix the cap problem and revenue before we worry about extra or less draft picks for going 13-0 or 14-0.
    The NFL is on top with ratings and attendance and should not destroy the current system.
    The NFL is now Americas sport over baseball because it has competitive balance.
    You will always have organizations that compete well like Pittsburgh and others that are draft poorly like Detroit!
    Coaches should have enough pride to try to win with a strong roster. If Indy had a strong #2 QB that could compete would any of this happened?
    Wouldn’t it be great to see the JETS in the SB with Indy and CINN mailing it in against them?
    That would correct many problems!
    STEELER FAN!

  56. Audient says: Jan 4, 2010 7:45 AM

    OK, I can give you credit for sticking your neck out there and proposing something that’s a bit radical.
    But that aside, this is too radical. And while I give you style points for giving a nod to a team that surged in the end, the seeding and the playoffs should reflect how a team did all season. Or you risk creating a new problem: those September games will become meaningless, almost an extension of the preseason.
    Another unintended consequence: if early season games are worth 1 point, and late season games are worth 3 points, then whether you make the playoffs increasingly becomes a function of not just WHO you play, but WHEN you play them.
    Will we allow teams who finish last the year before to play not only an easy schedule, but give them their toughest opponents in September, and their easiest ones in December, in the name of parity? My head is beginning to hurt…

  57. Packers29 says: Jan 4, 2010 7:46 AM

    Chargers finished with 4 straight wins. The first 7 don’t matter for this seeding criteria, so why do you say, “And if a team like the Colts chooses to rest starters for the postseason, they’d risk losing the top seed to the Chargers, who finished with 11 straight wins.” You can’t take those first 7 into account, because only the last four count.

  58. disco says: Jan 4, 2010 7:49 AM

    No “committee” or otherwise arbitrary selection process will ever make it. They can’t even get replay right half the time, I’m not trusting any playoff impact to a committee.
    ***HERE’S THE SOLUTION***
    1. Round 3 of the draft becomes the winners of weeks 16,17 (meaning 32 picks – some teams will have 2 picks, some 0)
    2. Draft order is the same as round 1 of the draft
    3. If a team has two picks, the second pick will occur following all unique teams’ first picks
    *************
    You say draft picks won’t sway teams to play – I disagree. The Colts aren’t going to sit on the sidelines and watch the Pats pick up 2 draft picks on them. This also gives great meaning to teams like the Texans and Browns that played so well late but didn’t make the playoffs.

  59. DoughBoyRAC says: Jan 4, 2010 7:54 AM

    There are some nice ideas here. Surely the NFL can come up with something else as the current method is inadequate.
    The committee idea is terrible. Too many subjective opportunities for human fraud.
    Expand playoffs to eight and reshuffle the deck after the first round (R&R Bob). It’s a good point that the wild cards shouldn’t have to carry the monkey on their back throughout the playoffs if they have a better record than the winner of a lame division.
    As for those here who say “leave it as it is,” I guess there will be always those who answer “not sure” in a poll. Even if the poll question is: “Does the right shoe fit better on the right foot or the left foot?”

  60. Paracelsus says: Jan 4, 2010 7:55 AM

    I like the NCAA “hot team” concept. My idea is for home games to be determined on the team’s record in the last 4-6 games. Might not solve all the issues, but I am just glad people are brainstorming on this.
    As it is, the last week of the season reminds me of the Twilight Zone.

  61. hotchick says: Jan 4, 2010 7:56 AM

    Yes… UMMM NO!!!!!!
    What id the Falcons do down the stretch? They went 3-1 I believe. Lets reward that strong finish of beating Buffalo, the Jets and Tampa and losing badly to the one good team they played in that stretch. (and yes I dont count the Jets as a good team. After all the whole idea if this stupidity is the implication the Jets made the playoffs due to the Colts and Bengals not caring)
    Sorry, teams should be rewarded for their 16 game season, not a four or 5 game stretch at the end of the year. Cleveland and Denver are the same. NON Playoff teams who could not put it together for 16 games. Cleveland did not have a better, more reward-able season because they ended hot over Denver who started hot.
    The complainers are just louder. Are there really more of them?

