NFL playoffs should be seeded without regard to division championships


Three years ago, the 7-9 Seahawks hosted the 11-5 Saints in the wild-card round of the playoffs.  After the Seahawks won, some actually argued that the victory validated the notion that the Seahawks were the better team.

In reality, Seattle parlayed its automatic home-field advantage at the stadium with one of the best home-field advantages into a berth the divisional round.  If the game had been played in New Orleans, the Saints would have been favored to win by 10 or more points — and the Saints likely would have covered the spread.

The Saints traveled to Seattle because the Saints finished second to the top-seeded Falcons, while the 6-9 Seahawks beat the 7-8 Rams on the final day of the regular season to win what at the time was the worst division by far in football.

Today, the NFC West has a trio of 10-win teams; the fourth-place Rams have the same record as the Seahawks did when they won the division in 2010.

But winning the division, no matter how bad a division may be, continues to carry a playoff berth and a home game.  While it would be unfair and impractical strip a division winner from a berth in the postseason, why does the best of four bad teams deserve a home playoff game?

This year, a seeding of the teams without regard to division championships would have turned wild-card weekend on its head in the NFC.  The top two seeds (Seattle and Carolina) would have remained the same, since the 12-4 Panthers beat the 12-4 49er.  But San Francisco’s 12-4 record would have given it the No. 3 seed.  At No. 4 would have been the 11-5 Saints.  The 10-6 Eagles would have been No. 5 and the Packers would have secured the sixth seed at 8-7-1.

More importantly, the Saints would be hosting the Eagles instead of traveling to Philly, and the Niners would be playing one more game at Candlestick Park, instead of traveling to the tundra, which by definition is frozen.

In the AFC, the Broncos and Patriots would have remained the top two seed.  But the inclusion of Kansas City in the tiebreaker between the Colts and Bengals at 11-5 would have given Indy the No. 3 seed, via superior conference record.  The Bengals would have gotten the No. 4 seed based on conference record, the Chiefs would have stayed at No. 5, and the Chargers would have qualified for the No. 6 seed.

The flip-flopping of No. 3 and No. 4 would have sent San Diego to Indy and Kansas City to Cincinnati.

The league has shown no inclination to take the automatic home game away from the division winner, but there’s no reason to continue to reward the best of four bad teams with a home playoff game.  Home-field advantage in the postseason should be earned not via six divisional games but by all 16.

310 responses to “NFL playoffs should be seeded without regard to division championships

  1. No. That would make divisions and division rivalries meaningless (or at least a lot less meaningful).

    Football is fine as it is. Lots of drama right down to the last snap of the last game.

    Stop messing with the game so much. Let it be.

  2. Just win the game. If the Saints couldn’t beat the 7-9 Seahawks, they don’t deserve a championship moreso than you think the 7-9 Seahawks don’t deserve a home game. Cry me a river.

  3. I disagree. A division championship from a tough division should mean more than a wild card from an easier division. Plus, all these teams run different schedules – the divisional games are the only constant.

  4. I respectfully disagree. If you want a higher seed in the playoffs, win your division. Plain and simple. If you’re not the best team in your division, why should you get a higher seed than a team who was the best team in their division?

  5. Even if they are the best of 4 bad teams, they are still their Division’s champion.

    Let me say that again, Division Champion. This means that their rank in their division is 1, the other teams even with better records are still not #1 in their division. If they are so much better they should’ve won their division.

    I can see both sides, however I still fall on the side of leaving it how it is. It will help the Saints to go to Philly – the Superbowl is in New Jersey, think of it as a warmup.

  6. So the west gets screwed this year, but years ago the west screwed over the rest of the league. Seems like it all worked out in the end. Perhaps the Seahawks apologists back then will chime in on how this is how it all should work again?

  7. No way should the Packers be rewarded for barely winning the worst division in the NFL. Won’t matter though since the Niners own the Packers and Sunday will be no different.

  8. Keep it as is. The point of the playoffs is to determine the NFL’s best team. And the best team should be able to win ANYWHERE. I’m sure Saints fans would love the rule change because they have trouble outside of the dome. But to me, that just shows that they aren’t the best team in the NFL

  9. Home-field advantage in the playoffs is rather overrated. The best teams find a way to win regardless.

    The broncos were 8-0 last year at home but the ravens went in there and won even though they were the “weaker’ team and they struggled on the road all year long.

  10. If there is no point to win the division, then why have divisions? You can take it a step further and say than why have Conferences when you can simply seed the top 16 teams in the NFL ala March Madness?

  11. Completely disagree. Let’s say the NFC East is playing the AFC south and it’s in a down year….and all the teams feed on teams that are down. At the same time, the NFC North has to play the AFC East, when the AFC east is having a strong season, and they split…then what? At the end of the day, it’s got to come down to winning your division first. The whole schedule is for the playoffs, the home field should be – and is – for taking care of your division, first. Weak argument.

