NFC West could inspire playoff re-seeding

It usually takes an attention-grabbing event to change the NFL rulebook.

Last year’s Saints-Vikings NFC Championship helped change the overtime rules, at least for the playoffs.  Falcons president and co-chair of the NFL Competition Committee Rich McKay hopes that the current state of the NFC West forces the league to change its playoff seeding methods starting in 2011.

“I’ve brought it up twice and never had real success getting it passed,” McKay told NFL Network’s Jason La Canfora.   “I think it something we should consider.”

McKay said he supports re-seeding spots 3-6 by record, with division winners not necessarily granted a home game.   (Division winners would be guaranteed a playoff spot at any record.)  He’s come close to getting the measure passed before, with upwards of 18 votes supporting the idea.  24 owners would need to approve the measure to pass it.

Perhaps having the first 7-9 playoff team in NFL history could inspire such a change.   It’s almost enough to make us root for the Chiefs, Falcons, Panthers, and Chargers this week.

65 responses to “NFC West could inspire playoff re-seeding

  1. The NFC West winner will lose in the first rd, and everyone will forget about it after that.

    And wildcards should not get a home game, PERIOD! Win your division

  2. Tough call. The two conference, 4 divisions and 4 team configuration is balanced and logical. And it’s an arrangement that keeps more teams in the hunt for the playoffs and a home game in the playoffs.

    The downside? Potential sub-.500 record division winners. Yeah, when you think about it, it does seem unfair that a team with a lesser record has a home game hosting a team with a better record. But, with 8 divisions, I think the potential for it to happen is greater than for it not to happen.

    I’d be in favor of a measure that seeds 3-6 according to record in the wild card round. Division winners are automatically in, but to host a game in that round, you need to have one of the four top records. The winners of those games automatically go to seeds 1 and 2.

  3. Horrible idea in general, winning a Division should mean something.

    All that’s needed is a simple rule change – to qualify for the play-offs you must have a winning record. If a Division winner doesn’t have that then the next best club takes their place.

    Would only come into place once every 10 years or so.

  4. Stupid idea. Winning a division has to mean something. Even getting homefield isn’t much but at least it is a little something. Maybe the idea is to drop all divisions and just have the top 6 teams in each conference go into the playoffs.

  5. There is NO – repeat, NO – merit for playoff re-seeding. You win your division, you’ve earned a playoff home game regardless of the quality of the division. So an 8-8 team hosts a 12-4 team and win the game – that’s bad?

  6. My god, just let them play out the regular season and see what happens. One of these teams could end up 9-7. This is worse than crying over spilt milk, it’s crying over milk that you think you might spill. Revist this January 3rd, shall we?

  7. I’m sick of the NFC West bashing BS. Anyone taken a f’n look at the AFC West & South recently?!?! They’re just as f’d as the NFC West so gimme a break.

  8. Re-seeding is one option but why not just require any team to have at least 7(or 8) wins to make the playoffs? If no team goes to the playoffs from a division once about every 10 years so what?

  9. To that end, you might as well get rid of the division structure as well since they essentially serve no purpose. And frankly fans might enjoy it more if their teams played more opponents each year.

    Of course this would go against the NFLs unending search for perfect parody, but for the most part that’s hog wash anyway.

  10. I am going to use capital letters on purpose…



  11. Good God, DON’T DO IT!!!!!!!

    They are really working overtime to try and flak up the NFL as we know and love it, aren’t they?

    Do they NOT realize this would absolutely destroy all the great divisional rivalry and tradition in the game–divisional games would become essentially MEANINGLESS, as would all those intra-division rivalries between teams, cities, and fans.

    The league needs to stop with all the kneejerk overreactions to every tiny little thing they dislike; they’re ruining the greatest sport on earth.

    Overreactionary kneejerk JERKS.

    STOP IT!

  12. Thats stupid. If you win your division you go to the playoffs… No matter how much you or the other teams in your division suck.

