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League will look again at reseeding

Pete Carroll, Sean Payton

During Wednesday’s edition of ProFootballTalk Live, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell addressed the situation presented by an 11-5 Saints team going on the road to face the 7-9 Seahawks in the wild-card round.

This is something that we’ll look at again,” Goodell said.  “We looked at it a few years ago.  The strong view of the clubs was that you should win your division and if you win your division, you should be rewarded with a home game.  There is another view that winning your division should automatically get you into the playoffs and into the postseason but that it should not automatically reward you with a home game.  That is something that will continue to be debated.  We will look at that this offseason.  Let’s let the playoffs play out here a little bit and try to understand what the ramifications are rather than reacting to a specific circumstance.”

Of course, if the Seahawks beat the Saints (NBC’s Mike Mayock gives them a “fighter’s chance“), the complaints from the reseeding crowd could grow even louder.  Playing at home dramatically increases Seattle’s chances of winning the game.  If the playoffs had been reseeded, the Saints would be playing at home this weekend — and they’d have an even greater chance of beating the very beatable Seahawks.

On this topic, NBC’s Tony Dungy made an excellent point during Wednesday’s PFT Live.  The 11-5 Jets must play at the 10-6 Colts, and the 12-4 Ravens will be playing at the 10-6 Chiefs.  No one has complained about the inequity of those situations.

And given that the Packers and Eagles have the same record and that the Packers beat the Eagles in Week One, all four wild-card games feature a division winner hosting a team that, technically, had a better overall season.

So we became curious about the impact of reseeding.  And we decided to take a look at what a reseeded playoff field would look like, is applied right now.

In the AFC, the seeds are:  (1) Patriots; (2) Steelers; (3) Colts; (4) Chiefs; (5) Ravens; (6) Jets.  In the NFC:  (1) Falcons; (2) Bears; (3) Eagles; (4) Seahawks; (5) Saints; (6) Packers.

With reseeding, the AFC would look like this:  (1) Patriots; (2) Steelers; (3) Ravens; (4) Jets; (5) Colts; (6) Chiefs.  Basically, the home-field advantage for this weekend’s game would be flipped, making it more likely that the two teams with the better records would advance.

Here’s the revised NFC field, if we assume a bye would never be given to a non-division winner:  (1) Falcons; (2) Bears; (3) Saints; (4) Packers; (5) Eagles; (6) Seahawks.  Again, home-field advantage for both games played on wild-card weekend would be flipped.  (A full re-seed would have resulted in the Saints getting a bye and the Bears playing at home this weekend against the Seahawks.)

That said, we prefer the current approach.  The league likes to sell hope in the offseason, and the notion that finishing with the best record of only four teams results in a playoff berth and a home game makes it easier for the fans of even the most downtrodden team to piece together a plausible path to the division-round of the playoffs, which puts them only two wins from the Super Bowl.

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70 Responses to “League will look again at reseeding”
  1. clusterpuck says: Jan 6, 2011 8:33 AM

    Why is everyone crying about this? Here’s an idea if the Saints want a home game….win your freaking division!!!

    I have no problem with this at all. Win your division and you get a home game. That’s the reward regardless of record.

  2. bigbeefyd says: Jan 6, 2011 8:45 AM

    Reseeding would be a horrible move. As cluster says, if the Saints wanted to play at home, the first task is to be the best team in your division. They failed at that. So they get to go play a team that WAS the best in their division. ‘Nuff said.

  3. Kaz says: Jan 6, 2011 8:46 AM

    Why are teams complaining? I’d rather face a 7-9 team in the playoffs even if it is on the road. If a 12-4 team loses to a 7-9 team on the road, they have no one to blame but themselves.

  4. godofwine330 says: Jan 6, 2011 8:46 AM

    Why is the NFL always trying to fix what isn’t broken? 18 games when the public is mad about the preseason. The thing is…they aren’t mad about the preseason per se, they are mad about being FORCED to pay regular season prices for preseason games when they get season tickets. Why don’t you cut the price of preseason games because most games consist of future UPS drivers.

    Now, it’s reseeding. Yes, the Seahawks are terrible this year, but they won their division. In 2008 the 8-8 Chargers hosted a playoff game when the 11-5 Patriots went fishing. The rule: Win your division, if you don’t you might not make the playoffs, and, if you don’t you won’t get a home playoff game. Next year, Seattle may very well be an 11 win team not making the playoffs, or New Orleans might be 8-8 and hosting a playoff game where their opponent has 12 wins. You don’t change the rules to help the few because one day you may benefit from the current rule.

    The NFL needs to know when to leave well enough alone.