  62. TheBigOldDog says: Jan 4, 2010 7:57 AM

    There sure is another way. Take away draft picks from any team that test more than say, 5% of their non-injured starters. If that’s too harsh then move their picks to the bottom of the next round. Problem solved. Owners won’t allow the future of their teams to be mortgaged to rest starters.

  63. RacerX says: Jan 4, 2010 8:03 AM

    You did it Florio. PFT officially jumped the shark. Keep the date handy.
    “Let’s face it, a revolutionary adjustment is needed.” What a false premise indeed….You have this uncanny ability to blow things out of proportion, and in style typical for a lawyer, you propose bureaucracy. This is the answer? More bureaucracy? Reminds me of when McCain was stumbling during the campaign, and when asked a pointed question, he said he’d create a committee to look into it.
    Pls keep your hand off my company.

  64. Rocky70 says: Jan 4, 2010 8:04 AM

    Absolutely ridiculous!!
    The whole idea of ‘numbers’ is to gauge a team’s worthiness based on win & losses ……………. Now Florio wants to allow ‘unbiased’ humans to determine seedings & even the teams based on ‘personal preference’. ……………….. Buy a playoff spot ??? ……. Even better …….. LOL.

  65. Charlie says: Jan 4, 2010 8:09 AM

    If a team goes 16-0 why not reward them with an automatic entry into next years playoffs… Guaranteed #6 seed… That way they play hard that current year and the following they will play hard in order to get win the division and/or get a higher seed.

  66. Mavpa says: Jan 4, 2010 8:22 AM

    I think these fans that are being ‘ripped off’ as their team is resting players for a Super Bowl run should be be fans of the Lions and see what it’s like to NEVER have to rest starters for the playoffs.
    You know… that kneel down play is pretty boring too, they should just go ahead and ban that play as well.

  67. Kane says: Jan 4, 2010 8:26 AM

    This proposal is clearly nonsense. Subjective ranking is the scourge of the college game, why would you extend that abomination to the pros?
    BUT: yes, there is a real problem to be addressed.
    It is a problem that a team like the Colts can play three straight meaningless games. It’s a problem for tv ratings, for fans who payed a premium to watch what turns out to be an exhibition, and most importantly for the competitive balance of the league. The Jets are only in the playoffs because their game against Indy happened to be scheduled so late that they lucked into the jr. varsity. That’s crappy to the teams that had to play 16 actual football games to get their 9 wins.
    So why not tweak the OBJECTIVE criteria? Here’s a simple stab at it:
    Every win counts the same toward making the playoffs, but late-season wins count heavier in seeding. That rewards the teams with momentum, that are playing their best football heading into the playoffs — and the ones that bother to get off their duffs and play hard for 16 games.

  68. BENITO says: Jan 4, 2010 8:47 AM

    how can the nfl have all these rules that make qb’s un-hit-able and then say they MUST play when there is nothing at stake? i hope they make it mandetory and then manning or brees blow out a knee playing in some bs week 17 matchup against a sh!ty team!
    sounds pretty stupid but thats goodell for ya!!!

  69. Patsfan1776 says: Jan 4, 2010 8:49 AM

    It was a great idea…almost… and then it became the BCS.
    “For 2009, for example, we’d make the Texans and the Browns (yes, the Browns) the seventh and eighth seeds in the AFC playoff field, and we’d invite the Panthers and the 49ers (or maybe the Falcons) to join the NFC party.”
    So the 11-5 Patriots, who fought back after losing Brady in game 1, would not have made the playoffs over the Texans and Browns. We already have the BCS no need for this system.