  13. Here’s a simple Idea:
    Division winners with a losing record don’t make the playoffs. Their spot gets awarded to the 5, the 6 goes to 5, and the “7” gets the 6th. Simple. If not, Division winners without a winning record are the visiting team to the wild card team they face. Also Simple.

  14. Then why have divisions? Why not take the top six teams with the best record? It’s not like this isn’t going to ever happen again and whose to say one of these teams
    won’t win out and finish 9-7

  15. Last year it was “oh my god, how can we change it so the Colts quit setting their key players late in the season” Doesnt seem to be a problem this year, with any team. So what if a 7-9 team gets in and hosts a game? It doesnt happen every year. If they reseed, then why stop there? Just put all the teams in one big pot and take the top 12 and go from there. It would take only a couple years till the NFL would be as bad as MLB in terms of has and has not. The way it is currently enables the fans of 4 teams, all in the NFCW to hold out hope that they can still make the playoffs. Any other seeding and half the teams in the NFL will be out of playoff conteention by the middle of the season. How exciting would that be?

  16. Leave it the way it is. Maybe the Rams will even win a playoff game this year. I am hoping for a 7-9 playoff team. Remember back in the mid eighties? An 8-8 Cleveland Browns team won the division leaving an excellent 11-5 Denver Broncos team out of the playoffs? Fair is fair. Leave it alone.

  17. Winning a division shouldn’t entitle a team to make the playoffs. The teams with the best records in each conference should make the playoffs regardless of whether they win the division or not.

  18. Winning a division shouldn’t entitle a team to make the playoffs. The teams with the best records in each conference should make the playoffs regardless of whether they win the division or not.

  19. 1. Stop changing rules on a whim. So this year one division will have a bad team making the playoffs. So what? Every other year it has worked out just fine. Goodell needs to stop ruining the game.

    Oh, the Colts lost in overtime in the playoffs because their defense couldn’t stop the Chargers? Change the overtime playoff rules!!!! The leagues golden boy didn’t get to touch the ball!!!!!!

    Roger Goodell is the Jerry Jones of NFL Comissioners. Stop sticking your nose into everything douchbag.

    2. WordPress is the worst. This site is so much more annoying now.

  20. Don’t change a thing. Winning your division should still mean something. Why re-seed? So unless your one of the top two teams in your conference, you shouldn’t host a home game in the playoffs? It’s unfair to the 3 and 4 seeded division winners. They earned it.

    NFC West is a joke, but the Rams and Seahawks play their butts off to get that division crown. They just don’t have the talent to keep up with the conference elite. So they get in and lose…. then no harm done. They get in and win? And we have something to talk about. Leave it alone

  21. If this was Atlanta, Dallas, Philly or another big team no one woudl say anything! If they do change this it will come back to bite them later on! I hope so bad the NFC West team beats the wild card and then everyone will be up in arms!

  22. Leave it the way it is. You get to the playoffs by winning your division. Every team knows this, yet no one ever starts bitching about it until around week 14 when a good team is in second place, and all of the sudden the owner of said team “has a great idea” to re-seed the conferences.

    Same thing happens with the overtime rule. Everyone knows the rules going in, but it’s when a team loses an important playoff game, that all the sudden their owner thinks a rule change is necessary. And then we have to change tradition in the name of one person’s view of “fairness.”

    Football is a brutal and uncompromising sport, and playoffs seeding should be the same. What someone thinks is fair, another will find unfair. Everything is fine the way it is.

  23. NFC WEST sucks a** … it is a horrible division and I hope the sorry 9ers make it and somehow face the GMEN so we can beat them down and pay them back for last time they met in the playoffs >>>>>

    G-Men for Life !!!

  24. Just leave it alone, the world never ended because a 8-8 team made it into the playoffs (I don’t remember a bunch of crying over the 2006 NY Giants) and the world won’t end if one 7-9 team makes it in.