  5. logics71 says: Jan 6, 2011 8:47 AM

    I think if you win your division, regardless of record you should have a home game. It just makes the playoffs that much interesting to see if the team with the better record can go on the road and win. It a good challenge and if the team with the better record is clearly “the better team”, they shouldn’t have a problem going on the road and coming out with the win. Good to see!!

  6. ben4canton says: Jan 6, 2011 8:48 AM

    I agree with clusterpuck. Win the division if you want a home game. Reseeding is a non issue

  7. diamondduq says: Jan 6, 2011 8:49 AM

    You’ve got to be insane to vote against reseeding! Division winners are already guaranteed a playoff birth (Seattle is grateful) and that should be enough. More than that, reseeding will give us better football throughout the entire season, no more “throw away” games in week 17.

    Do the Eagles play in week 17 if it could cost them a home game? Absolutely and we don’t get an unwatchable garbage game against the Cowboys. Does KC actually try to beat Oakland if 10-6 costs them a home game when 11-5 and winning the tie breakers secures one? Do the Saints play against Tampa Bay if 12-4 gets them not only a home game but a bye? Hell yes they do! Better football and more equitable playoffs, how can you go wrong? You can’t unless we keep the current mess of a system.

  8. steelers6pack says: Jan 6, 2011 8:49 AM

    Once again knee-jerkign reactions taking place. I am not a seahag fan, however they won the division! I bet if Dallas, Indy or New England won division with a losing record this would have never been brought up! Knowing the commish he will re-seed them and screw everything up!

  9. fivetwos says: Jan 6, 2011 8:49 AM

    If anything is changed to lessen the importance of winning your division, then I don’t see the point in continuing to play each of your division opponents twice in a season. Just have two conferences and no divisions in that case.

    I don’t see the need to change the entire playoff format just because something happened ONE time.

    So let’s suppose it gets changed, and the reseeding thing happens. What happens to the team that managed to win a tough division slugfest at 10-6/9-7, but has to go on the road to play an 11-5/10-6 wild card team from a divsion where the two bottom teams were garbage?

    Can’t have it both ways. Besides, there may just be one or two somewhat larger issues hanging over the head of the NFL at this point, no?

  10. run4cova says: Jan 6, 2011 8:52 AM

    i dont like the whole NFL playoff system…
    instead of extending the regular season – how about making the playoffs more exciting

    i would like to see a NHL type of playoff system
    no. 1 vs no. 8
    no. 2 vs no. 7
    no. 3 vs no. 6
    no. 4 vs no. 5

    no bye week (as its not really an advantage anyway)

  11. steelerdynasty2010 says: Jan 6, 2011 8:54 AM

    I can generally understand the outrage people initially feel about a 7-9 team hosting a playoff game, but consider this:
    the playoffs are when SUPERIOR teams should be demonstrating their superiority over their opponent and win playoff games…regardless of where the game is played. if the saints are indeed superior, then they should win…in seattle, in the NO, or on the moon…PERIOD
    if you want to change something, how bout you limit the division crown to division games and then use the common games, etc stuff for tie-breakers. i am by no means a raider fan, but if i were, i’d be outraged to know that while we went UNDEFEATED among teams in our DIVISION, we didnt win the division. how they rationalize that i’ll never know.
    if you’re going to re-seed by overall record, then you might as well just get rid of the divisions alltogether and put the 6 best records from each conference into the playoffs (for the record, i do NOT support that idea, it was just a thought)

  12. minnesconsin says: Jan 6, 2011 8:56 AM

    clusterpuck, that’s a severely simplistic view of the situation, accepting the status quo on its merits as, well… the status quo. “uhhh, dat’s juss da way itz alwayz bin dun.”

    tell me, what makes the Seahawks, who were unable to muster a .500 record playing in the weakest division in football, more deserving of a home game than the Saints, who are 4 wins better and play in arguably one of the 2 toughest divisions in football?

    awarding home games based on division titles is rewarding them for WHO THEY ARE (winners of a lousy division with little competition), instead of WHAT THEY’VE ACTUALLY ACCOMPLISHED.

  13. krow101 says: Jan 6, 2011 8:58 AM

    They really need to look at the bye-week for the top 2 seeds. I’m not at all sure this is a good thing, and would rather see everyone play every week. Even if it meant expanding the field.

  14. coachstram says: Jan 6, 2011 8:59 AM

    Much ado about nothing……so a sub .500 won thier division – for the first time ever!

    Lets totally blow it up and re-assemble?

    Panic much?

  15. berniemadoffsides says: Jan 6, 2011 9:03 AM

    There should be eight teams in the playoffs for each conference… that’s the biggest problem.