  70. Sociofan says: Jan 4, 2010 9:00 AM

    It’s not the worst idea I’ve ever heard. I think the challenge comes in when you have 4 or 5 teams finish the year very strong and only 2 can be selected. The permutations of selection can get ugly. Perhaps a strength of schedule could work, but that would favor a team that gets healthy late with a favorable schedule.
    It’s worth thinking about, but I’m not sure that I like 4 more teams in the show either.

  71. Pockets Straight says: Jan 4, 2010 9:08 AM

    How about a little tweak. Rather than letting some committee make the decision… Let’s let the schedule make the ranking. (Bare with me, I swear it’s different than currently done).
    To make the playoffs, the top 6 teams in each conference based upon schedule. (so far the same as it is now).
    Seeding the playoffs is based upon your conference record only. Also, your final three games will be conference opponents. This way your final three games will still be important. The obvious flaw here is that not every team plays the same conference schedule. And divisions like the NFC East and AFC North have tougher divisions that say the AFC West or NFC West. But here are the seedings with this plan:
    AFC: (actually no change here)
    1: Colts
    2: Chargers
    3: Patriots
    4: Bengals
    5: Jets
    6: Ravens
    NFC:
    1: Saints
    2: Vikings
    3: Cowboys
    4: Packers
    5: Eagles
    6: Cards
    In this senario, the AFC is exactly the same. But, the Final four teams all had ended with the same conference record so there was still a lot to play for.
    In the NFC the top 5 teams all have the same conference record, and while the saints still take first place, The vikings and the eagles might not have sat their starters so soon because they all still had a chance going into week 17. The Cards drop from 4th to 6th bot that many other changes.
    If we look back to last season, the AFC teams that got bys were the Titans and Steelers. With the new seeding, the steelers and Colts would have gotten byes. Remember, both teams sat their starters for most of that game….

  72. redsquare says: Jan 4, 2010 9:18 AM

    I appreciate the intent of the first idea, but like others here I think injecting the worst aspect of college tournaments–the subjectivity and ambiguity–into the clear-cut NFL would be bad for everyone.
    Sure, the playoff rules get a little fuzzy when a lot of teams are close at the end of the year, but most fans know exactly what’s going on, certainly in the last couple weeks of the season. To have to cross your fingers after week 17 and wait for some committee would be an unwelcome twist for everyone.
    The ambiguity of such a system could also undercut the intended motivation. If teams didn’t know precisely what the committee’s criteria was, they wouldn’t know exactly what to work hard at. And if they did know the precise criteria, they’d work the system as they are now, but we’d have an added layer of bureaucracy.
    The second idea is intriguing–this year, it’d be great to see teams like the Titans and Browns in the playoffs. But I could see the weighting of the late season having a negative effect on the early season–we could see more of what the Cardinals gave us last year, a mediocre season with a surge at the end.
    I still think the best idea I’ve heard around here is the simplest: have the last month of the season be all division games. Maybe that wouldn’t have stopped the Colts from coasting this year, but most years the lead team doesn’t have that much of a cushion.
    I don’t know if there’s any perfect solution–hard to see one that can’t be ‘worked’ by a team.

  73. StevenM says: Jan 4, 2010 9:32 AM

    If teams want to “tank” because they have nothing to play for so be it. They took care of their business & shouldn’t need to worry about anyone issues or “competitive balance”. If the Jets lost out instead of getting the benefit, it is what it is. Don’t lose to Buffalo or Atlanta AT HOME. If you’re the Steelers, take a look at who you lost too, and cya next year!

  74. Bucforever says: Jan 4, 2010 9:35 AM

    Why do we have to have any wildcard games? Why can’t it be all about the winners of their divisions and conferences only? Schedule the division match ups at the end of the season to eliminate any early qualifications. Easy, simple but in the end it is all about the money. Loss revenue from less games. I guess thats why we have wildcard teams.