    I’d argue canceling the stadium fund and ending supplemental revenue sharing is far more detrimental to the sport then a bad team making the playoffs occasionally.

    Side note: I guess those predictions that realigning back in 2002 would result in a losing team eventually making the playoffs finally came true.

  25. i can see a re-organization of the divisions, but not a change to the playoff rules.

    if you win a division, you enter the “tournament”. it is anybody’s ball game after that. winning their division should be team’s goal first.

    there are 4 seasons in the NFL – Offseason, Preseason, Regular Season, and Playoff season. let’s keep it that way

  26. hobartbaker says:
    They need to reseed. All the franchises they planted in the NFC West are withering and dying.

    That is funny. How much you’ve actually researched this? Seahawks continue to have sold out stadiums and needless to say one of the loudest stadiums in the NFL. St Louis has missed black outs and their fan base seems to be taking more interest. I’m a 49er season ticket holder and despite their record the stadium has been pretty full, fans are still loyal despite not having been to the playoffs since 2002. The best stat that I love reminding everyone of is 3 teams and four seasons a NFC West team has been in the Superbowl over the last 10 years, St Louis going twice. Yeah, the West teams are dying. Common people lets talk facts.

  27. If this was a regular occurrence, then perhaps it could be justified – but I hate it when people change rules because of some exceptional occurrence.

    Remember, the NFC West, as bad as the teams may be, have still had teams in the Superbowl 4 times since 2000, no other division has more. Rams x2, Arizona x1, Seahawks x1.

    Besides, doesn’t the NFL have more important things to fix and/or resolve, like labor issues, drug use, the dreaded ‘freezing’ of field goal kickers, inconsistent fines, special rules that apply to only manning and brady, the 600 timeouts that fans are forced to sit through at games, completing the Minnesota trifecta by moving the Vikings to LA, and other such trifles?

  28. How about any team that has more than 3 volient hits to the head does not make the playoffs? That’s where the overzealous and over officious czar goodell is heading

  29. In the Canadian Football League in 1970 each of the 3rd place finishers(last qualifying spot in each division) each had a sub.-500 record. Both went on the road and won their respective conference playoffs. In that year’s Grey Cup Montreal defeted Calgary.

    NOW the CFL has a cross-over rule where if any team in the “other(either)” conference not making their own conference playoffs BUT has a BETTER RECORD than the qualier on the other side – that team can crossover and become the playoff qualifier. Tie is not enough they must have a BETTER record.

  30. There is no reason to even discuss a change like this. It works very well the way it is. The balance of the 4 divisions 16 game schedule is as close to perfect as it can get. Reseeding the playoffs and/or an 18 game schedule will screw it all up. They may as well just have 2 eight team divisions. That way all games will be division games against the same opponents; no more AFC vs. NFC games except the SB…and playoff teams can be determined with a coin flip. This is the next step down the road they are travelling and it is absolutely stupid.

  31. NFC West could be on the rebound. Winning the division should always mean something. NFC West has been bad in recent years, but…

    2000 Super Bowl – Rams
    2002 Super Bowl – Rams
    2006 Super Bowl – Seahawks
    2009 Super Bowl – Cardinals
    2010 Super Bowl – 49ers

  32. The Buccaneers could very likely go 10-6 and come in 3rd place and miss the playoffs while the Rams win their division at 7-9. All is fair in love and war.

  33. In my view, this proposal is long overdue.

    Take, for example, the 2008 playoff standings. The San Diego Chargers (4 seed, 8-8 overall, with a 7-5 conference record) hosted the Indianapolis Colts (5 seed, 12-4 overall, with a 10-2 conference record) because the Chargers were champs of the then weak AFC West division. From a fairness standpoint, a more compelling argument can be made that the Colts should have hosted the “super” Chargers. Even though San Diego went on to defeat Indy in overtime at Qualcomm Stadium, the fact remains that Indy won four more games during the regular season, and three more games within the conference. In my mind, that trumps—for purposes of wild card playoff seeding—San Diego’s first-place finish in a weak division. Had that game been played in Indy, the result may very well have been different. And I’m not a Colts fan!