    A first round bye makes no sense. Yes, it allows you to rest up players for an extra week, but it also can disrupt a team’s continuity. A bye can almost be the kiss of death in some situations.

  16. sj39 says: Jan 6, 2011 9:06 AM

    Winning your division is the most important, havng the divisions is what creates great rivals. I can’t stand the Seahawks but I hope they go deep just to drive the reseeders nuts.

  17. bucsballer says: Jan 6, 2011 9:06 AM

    Yea @ diamonddug, if u watched the bucs game u idiot the saints did play….. They played the starters till 4:40 in the 4th, try and get ur facts right next time idiot

  18. ijr213 says: Jan 6, 2011 9:06 AM

    Anyone who throws out the saying “they won their division” is not looking at this big picture. There is a team that is sub .500 in the playoffs hosting a home game in the wildcard round. That is the issue.

    I don’t think the issue is that we need to reseed the playoffs, but we need to reorganize the divisions. That is what is clearly the issue.

    I’m sure that people are going to throw out the “well, we have pre-established rivalries that need to stay together”. While we should work to keep those in tact, said rivalries didn’t keep the Seahawks from moving to the NFC West and from new teams being created (Browns and Texans).

    Proposal:
    Dolphins move to AFC South
    Bengals moves to AFC East
    Rams move to AFC North
    Texans move to NFC West

    That is just to keep as many rivalries in tact. Personally, I think we could go more drastic than that.

  19. knowerofallthings says: Jan 6, 2011 9:07 AM

    Then the division wouldn’t mean as much – that would be a horrible move. It’s great as it is

  20. Omar Comin says: Jan 6, 2011 9:08 AM

    Division winners deserve a playoff spot no matter what their record is… however the better record should be the home team for wildcard weekend…i.e. Chiefs @ Ravens, Seahawks @ Saints, etc. This makes perfect sense and rewards the teams that are in good divisions like the Jets and Ravens for having great records.

  21. tonyinjax says: Jan 6, 2011 9:19 AM

    Riddle me this: What happens when there’s three teams (non-division winners) with better records than a division winner? Do you still win your division and miss the playoffs?

  22. p4ever says: Jan 6, 2011 9:26 AM

    Nonsense!
    What’s next? Should the Giants be in the playoffs instead of the Seahawks?

  23. pastabelly says: Jan 6, 2011 9:26 AM

    Re-seeding is a bad idea because it provides additional rewards to teams with easy schedules. The easy schedule probably helped some make the playoffs in the first place. Why reward them again with a bump up in seedings?

  24. 4ever19 says: Jan 6, 2011 9:38 AM

    The divisions are almost meaningless anyway. If you take away a home game from the division winners, that would complete the job. And what would happen if a wild card team had a better record than the No. 2 seed? Does the No. 2 seed then have to travel on the first weekend? Just leave things the way they are or eliminate divisions altogether and have 2 16-team conferences with the top 6 teams going to the playoffs. That would guarantee no 7-9 teams would be playing in the postseason or at least having a home game.

  25. natethegreat155 says: Jan 6, 2011 9:44 AM

    Re-seeding is a great idea. I wrote about this yesterday: http://thesportsjury.com/20110106847/nfl/an-argument-for-playoff-re-seeding

  26. truefan2 says: Jan 6, 2011 9:46 AM

    tonyinjax —

    Not sure I understand your “riddle.”

    There are currently only TWO wild-card teams per conference.
    So, if THREE teams (non-division winners) had a better record than the Division winner, unless you change the # of wildcards, then your question is irrelevant.

    Or did I misunderstand your point?

  27. pdxninerfan says: Jan 6, 2011 9:47 AM

    Could there not be a 12-4 division winner losing home field to a wildcard under a reseeding approach? Unlikely, but possible.

    This knee-jerk reaction attitude in the NFL is really starting to annoy me.

  28. steelersmichele says: Jan 6, 2011 9:53 AM

    “Let’s let the playoffs play out here a little bit and try to understand what the ramifications are rather than reacting to a specific circumstance”

    I laughed when I read “rather than reacting to a specific circumstance” considering that’s exactly what he did regarding hits and fining players. One weekend of hits “changed” the entire season with fines and penalties and threats of suspension.

    The goal every season is to win your division. If you win, you get a playoff spot. If you get in with a losing record, good for you. You still did your job. fivetwos made a good point–if it doesn’t matter anymore, they don’t play divisional opponents twice.

    I think we’ve all seen playoffs/super bowls where the “best” team didn’t win–and that’s what makes football great. The better team that game wins and it could be anyone.