  75. XLI says: Jan 4, 2010 9:39 AM

    Florio, you left out one novel idea:
    How about teams win more games if they either want to 1) Make the Playoffs or 2) Get a better seed? Novel I know.
    THE SYSTEM IS PERFECT. There has been and always will be teams that earned the right to “rest”,
    “shut it down”, whatever you want to call it.
    Most Head Coaches see the full season in 2 Parts: The Regular Season and the Postseason. You do everything you can to set yourself up for the Postseason, but in the end your Reg Season record gets tossed and you start out 0-0 along with the other Playoff Teams. What possible “incentive” does a locked in team need, what the Super Bowl isn’t enough incentive, we need to add it Prizes and Tricks to force meaning into meaningless games?
    Don’t overthink things Florio, you might hurt yourself.

  76. favrecansuckit says: Jan 4, 2010 9:43 AM

    I don’t know how drunk you were when you convinced yourself that these were good ideas, but I guarantee that there is no level of alcohol that could convince me that they are anything less than ridiculous.
    This isn’t anything new, happens in all major sports EVERY year. Expanding the field to include half of the teams in the playoffs is crazy. And the idea that you can create a “neutral committee”, without any bias/ties to any of the teams, to select teams for the playoffs is completely insane, and would create a million times more problems/controversy than the current system.

  77. willmose says: Jan 4, 2010 9:44 AM

    Mike, great job at rousing the rabble. But why not talk about who REALLY hates the meaningless games. Surprise, it is the gamblers. They had to take several games off the board. Less money for them. Are you carrying their water or just rousing the rabble?

  78. Cleric John Preston says: Jan 4, 2010 9:49 AM

    Reading these comments makes me sad, because there are way too many “florio haters” who aren’t actally thinking about what he said.
    1) We have wildcard games because some teams just have easy schedules and race out to great records while teams like my ravens have 5 of their 7 losses from playing division winners.
    2) Florio’s suggested panel wouldn’t determine who MAKES the playoffs, just the seeding.
    And I think thats a GREAT Idea, because it occurs to me that San Diego should be the #1 seed right now, not a gutless Indy team that laid down 2 weeks in a row to shitty teams
    3) Teams shouldn’t be allowed to TANK it because it affects the integrity of the game. To plenty of outsiders it would seem the colts lost to the Jets to get the Jets into the playoffs and water down the playoffs field, while keeping out the Texans / Steelers who are more a threat.
    While some homers might not see it, a team, even if it has a good record and has “taken care of business” SHOULD NOT be able to fix the playoff field like that.
    In the end, I think losing a draft pick for each game you tank will be the likely solution . . . and while Florio said this won’t work, I think it will as teams that make teh playoffs year in and year out like teh Colts but who year in year out tank late season games will start to cripple their drafts and their longrun franchise health.

  79. Mike Florio says: Jan 4, 2010 9:51 AM

    @edgy . . . .
    Sorry, but you are incorrect. In 1973, for example, the Cowboys hosted the NFC title game with a 10-4 record. The Vikings, despite going 12-2, were the road team.

  80. danlinker says: Jan 4, 2010 10:03 AM

    I KNEW you were a complete idiot florio, but this one takes the cake.
    I think you have actually convinced yourself that your incoherent babbling makes a difference in the NFL. What an ego man. Even for you.

  81. RacerX says: Jan 4, 2010 10:06 AM

    Can you say OVERREACH?
    I’m still stunned that someone who has created an excellent blog for breaking news thinks he can single-handedly develop “solutions” to problems he helped elephantize via this same blog. Then he presents horribly wrong-headed “solutions” to these hyped problems.
    Wow. And I thought Florio’s concern (“troubling”) over the Rooney Rule was overreaching.
    Jesus, Florio, keep your hands off our game!

  82. Drat says: Jan 4, 2010 10:11 AM

    Florio’s ideas would just add to much subjectivity. That’s to be avoided at all cost. Large market teams and the Cowboys would prevail in seeding and wild card slots every time. See BCS.