    P.S. Recall that 2008 also saw the 11-5 “Brady-less” Patriots NOT make the playoffs.

  34. here is a thought. eliminate conferences. make 4 divisions, east, north, south, west. put actual west teams (dallas) out of the east. 8 teams per division.

    4 divisions. 4 division winners. the top 3 get byes. then have 9 wildcards. let seeds 4-13 play in the 1st round. then reseed and they play the bye teams in round 2. continue till only one team standing.

    no losing records in the playoffs. no schitty record division winners.

    play an 18 game season. play 10 games in your division, each team at least once, 3 of them twice in a given year. rotate the home and home around. play half the teams from another division and 2 teams from each of the other 2 divisions. rotate this each year.

    in a 3 year period each team would play each team from another division once. in another 3 years, they would have played at the other team’s venue too.

    in a 7 year period all in-division rivals would have played each other 10 times (5 each home and home).

  35. their record doesnt matter the goal is to win your DIVISION…………

    Thats why there are divisions, get rid of the divisions if u r going to cry about the records…..

    the competition committee should be worried about everyone crying about a certain division and be worried that whole division will be eliminated from competing because of people crying.

  36. The STL Rams are going to win the Super Bowl. Also look at it this way, say Brady gets hurt in the last game of the season, are the Pats as good as the Rams with a healthy QB?

  37. Losing teams make the playoffs in the NBA and NHL from time to time.

    I think it’s ok for division winners to make the playoffs no matter what, and if the NFL enacts a rule that you re-seed from seeds 3-6, you could end up with a situation where a 10-6 winner of a strong division has to travel to an 11-5 wildcard team from a weak division. There’s always more to the story….

    That being said, the Rams or Seahawks will be cannon fodder for the Saints if that’s a potential first round matchup.

  38. This needs to happen asap. A 7-9 division winner should be lucky just to be in the playoffs. No way in hell should they get a home game to boot!

  39. #
    jaggedmark says: Dec 15, 2010 5:51 PM

    The NFC West winner will lose in the first rd, and everyone will forget about it after that.

    And wildcards should not get a home game, PERIOD! Win your division


    Kind of like the Cardinals did huh?

  40. Part of the problem is the fact that, with the 2002 realignment, only 37 percent of a team’s schedule are division games. When the league went to a 16-game schedule starting with the 1978 season, two divisions (NFC West and AFC Central) had four teams through 1994 which meant six division games; the others have five which meant half their schedule was divisional games.

    During that 17 year stretch, only the 1985 Cleveland Browns won their division with a non-winning record and it was 8-8: 4-2 in the division, 1-3 against the NFC East, leaving them at 3-5 against the rest of the AFC. That year, the NFC East had three teams finishing at 10-6.

    Also recall that conference non-division games were schedule based through the 2001 season. With the 2002 realignment came rotating through divisions in both conferences, leaving only two games as schedule based. The reason was to avoid scheduling anomalies that, for example, kept Green Bay from playing in DC for a 25-year stretch; Tampa Bay never playing in Buffalo (which could have happened in 2005 but the league waited until 2009, and scheduled a September game there); Marino and Elway going head to head in the regular season only twice in the 16 seasons they played in the league together.

    This year, the NFC West is playing the NFC South this year and third-place Tampa has an 8-5 record and holds the tiebreaker over NFC North second place team Green Bay. The South is 10-3 against the West with three games to go: Arizona at Carolina (15), Atlanta at Seattle (15), and Seattle at Tampa Bay (16). I see, at worst, the South winning the season series 12-4.

    We need to go back to where 50 percent of a team’s schedule is division games. Out of the 162 games in Major League Baseball, a National League club’s schedule is 50 percent in the division. That’s 81 games that, for example, the National League East teams play against each other.