  29. belichickrulz says: Jan 6, 2011 10:06 AM

    They should do away with divisions entirely. The playoffs should be the six teams in each conference with the best record, period. The two best teams in each conference would get a bye, and the remaining 4 would be seeded based on record.

    In this system, the AFC would be pretty much unchanged: NE, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Jets, Colts, Chiefs.

    The NFC would be radically different: Falcons, Bears, Saints, Packers, Giants, Bucs (Eagles lose out due to conference record tie-breaker).

    This would ensure that truly only the best teams make the playoffs. No Seattles allowed.

  30. owensaws says: Jan 6, 2011 10:15 AM

    I agree with reseeding but do not just make the statement how the Eagles would have been away against the Packers because they did not even try in week 17 agianst the Cowboys and would have easily beat them if they played the starters. They lost by 1 with all scrubs so they would have been 11-5 if they tried and actually would have been playing the Seahawks.

  31. artiesliver says: Jan 6, 2011 10:18 AM

    You don’t need 4 divisions.
    You just need 2 in each conference.
    An East and West and that’s it.
    There would never be a losing record making the palyoffs in that senerio.

  32. deadmanwalking47 says: Jan 6, 2011 10:24 AM

    just fix it so the teams with the best records,get home playoff games,regardless if they win the division or
    not!it’s a joke the seahawks are even in the playoffs this year,much less hosting a playoff game!

  33. cjjetsfan says: Jan 6, 2011 10:27 AM

    “The league likes to sell hope in the offseason, and the notion that finishing with the best record of only four teams results in a playoff berth and a home game makes it easier for the fans…”

    Mike, here’s another plank on the same argument. It also makes it easier for head coaches to have the single focus of winning the division. With all the variables that go into the tie-breaking format, it’s a lot easier strategically to be able to focus on beating the 3 teams that make up 37.5% of your schedule as the best avenue for qualifying for the playoffs. Reseeding takes away some of the importance of divisional matchups and changes the strategic focus (think NBA). And considering the revenue implications that come from hosting even a single playoff game, I think both the owners and coaches, who make up a fairly influential group of stakeholders, will strongly be in favor of continuing the current system.

  34. evilboy128 says: Jan 6, 2011 10:40 AM

    its funny, about 3 years ago, the Jaguars put in for a vote on this very subject, and were shut down by Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, who preceded to give a lil speech that the owners all loved. So were is the speech now? C’mon Jerry…has your tune changed now that your Panthers are the NFC South cellar dwellers? or are you too busy getting ready for a lockout? And where are all the applauding owners that voted down the idea? Do they now feel different since it’s their team that maybe having to travel? hypocrites and lairs. I hope the players get a fat new cba from this ridiculous bunch of corrupt fatcats.

  35. help me says: Jan 6, 2011 10:43 AM

    Leave it the way it is!

  36. veetan says: Jan 6, 2011 10:55 AM

    For those who want to keep re-seeding like it is, you have to admit that you’re missing the point this year in particular:

    We’re not talking about re-seeding ALL the teams. A team that wins it’s division has, in fact, earned the right to play at home.

    What we’re talking about is the absolute repulsiveness of having a team with a losing record (SEA) “earning” a playoff game – at home no less! Even proponents of leaving things alone HAVE to admit that allowing a losing team into the playoffs while winning teams are left out, is inherently, intuitively, and instinctively wrong on every level. And under no circumstnaces should a losing team be playing at home. They are losers, after all.

  37. steelersmichele says: Jan 6, 2011 11:07 AM

    veetan says: Even proponents of leaving things alone HAVE to admit that allowing a losing team into the playoffs while winning teams are left out, is inherently, intuitively, and instinctively wrong on every level. And under no circumstnaces should a losing team be playing at home. They are losers, after all.

    They aren’t losers. They are division winners. And the NFL rules currently state that a divisional winner hosts a playoff game. They earned it, even if it was with a losing record. If the Saints don’t like it, then maybe they should have won their division.

    Here is the thing you’re missing–just because some “freak” thing happens one season doesn’t mean you have to go and change the rules. It’s a freak occurance and probably won’t happen again for a long time. If it was happening every season, then maybe we could talk. But the playoffs aren’t broke, so why fix ‘em?

    For me, that’s Goodell’s problem. One thing happens and he wants to change all the rules. Tagliabue let the game play the way it was supposed to be played and it became the most popular sport of all time. And under him, we never had the problems we had this year. Goodell isn’t interested in keeping the intergity of football in tact. He’s interested in money.

  38. Jay says: Jan 6, 2011 11:11 AM

    It’s amazing that anyone is surprised that a 7-9 team would make it into the playoffs.

    It’s basic math and surprising that the ‘Hawks are the first.