  83. golongboyee says: Jan 4, 2010 10:11 AM

    If a team goes 16-0 why not reward them with an automatic entry into next years playoffs… Guaranteed #6 seed… That way they play hard that current year and the following they will play hard in order to get win the division and/or get a higher seed.
    This is the THIRD dumbest post I have ever read in here………oh, so if Team A goes 16-0 one year they deserve to go to the playoffs next year even if they go 0-16???? Give me a break. This is beyond retarded!!!!!!!!!

  84. Verbal Kint says: Jan 4, 2010 10:11 AM

    Hey, I’ve got an idea. Why don’t we fix the CBA first, avoid killing the golden goose, then, maybe we can fix these issues. (although I personally don’t see anything that needs fixing)
    Its like treating a patient for his eczema in the middle of kidney failure.

  85. favrecansuckit says: Jan 4, 2010 10:13 AM

    XLI says:
    January 4, 2010 9:39 AM
    Florio, you left out one novel idea:
    How about teams win more games if they either want to 1) Make the Playoffs or 2) Get a better seed? Novel I know.
    THE SYSTEM IS PERFECT. There has been and always will be teams that earned the right to “rest”,
    “shut it down”, whatever you want to call it.
    Most Head Coaches see the full season in 2 Parts: The Regular Season and the Postseason. You do everything you can to set yourself up for the Postseason, but in the end your Reg Season record gets tossed and you start out 0-0 along with the other Playoff Teams. What possible “incentive” does a locked in team need, what the Super Bowl isn’t enough incentive, we need to add it Prizes and Tricks to force meaning into meaningless games?
    Don’t overthink things Florio, you might hurt yourself.
    ———————————————————
    This is correct.

  86. Xpensive Wino says: Jan 4, 2010 10:15 AM

    I have no problem with the current system.
    But, there seems to be two issues here. Competitive balance as it relates to the integrity of the league (playing to win) and competitive balance as it relates to helping or not helping certain teams get in the playoffs. If the Steelers wanted to get in the playoffs, they should have beaten the Browns, Chiefs or Raiders. Same for any other team.
    If we’re thinking out loud about pie in the sky scenarios to revamp the system, the NFL could break the season into two half-seasons (1-8 & 9-17) and teams records would be combined to determine division winners and ultimately playoff teams. There’s a million devices to establish tie-breakers with head-to-head and points against common opponents and strength of schedule to the point where winners would be clear cut. This would provide a scenario where the games at the end of the season still matter and that’s the point, right?

  87. golongboyee says: Jan 4, 2010 10:18 AM

    This whole thing is a total non-issue. I realize that Colts fans are so stupid that they would rather have a competitive game where a playoff appearance is ON the line rather than have one locked up. We have already established this idiocy. But, let me put it in caps
    THE CURRENT WAY IS FINE. LEAVE IT ALONE.
    If these cry-baby teams are crying because they need a team to win that has the benefit of resting, they should have thought of that about 8 weeks sooner and PLAYED BETTER!!!!!
    If my team goes 14-0 and has everything locked up, I am certainly not going to complain about it……..if you are gripping, than don’t pay for tickets. It is that simple. Any team that locks early deserves to enjoy the benefits of doing so.
    This issue is ridiculous!

  88. Hendog says: Jan 4, 2010 10:25 AM

    Why not just penalize teams that tank by trimming their salary cap for the next year? Of course, this assumes a new CB can be reached…
    If a team doesn’t want to use its’ roster to the fullest, give them less money to pay their players. That’s definately an incentive to keep your players in the game…

  89. Stihler fan says: Jan 4, 2010 10:25 AM

    Bad ideas. Then only idea I have (that MIGHT help a LITTLE). Is to make all the AFC VS NFC games the first four games of the season. The last six games should be the divisional match ups

  90. Randall says: Jan 4, 2010 11:19 AM

    You can’t tell an NFL coach who to play (unless you’re the team owner or Brett Favre). Throwing away a meaningless game to protect players is smart business.
    Maybe if all division games were played at the end of the season, there’d be fewef meaningless games.