    If the league goes 18 games, they need to make them within the division which would at least get the schedule to 45 percent within the division. Otherwise, the number of games within the division would drop to one third at which point you might as well take the top six from each conference since winning a division won’t mean much.

    my few cents …

  41. #
    gmen4life1979 says: Dec 15, 2010 6:44 PM

    NFC WEST sucks a** … it is a horrible division and I hope the sorry 9ers make it and somehow face the GMEN so we can beat them down and pay them back for last time they met in the playoffs >>>>>

    G-Men for Life !!!


    G-Men aren’t going anywhere, Eli Manning has regressed and is the new Favre, he won one and now he’s done. INT time baby.

  42. “mrcowpatty says: Dec 15, 2010 7:34 PM

    The STL Rams are going to win the Super Bowl. Also look at it this way, say Brady gets hurt in the last game of the season, are the Pats as good as the Rams with a healthy QB?”

    No, the Pats would still be better……

  43. I wonder how many of you “winning your division” folks are as supportive when it comes to non-AQ teams being afforded a chance to play for a BCS bowl?

    Frankly, as long as they don’t try to move seeds across conferences, I’m all for it.

  44. It is absolutely amazing to me how dumb the majority of fans are on this forum.

    Case in point. The fact that so many folks here mention that a division winner should get a home playoff game because winning the division should “mean something”.

    It does mean something you nitwits – they actually make the playoffs. A 7 – 9 team from the NFC West would make the playoffs while a team in the NFC with a BETTER record will not. That is the definition of why winning a division means something. It’s too much to reward that mediocre team with a home game.

    The argument of a home game holds no water. A team in a tougher division, with a better record, should have to play on the road because of their geographically influenced division? MORONIC!

  45. mrcowpatty says:
    Dec 15, 2010 7:34 PM
    The STL Rams are going to win the Super Bowl. Also look at it this way, say Brady gets hurt in the last game of the season, are the Pats as good as the Rams with a healthy QB?


    Let’s say the Rams lose Sam Bradford to injury. Will they score again this season with whoever-the-hell the backup QB at St. Louis is???? Jeez…….

  46. A #1 seed would be in favor of reseeding. If the 3 seed wins their Wildcard game then the 5th seed Wildcard team like New Orleans at 13-3 would be in line to visit #1 Atlanta. Some reward for being a #1 seed!

  47. The Divisions and Playoff format are FINE they way they are. Lets not freak out due to a fluke. The NFC west is the exception, not the rule.

  48. Winning your division should get you in the playoffs, but I think seeding should be based on record or a combination of record and strength of schedule.

    I would not eliminate divisions. They make football compelling because of the rivalries eg. Ravens – Steelers. But you could make the argument that the send place team in the AFCN is more deserving of a playoff game than the winner of the AFCW based on strength of schedule and record.

    Either way, I wouldn’t lose sleep over it. But I think it would make the system a little bit more equitable.

  49. Say, let’s get rid of the division and the conferences all together. Each team should play every other team once (31 games should make the owners happy). At the end of it, the two teams that can field twelve players go to the Super Bowl. Is this a GREAT idea or what?

  50. That “solution” for lack of a better word is simplistic and doesn’t solve anything. It just creates another imbalance. McKay should just worry about his team winning it’s division.

    What if the Falcons are one and done in the playoffs? How will the new “solution” help that?!

    “Just win, baby!”

  51. Here’s the thing, this is a reactionary response to a situational problem. Rules are written on the basis of constants. Adjusting rules for rare situations is stupid. Everyone has the same shot at winning their division, if you want a home game win your division. I don’t care if you’re a 14-2 team, if you come in second in your division to a 16-0 team in your division, you’re still the SECOND PLACE team. And I guarantee you that when that exact situation comes up at some point, that 14-2 team is going to say they need to reseed the playoffs for every seed so that a 14-2 game get’s a bye week as well as a home game in the playoffs.