    Think of it, you get 12 teams into the playoffs out of 32 total.

    That’s 3/8ths of the league getting in on the post season, nearly half.

    The league really should take away the wildcard, but we know that would kill the Brahman cash cow.

    So reseeding should take place based upon what the league already uses for tiebreakers for the playoffs.

    Go by record, but also the strength of wins and losses of common opponents, division opponents, and conference opponents.

    This does take away some of the value of winning the division, but it would keep out most .500 teams.

  39. mikejd12 says: Jan 6, 2011 11:13 AM

    Yeah but something no one takes in to consideration when you look at reseeding is the HARDNESS of schedule. Thats why i believe it should stay the way it is. Some teams have harder schedules then others and you cant account for things of that sort. If it is changed then youll have people complaining about ohhh the eagles or the saints or whoever had a harder schedule then say the atlanta falcons. Dammed if you do dammed if you dont. Leave it alone. You win the division you get the home game its that simple!!!

  40. hooterdawg says: Jan 6, 2011 11:18 AM

    Reseeding has an economic impact , which is greater on small market teams. It’s very difficult to make the playoffs ( around 50% turnover each year), so communites rewarded with a home playoff game finally get to reap the benefit of a national audience for tourism and additional $$ flowing into their economy from 000’s of visitors. Already there is an inequity for just a handful of Superbowl venues – don’t take away sharing the wealth of an occassional playoff game as well. If Goodell tries and change the current system, he will never get 24 owners to vote for it. Economic inpact is more important to them than irrational fans – especially when there is a lockout looming over much larger $$$.

  41. scra22 says: Jan 6, 2011 11:20 AM

    Well, I am a Saints fan, and I hate that we have to go up to Seattle and play in the rain, but I think the only reason this talk has arisen so strongly is because of the fact that the Seahawks have a 7-9 record.

    So to Tony Dungy, hater of all things Saints-related, that is why people aren’t really talking about the other teams who are hosting better teams in the playoffs. Those hosting teams have winning records and won divisions that aren’t absolutely putrid. When a team that didn’t even manage 8 wins is the BEST in their division and gets in the playoffs and isn’t the last seed, it just doesn’t smell right.

  42. diamondduq says: Jan 6, 2011 11:26 AM

    @bucsballer a little bitter about your team sitting this one out aren’t we? Starters playing with a vanilla gameplan isn’t the same as having something to play for, nameley a first round bye. Sorry you felt slighted by my comment essentially saying the Bucs had no chance but against the Saints 100% vs. 100% with a playoff bye on the line they don’t. The fact of the matter is that if you give teams something to play for, that’s just what they’ll do.

    @owensaws that’s the whole point. You argue that they shouldn’t argue the Eagle should be playing on the road against the Packers but rather it is their responsibility to actually play all 16 games, reseeding encourages that because they would have had to play that last game instead of losing “by 1 with all scrubs”.

    For those without the intellectual capacity to grasp a logical argument, this isn’t about Seattle being in the playoffs, we agree winning your division should get you into the playoffs and a team with a losing record doing so is an anomoly, much to the disgust of the Giants, but reseeding make more games meaningful and thus we get better games in weeks 16 and 17 because teams like the Eagles don’t just fold because they’re guaranteed the 3 seed. In addition, reseeding is simply more equitable. Less than half a team’s games are within its division, so even if you’re in a weak division it has very little bearing on anything. Go to any division in football, they all have pushovers. Bills, Browns, Broncos, Titans, Cowboys, Vikings, Panthers and, well, the entire NFC West, just to name a few. There isn’t a division without cupcake games.

  43. scra22 says: Jan 6, 2011 11:26 AM

    steelersmichele says:
    Jan 6, 2011 11:07 AM
    “If the Saints don’t like it, then maybe they should have won their division.”
    =====
    I am seeing this sentiment spread throughout the comments, but I have not read one single comment from the Saints camp complaining about going to Seattle. They haven’t said anything, it’s the media and others speculating that a team with 11 wins visiting a team who had a losing record just doesn’t seem right.

    I’m sure deep down they don’t really like it, just as I’m sure the Packers would rather host the Eagles, who they would have held a tiebreaker over if seeding was done by record and not division winners and wildcards. I’m sure the Bucs don’t like that they are sitting at home while the Seahawks are in. But they’re not voicing that.

    steelersmichele says:
    Jan 6, 2011 11:07 AM
    “Here is the thing you’re missing–just because some “freak” thing happens one season doesn’t mean you have to go and change the rules. It’s a freak occurance and probably won’t happen again for a long time.”
    ========
    This I agree with: a 7-9 team winning their division is really annoying, but it probably won’t happen again any time soon. No point in changing the rules because it happened once and people didn’t like it.