  91. The Wej says: Jan 4, 2010 11:41 AM

    I would mandate teams with nothing to play for be required to post a list of players definitely not going to play. If a player is not on the list he must play a minimum number of minutes. I know teams can fake injuries but there would be no incentive to do so.
    This way it would be fair to the teams that have earned the right to sit guys, but the fans would also be well informed and could make decisions regarding betting, attendance, watching the game, etc.

  92. Big_Monkey says: Jan 4, 2010 12:05 PM

    This idea is nonsense.
    If the last four games were most important…
    This may actually make it much tougher to fire some coaches that have horrible records but were able to finish strong., ala Mangini.

  93. 2brauneyz says: Jan 4, 2010 12:19 PM

    Stop the inequality of the seasons. Let each conference play all the other teams within the conference. Then set up a playoff bracket so that AFC plays NFC teams in reverse rankings( like March Madness). This stops the inequality within divisions and between division (Intra and Inter conference ) matchups. Is the NFC west really competitive now? This keeps each team playing 16 games and then winners keep going.

  94. keabu says: Jan 4, 2010 12:22 PM

    Everyone is way off on this subject. The real reason people don’t like it is that good Fantasy teams lose in their playoffs because the best players aren’t playing :)
    ok…I’m being silly.
    The most important thing to me is that the teams should do their best because fans are paying a lot of money to see these games. In reality, it’s about entertainment and keeping fans in the seats…winning the Championship is a bonus. I gaomed a lot of respect for Peyton this year because it was obvious he wanted to play…all players should (and probably do) feel that way…team leadership should not take that away. Players play because they love the game.
    I live in New Mexico. It’s 600+ miles to the closest NFL teams in different directions (and I don’t like them…Dal, Arz, Den) so I only go to games about once every 3-4 years. I have to plan my trips well in advance. By the time you figure ticket price, transportation, lodging, food, etc, it’s pretty darn pricey. I’ll be damned if I’ll ever go to a late season game.
    I certainly wish a lot of things would change about attending NFL games. Its a hassle and costs too much. I’m tired of going to games at New Mexico State and UTEP …lmao

  95. JOG says: Jan 4, 2010 12:34 PM

    There currently 3 motivations (that I can think of) where teams would consider tanking, playing their backups, or not playing to their highest level of competition:
    1: rest their starters to heal them or avoid injury
    2: not show their full playbook to next week’s direct opponent
    3: try to improve their draft position
    For #1-I don’t know if there is any solution for #1 that keeps with the integrity of the game and avoids judges or committees (which is truly ridiculous to suggest.)
    But you can solve #2 and #3 quite easily.
    For#2-To avoid a repeat of this year, where week 17 is a mirror image of the 1st round of the playoffs for several teams, simply make sure that every AFC team plays an NFC team in week 17. done.
    For#3-To avoid teams tanking for the purpose of trying to get a top 5 draft pick, simply implement a form of a draft lottery of non-playoff teams similar to the NBA.

  96. ShadowWind says: Jan 4, 2010 12:51 PM

    The only way you are going to get through to the teams and their owners is to hit them where they feel it most; their wallets.
    Preseason game tickets should cost 1/2 or less than regular season ones, and if a team decides to rest their starters for more than a single quarter of a game then tickets should be refunded to the price of preseason tickets.
    In my mind, it’s not so much that the throw away games effect the “integrity” of the NFL/teams/games, it’s that their lack of commitment to the Fans who pay their wages isn’t being addressed.

  97. golongboyee says: Jan 4, 2010 4:26 PM

    “….if a team decides to rest their starters for more than a single quarter of a game then tickets should be refunded to the price of preseason tickets.”
    Congratulations, I think we have a winner for the DUMBEST POST ever on PFT………ding, ding, ding!