  52. The only reason this situation is worth discussing is because of the potential of a team getting homefield advantage in the playoffs with a losing record (7-9). That hasn’t even happened yet. And if it does, it’s a complete oddity. Leave it alone.

    The constant bashing of the NFC West division itself though is just moronic. The recent history of success is there (see: NFC West teams Superbowl appearances in last 10 years…MORE than any other division).

    The Rams are also clearly on the rise. If they don’t clinch the spot this year, they will next year.

  53. This is the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard of in the NFL for 3 reasons:
    1) if they decide to reseed 3-6 they should reseed 1-6. You can have two teams in the same division with the two best records in a conference and one of those teams will be fifth seed. It can happened this year, the saints and falcons can both finish at 13-3 and one of those teams will be fifth seed with better records than 2-4.

    2) if you don’t grant division winner with what they’ve earned according to “your rules,” then there would be no point in having divisions. There would be two conferences and a team would play everyone in they’re conferences one time. That means no division rivalary games and the sport would be less exciting.

    3) I don’t remember everyone bitching two years ago when the chargers won they’re division at 8-8 and the patriots didn’t even make the playoffs at 11-5 cuz of the dolphins winning that division. I really hope these morons do they’re research before making this decision. And I hope my Niners wins this weak division and makes noise in the playoffs so everyone will shut they’re f’n moiyhs

  54. The league just needs better scheduling (ie. something that produces a pretty even strength of schedule distribution) and this issue (very similar to Voting System problems) goes away. They won’t fix their BS scheduling because it interferes with their goal of setting up as many marquee non-division matchups as they can. Eg. Colts/Pats. What the league doesn’t understand is by constantly playing up marquee games they destroy true parity and meritocratic (ie. not stale) rivalries. In other words they’re trying to have their Division pie and eat it too. It’s schizo.

    Another (completely crazy) idea they may want to think about is having the teams themselves determine what their non-division games are. That’s right. Each team submits a list of teams they’d like to play and ranks them. The algorithm finds the best fit. That way the teams themselves will make choices that tend towards parity. Because why would a team want to pick a schedule that would give them a losing record? Eh?? So anyhoo, you’d end up with the teams creating their own real rivalries (by constantly trying to pick on some, supposedly weaker teams) AND competition induced schedule parity. Tada! That’s a spicy meatball.

  55. Man how crapy does a division have to be before we change this. I understand winning your division should get you something. However I think it should get you in to the playoffs and that is it. Seeding should be done by record only. Every couple years this crap happens. granted it would appear as though the NFC West has finally gotten so bad the winner shouldn’t even be allowed into the playoffs. You would think they would be grateful to even still be considered an NFL division at this point.

  56. I remember the 2008 Cardinals getting to the playoffs at 9-7 and everyone cried about how such a crappy team got into the playoffs. Turns out they were a better team than everyone thought.

    They beat an Eagles team that – up to that point – had beaten every other team in the playoffs on the road to get there.

    It just doesn’t matter to me about homefield advantage/ vs road. When it comes to the playoffs, a good team wins on the road. A bad team goes home.

    That’s what makes football so great: We don’t have BS “fairness rules” like other sports who have to play best-of-7 to see who the “REAL” good team is. You play ONE game, and you better show up, or go home. And the team that wants it the most wins…always.

    So, how about instead of complaining that you have to go on the road to play a team that had a worse regular-season record than you, you show how great a team you are by handling adverse situations out of your control? That’s where the great teams come from. Not from a rule change you find to be more “fair.”

  57. I don’t think that anything should be done to the playoffs. I remember when the AFC got their heads handed to them during 13 straight Super bowls and nothing happened. The current playoff system works. I don’t understand why the current leadership in the NFL is so reactionary. If they keep this up it will eventually destroy the game I love so much.

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