  44. Scar says: Jan 6, 2011 11:29 AM

    the other thing to think about is that the current format hurts the #1 seed. if some of the better teams in the conference are stuck as #5 and #6 seeds instead of #3, the top-seed has to run into them in the Divisional round

  45. scytherius says: Jan 6, 2011 11:43 AM

    While it will probably never happen again for 50 years, you don’t get a winning record, you should not get a home game.

  46. drinkwithnamath says: Jan 6, 2011 11:43 AM

    The only reseeding the NFL should do is on the turf at Soldier’s Field.

  47. joe6606 says: Jan 6, 2011 11:45 AM

    I don’t have a problem with a 7-9 division winner getting a playoff home game. It has never happened before, and odds are low of it happening again.

    That said….

    What if Seattle had been 6-10? or 5-11? hell, assuming a 16 game season, a division winner could be as bad as 3-13 and make the playoffs. Would this change your opinion?

  48. dagoose48 says: Jan 6, 2011 11:48 AM

    If the NFL really wants to “cahnge” something they need to get rid of all the divisions and go back to the way it was in the beginning before the two conferences, eight divisions and all this confusing meaningless and unfair playoff system they currently have. Before there was and AFC and NFC there was just the NFL. The two teams with the best rocords met in the NFL Championship game each year to decide who was the best. Since then we have seen the AFL and NFL merge and then into the two conferences and all the divisions and the entire mess that has teams west of the Mississippi in the east division and teams north of the Mason Dixon line in the south division. It’s insane and makes no sense.

    They can still schedule traditional rivals every year and have all the classic match ups, but they don’t need to have all these divisions. Just have an AFC and NFC conference and at the end of the year take the six teams with the best records form each conference and give the two top seeds a bye week, then seed the bottom four accordingly and have the playoffs that are more fair and better match ups.

  49. shorttracknews says: Jan 6, 2011 11:49 AM

    With reseeding the Saints (a wild card team) getting a first round bye?? That right there tells you it’s a horrible move. Like Dungy pointed out, nobody is complaining in the AFC where the Jets and Ravens are going on the road to play teams with worse records with them. Years like this happen, deal with it. Teams with winning records miss the playoffs all the time while division winners make it with worse records. After reseeding, what’s next? Top 6 teams record wise make the playoffs?? There’s a system in place, you wanna make the playoffs…win your division.

  50. stanjam says: Jan 6, 2011 11:53 AM

    Okay, this is the first time this has happened, so of course Goodell has to go off and re-evaluate it. He wants to put his stamp on everything, and he is killing this game. 18 games, new confusing hitting rules, protecting certain teams while going after others, and now this?

    If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! The NFL isn’t broken (aside from the negotiations), so don’t muck around with it! Why on Earth must the league have a knee-jerk reaction to everything?

    Please stop Goodell before he really kills this league!

  51. bluvayner says: Jan 6, 2011 11:55 AM

    The team with the better record is not always the better team anyways, because teams do not play the same schedule. A team that’s in a weak division, or that plays against a weak division out of conference, is going to have an easier time running up a good record.

    If you want a home game win your division…..simple.

    Otherwise…. why have divisions?

  52. truefan2 says: Jan 6, 2011 12:02 PM

    I think VEETAN is the one who doesn’t understand the current argument.

    While people don’t LIKE the idea that a 7-9 team is in the playoffs, I don’t think anybody is trying to argue that a Division Winner should not MAKE the playoffs.

    There is just NO way around that without making Divisional play essentially meaningless. (which is not going to change any time soon. Too many factors with rivalries, geography etc. related to current Divisional alignment. Sorry, but “divisions” are never going to go away in the NFL.

    The issue/debate REALLY IS purely on whether or not re-seeding teams that QUALIFY for the playoffs (no modification in terms of QUALIFICATION is being suggested by anyone informed about the debate) according to record is a more fair way to determine who gets a “HOME” game.

  53. steelersmichele says: Jan 6, 2011 12:08 PM

    scra22, you’re right. If I think about it, I haven’t heard the Saints complaining. That means I’m confusing facts with PFT comments. The horror.

    joe6606, if a team went 3-13 and won their division, they would probably deserve to be in the playoffs more than any other team in the league :)

  54. xtb3 says: Jan 6, 2011 12:27 PM

    Could always make it 16 two team divisions to give the Redskins a chance to make it?

  55. squealpig says: Jan 6, 2011 12:43 PM

    If the NFL got rid of the bye week for the two top seeds in the post season for each conference, they could generate more TV revenue with four more games broadcast. Last I heard it was a business. Giants and Bucs would deservedly still be in the mix. Keep the division home field advantage in place with a tweaked NHL format.