  98. Observer1 says: Jan 4, 2010 5:42 PM

    I still think this is the best idea:
    I like the idea of playing all of the division games at the end of the season.
    You play the first 10 weeks against those outside your division and the final six games are home and home against your division.
    Also, make a team finish with a 3-3 record in their division and a .500 or above winning percentage in the conference to be eligible for a wild card slot. This makes the first 10 games and the last 6 games extremely important.
    A couple of other schedule modifications would be to have all bye weeks completed in weeks 3-10. All teams in each division will have the same bye week and the week will rotate one year laterly in the schedule each season. i.e. if a teams bye week is week 3 this year, it is week 4 next. Each eight years you make it through the rotation.
    Example AFC EAST SCHEDULE under this plan:
    WEEK 12
    NE@JETS
    BUFFALO@MIAMI
    WEEK 13
    JETS@BUFFALO
    MIAMI@NE
    WEEK 14
    BUFFALO@NE
    JETS@MIAMI
    WEEK 15
    NE@JETS
    MIAMI@BUFFALO
    WEEK 16
    BUFFALO@JETS
    NE@MIAMI
    WEEK 17
    NE@BUFFALO
    MIAMI@JETS

  99. Observer1 says: Jan 4, 2010 5:54 PM

    Florio…whats your thoughts on my idea?

  100. eaglealan64 says: Jan 4, 2010 6:03 PM

    I don’t like all 6 Divisional Games being the last 6 weeks but certainly make the last 3 or 4 – wouldn’t guarantee no problems but would make it less likely.

  101. december says: Jan 4, 2010 6:33 PM

    “The teams that need help to get a seat at the playoff table from teams not inclined to help themselves don’t like it, either.”
    Here’s an idea: maybe they should win more f@cking games? This is football, right? The pu$$yfication of the league continues…

  102. MasterShake says: Jan 4, 2010 8:39 PM

    Vegas is loving this shit. Even the head honcho’s of the NFL can’t figure out how to fix this problem. Well, these are the same a-holes that SET the SCHEDULE! One would think (not two) that they have a better grasp on which teams are going to be playoff contenders and those that are not, than we (meaning you and not me) fans know.
    I confused myself.
    I call bullshit!

  103. slipkid says: Jan 4, 2010 9:37 PM

    JOG, in the old days (70s), one could not play a co-division team in the first round of the playoffs. but yes the higher seeded team (of 2 division winners) sometimes had a worse record. not sure i want to go back there but…
    the rules should be changed to not allow one to play the same team in week 17 and then in the first round of the playoffs. so, cincy would play balto (again) and nyj would play the pats (again).
    and az would play philly, and dallas would play gb.
    ///////////////
    but, i would eliminate the byes. the byes dont save any time. the bye teams generally didnt play hard all the way down the stretch. so make them play.
    and it looks like minnesota would then have to host atlanta and n’awlins would have to host carolina. except i would make them swap so n’awlins wouldnt have the same oppo 2 weeks in a row.
    and san dee would meet the sca-ree steelers and indy would host houston (again).
    this all sure beats the liberal solution, death by committee, all to hell.

  104. Cy says: Jan 4, 2010 11:11 PM

    I normally enjoy reading your ideas Florio. I recommended your site to a lot of my friends. I hope they don’t read this idea of yours.
    So the solution to the problem that some teams treat some games and more important than others and thereby damaging the integrity of the game is to actually make some games more important than the others?
    The people, last I checked are entertained by football. Not figure skating. We are not judging how wholesome a story the team has, we are not gauging a team based on pluck. Screw the Browns, they are losers until they win.
    There is someone to put the finger on for the problem of the last few games not being entertaining and it isn’t the Colts or the Saints.
    It is the Lions, the Bucs, the Rams, the Chiefs, and other teams that, despite the greatest efforts of the league to make it next to impossible to consistently win, still SUCK. It is the fact that you have so many BAD teams that makes it so much easier to have teams with far superior records that this becomes an issue.
    Souion: More parity. Fix the problems. The Raiders over the last 8 years have done as much harm to football as Manning has good. Snyder and other owners should be able to be punished for their lack or performance just like their players should. If a player cannot perform for the good of the team he is gone. If an owner cannot make make good decisions (like say win more than 35% of his games over an 8 year span) he needs to be cut, just like he would his quarterback or coach. And the fact that Cinci has had ONE good year despite not willing to pay money for a decent scout doesn’t mean they should be exempt from my list.
    Just because you can buy a team doesn’t mean you are able to so who says just because you own a team means you should have any say in how you run it if you are not fit. I am sorry Davis, if you can’t win games calling plays yourself either you hand the reigns over to someone who can run a team or NO FOOTBALL FOR YOU!!!