  56. stillaniner says: Jan 6, 2011 12:45 PM

    One of the things that I have always enjoyed about the division system that is currently in place, is the amount of diversity it creates in the league. Unlike the NBA where one or two teams in a conference set the tone for every other team in that conference to emulate, the onus on an NFL team is to develop a game plan to beat the best team in their division. Thus we end up with smash mouth divisions and air it out divisions. This makes for a better playoff experience in my opinion. The NFL, as in all professional sports, is already enough of a copy cat league as it is. My fear in eliminating the division structure is that we would see an even greater amount of “flavor of the year”.

  57. dagoose48 says: Jan 6, 2011 12:51 PM

    OK…if everyone absolutely insists on having divisions in the NFL…then at least rename them something other than geographic locations that imply they are located in a particular region of the country. Dallas Texas is west of the Mississippi river, so why is it in the NFC east? Indianapolis is north of Cincinnati, so why is Cincinnati in the AFC north and Indianapolis is in the AFC south? Miami is as far south as you can get and still be in the U.S. and it’s in the AFC east and Buffalo is west of Baltimore and it’s in the AFC east! It’s absolutely moronic!

    Why not do what they did in the NHL and instead of geographic locations, name the divisions after legends of the sport? Instead of the NFC north it could be the Curly Lambeau division. Or, instead of the AFC west, it could be the Lamar Hunt disvision. We could have the Paul Brown division, the Geroge Halas divsion, the Tex Schramm divsion, etc. But, to continue to have teams located in regions that are totally out of the geographic area they are associated with is ridiculous.

    By renaming the divisions and getting rid of the location moniker the NFL could justify all those traditional rivalries and at the same time when a team moves (i.e. the Chicago Cardinals A.K.A. St. Louis Cardinals A.K.A. Arizona Cardinals, the Cleveland Rams A.K.A Los Angeles Rams A.K.A. St Louis Rams, etc.) they wouldn’t have to give up there association with those rivalries. It would also make more sense of these playoffs and the seeding problem if the divisions were less geographic.

  58. stillaniner says: Jan 6, 2011 1:25 PM

    You have a valid point. I don’t care what name divisions are given, so long as winning that division is not watered down.

  59. truefan2 says: Jan 6, 2011 1:39 PM

    dagoose48 –
    the Division names aren’t there to be a “moniker” to geography. The actually DID at one point reflect the geography. And still LARGELY do.

    When they re-aligned divisions they did their best to preserve good rivalries AND align teams to not be too far away from each other. It didn’t work in every case, but it’s close.

    Renaming the divisions in case someone moves isn’t solving anything. I don’t think anybody is worried about the fact that their “moniker” of a Division name doesn’t fit them.

    If a team moves, what they are worried about is them moving to a location that made it difficult for their divisional rivals to have to travel a long distance to play them and vice-versa.

    For example a Minnesota team moving to LA would make it a west coast road trip for Green-bay, Detroit, and Chicago. Not to mention making the “LA” Vikings be on the long trip at LEAST 3 more times then they currently are.

  60. cowboycjn says: Jan 6, 2011 1:55 PM

    Hey guys, First off, there are many comments that the Saints are complaining of not playing home.. STOP! – The Saints ARE NOT complaining. Local news, live talks with S. Payton – nothing being spoken on the New Orleans end. So all the crap about N.O. should have won their division – yes they should have but we are not the ones dissastified with the arrangements of going play over there.
    It is all the smart A$$ from every other state that are pissed about the hawks having a loosing season and still in playoffs that are coming up with all this BS. So if you have proof that NO is the spoken voice, I sure wish you would let me know where you are getting this info from.
    To tell you the truth I think they may not even beat the hawks because half of the NO team in out with injury.

  61. ohioniner says: Jan 6, 2011 2:10 PM

    Really? Are you kidding me? One team, for the first time in playoff history, hits sub 500 and the world is going to cave in? Get over it you babies! A division winner is a division winner whether
    3-13, 7-9 or 16-0. NO RESEEDING!! Too much has changed and the NFL is becoming “sissified.”
    Grow up, get over it and move on.

  62. edgy says: Jan 6, 2011 2:18 PM

    I’m all for reseeding and here’s why: suppose that you’ve got two equally powerful teams and they manage to go 15-1 and it all comes down to a coin flip. You can use the “it’s simple: win your division” argument but when it comes down to that, how do you justify them having to go to a play at the home of a team that finishes between 7-9 and 9-7? Your reward for winning your division is making the playoffs and after that, it’s up to you to earn your seed.

  63. paulieorkid says: Jan 6, 2011 4:09 PM

    Goodell tends to overreact at the drop of a hat. It’s His m.o. We’ve seen it too many times both in our rear view mirror plus as we look ahead through our windshield.

    The Playoffs Overtime reaction was a classic panic job. But He was just getting warmed up.

    Then there was the absurd over-“correction” on contact cloaked as simply ramping up enforcement of previously existing rules. Don’t anyone complain if you get a $2,500 ticket for jay-walking — They’re just taking a greater interest in enforcing the already-existing law against jay-walking.

    Now we have an 18 game season packaged as being no more demanding on the players than a 16 game reason. The purported rationale for this? “Well, we already play 20 games anyway.” Who can’t see straight through this garbage? The players certainly can.

    The latest is the Commish’s ludicrous overreaction to a small but vocal crowd crying for re-seeding. There are already FOUR “wild card” teams who make the playoffs every year. FOUR. If you can’t get on the roller coaster with those lifts in your shoes, maybe you oughtta head over to the ring toss game.

    Some people don’t know to leave well enough alone. They always have to butt in to everything. Those people usually chair HOAs or are the local Aalderman. But now we have one as Commish of the greatest game there ever was. Not cool.

  64. goldsteel says: Jan 6, 2011 5:22 PM

    How often does this situation happen? I imagine the number could be counted on one hand. It ain’t broke so don’t fix it.

  65. PCa Survivor says: Jan 6, 2011 5:56 PM

    Winning a division should come with a reward — making the playoffs.. The advantage of seeding without regard to division winners is it makes Week 17 (or Week 19 or 20) more interesting as the division winners locked into that #4 seed now have to play hard to keep it. Don’t know if it’s often, but at least occasionally, they can rest players as they have nothing to lose which makes for a boring NFL. Seeding should put more meaning into Week 17.

  66. backuppunter says: Jan 6, 2011 11:25 PM

    Sure it’s not quite fair, but I think it makes it more interesting, and if seattle wins, then the saints really are not a SB team anyway. It’s about excitement, if it were done fairly we would just see the Pats and Falcons play 5 weeks in a row. I know they aren’t the best team and they don’t really deserve to be in the playoffs, but personally I hope seattle goes all the way!

  67. steelerdynasty2010 says: Jan 7, 2011 9:27 AM

    screw the playoffs! best outta five series with the top team from each conference!

  68. grrr05 says: Jan 7, 2011 3:11 PM

    For those of you who say this has never happened before, so it’s unlikely to happen again… or “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”… you are conveniently forgetteing that this HAS been happening much more so in recent years. The fact is that this 9 year old system is, in fact broken. Take a look at how many times a team has won a division at 9-7 or fewer wins in the past few years. Teams with superior records travelling to the home of an inferior opponent is the norm now in the wildcard round, NOT an anomaly. The reason is simple math. When you have more divisions with fewer teams in them, this is going to happen. Many of you forget, or perhaps don’t know, that this current format has only been in place since 2002, when they decided to create more divisions with fewer teams, and reduce the number of wildcards from 3 to 2. This isn’t some long-stading NFL tradition. Just because the current system is the status quo, that doesn’t mean it’s the best or most fair system out there. Change is a part of the game. And it’s time to make a change again. For all of you saying “why even have divisions then?” all I have to say is the reward for a 7-9 team who happens to win a crappy division should be SIMPLY MAKING THE PLAYOFFS IN THE FIRST PLACE. Why reward them twice by giving them a home game on top of it? If it weren’t for divisions, they wouldn’t be in the playoffs anyway. And for those who say your goal when the season starts is to win the division, I say bull. The goal should be to win every game you play, regardless of how many (or in this case, few) games the three other teams in your division happen to win. Re-seeding would also make for more competitive games at the end of the season, as fewer teams would be “locked in” to a certain seed just because they already won their division. Another thing to consider in all of this is that it’s not fair to the #1 seed. Earning the #1 seed should entitle you to to play the weakest remaining team left. If Seattle and Green Bay both win this weekend, Atlanta would have to play #6 Green Bay (10-6) instead of #4 Seattle (7-9). It’s time for a little bit of common sense to be used to come up with a fair system for seeding the playoffs.

  69. worsethingss says: Jan 9, 2011 10:57 AM

    Win your division, then you can host and win a playoff game at home like the Seahawks. Pretty simple.

  70. edgy says: Jan 9, 2011 11:10 AM

    Well, how do you do. Wouldn’t it be funny if Seattle makes a run like Arizona did? A Super Bowl win would make them 11-9 while a loss would make them 10-10. Wonder how that would change the argument….

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