  105. DocBG says: Jan 4, 2010 11:46 PM

    a 16 team playoff field out of a 32 team league? are you nuts?
    why not just print up shirts at the start of every year that says “Superbowl Champs” and mail them out to EVERY team at the end of the season?
    the wildcard in and of itself has watered down playoffs, but driven up revenue, so the owners like it, and the fans like that there are more chances for their team to win it all, but putting 50% of the league into the playoffs is insane. I’d be happy with dropping inter-league completely, going back to 3 divisions, and having 1 wildcard. let whatever team should be seeded #1 pick what team it wants to play, and the other 2 play each other.
    to solve the problem of teams sitting players after clinching every thing, put the incentive on the players via their paychecks. it will create the motivation for the players to be in for a certain % of the snaps in order to qualify for their full paycheck after week 12, it should be the same % as for the rest of the year. for example, if manning is in on 98% of the offensive snaps for the first 12 weeks, he would have to be in on 98% of the offensive snaps for the last 5 weeks. this would also encourage development of younger players, because teams would rotate players including QBs in order to provide some level of protection for their starters once they had clinched.

  106. Paycents says: Jan 4, 2010 11:56 PM

    ok your “how they play late and get a wildcard spot” is stupid because they could essentially tank the first half of the year then turn it on late in hope to make it. and isnt the current ranking system in college what sucks about the college post season ………your ideas suck. booooooo

  107. Favre On HGH says: Jan 5, 2010 12:08 AM

    Add two teams and dump the bye week.

  108. macaw says: Jan 5, 2010 9:33 AM

    Forget the committee.
    Determine the playoff teams based on the sixteen game records, as is currently the case.
    Seed the playoffs based on the last eight games.

  109. Cruelshoe says: Jan 5, 2010 12:41 PM

    I also think this problem needs to be addressed, but your proposal is beyond horrible, PFT! I agree with others commenting who do not want ANY of the subjective BS from college sports to be allowed in the pros. There’s no place for “committees” and subjective rankings in professional sports.
    How about this proposed solution instead … Require teams to publicly announce five days in advance if they plan to pull healthy starters at any point during a late-season game, or hit them with significant financial penalties if they fail to do so (dollars that are somehow channeled back to fans, in the form of rebates or future discounts to season and game ticket holders, etc.)

  110. Johnny Played in the Hay says: Jan 5, 2010 1:24 PM

    An even simpler idea:
    Play all of the divisional games at the end of the season, a lot of ground can be made up (or lost) quickly at the end of the season. Just a peak at NFC North both the Vikings and Packers were 7-3 in non-divisional play, the big difference was the Vikings 5-1 mark. How much more competitive would these teams be, if these games were played at the end of the year. Hell the Lions and Bears might have even taken a greater interest in trying to decide the division.

  111. Observer1 says: Jan 5, 2010 7:46 PM

    Playing all division games at the end of the year is the best solution. As I said above, I would add that a team could only be wild card eligible if they were 6-0, 5-1, 4-2 or 3-3 in their division and .500 better in conference games.
    FLORIO…what do you think of this idea?

  112. redamber says: Jan 6, 2010 11:12 AM

    Take another toke Florio and drop some more acid; you’ll come up with another crazy article to keep the hits up

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