  12. No. This is stupid. There is no reason to even have divisions then. Let’s not make division crowns worthless in the mean time.

  13. Even being a Packer fan I agree. Home field should be based on record. You already get into the playoffs by winning your division with a marginal record (and you should). But home field, in addition, is too much of a reward.

  14. Green Bay should have to play all of its games on the road. That they get to host a game after winning a pathetic division with an 8-7-1 record supports the reseeding argument.

  15. Completely disagree. Winning a division should mean something. Ask baseball what happened when wild card teams were given the same value as division winners. Some teams tanked their division to set up their next opponent.

    And what about divisions with 3 strong teams that knock each other off. You can’t assume that a 9-7 division winner isn’t as good as a 10-6 wild card team.

  16. it would also help stop teams from benching their starters in week 17. if the #3 seed and a home game were still attainable, KC wouldn’t have benched a lot of their starters. and given how the game ended up with the likes of Chase Daniel at the helm, the Chiefs would likely be hosting the Steelers this week.

  17. The argument should really say.. get rid of divisions. Once you do not reward winning the division you might as well go to a two division league with top six getting in the playoffs. Perhaps then you could cut the season to 15 games in favor of player safety (only play teams in your conference 1x per year). And then add two more teams to the playoffs for each conference.. It would be a completely balanced schedule (everyone in the conference plays the exact same teams) and reward the top eight in each conference with a post season bid. All teams would play the same number of playoff games to reach the Ultimate goal. Parity at its best..

  18. I agree. I would like to see it go one step farther. The seeding should not be by conference. The four best teams get the four top seeds….even if it is all in one conference. Isn’t the idea to get the two best teams in the superbowl?

  19. Depends on how difficult each team’s schedule was or is. Seedings should be determined by strength of schedule, just as the order of the draft is determined.
    Teams (the Chiefs and Patriots) that produce inflated records against creampuffs, those teams should not be rewarded.
    I’d say San Diego’s 9-7 record was a worthy accomplishment, considering the Chargers own road wins against both the Broncos and Chiefs.
    Some teams put together spectacular records without owning a single significant win. The NFL isn’t what it used to be.

  20. REMEMBER: the patriots were gifted the 1st round bye with a BOGUS last second pass interference call against Cleveland

  21. I disagree. If you want to host a game during wild card weekend win your division. And I think both the 49ers and Saints should be favored this week.

  22. They don’t do it because teams like the Chiefs that have an extremely easy schedule as opposed to other teams that play a more difficult schedule. I believe the Chiefs played 10 games before playing a team with a winning record. You shouldn’t get an advantage when playing a weaker schedule than other teams. Keep it the way it is, quit complaining because your team didn’t get the seeding you wanted.

  23. Another benefit of seeding the playoffs based on regular season record is that it would keep teams from sandbagging the end of the year if or when the division is sewn up or a team like KC can’t improve from a #5 seed.

  24. 100% concur — I’ve LONG agreed with this position.

    The only way the current seeding procedure is fair is if each of the 4 Divisions per Conference are evenly distributed in terms of performance/production.

    The problem is, that almost never happens — so nearly ever year, we get Heavyweight Wild Cards drawing 5 Seeds and Powerpuff Bantamweight Division Winners drawing 3 and 4 Seeds (and HFA in Round 1 of the playoffs at a minimum).

    About time someone high profile made this point. Great job on this one, Florio.

  25. “Home-field advantage in the postseason should be earned not via six divisional games but by all 16.”

    Last I looked your entire record counted towards winning the division, not just your 6 divisional games. The NFL is build around the division, from the schedule to the playoff system, hence the playoff birth and at least 1 home game for winning it.

    If you are a good enough team, you will win no matter where you play. In the last 6 years the Giants and the Packers have won the Super Bowl without playing a single home game. If you are built as a team to only be able to win at home (the Saints) then you don’t deserve to win in January.

  26. The officiating is terrible and inconsistent. They need to fix that first. If it wasn’t for a BS penalty on Ahmad Brooks (no fine despite a ‘personal foul’) the niners would have been the #1 seed.

  27. Seeding would have resulted in the Cardinals making the playoffs and the Packers missing the playoffs. It is a shame that they do not get the shot at the Super Bowl that they earned by having a better record than the Packers and Eagles. The system is flawed and needs to be fixed.

  28. Couldn’t agree more. It is a joke that the Packers are hosting the Niners. Packers should have to go to the stick.

  29. Bad idea if you decide to keep the current divisional format. Makes sense if u play each team in your conference once so you get a true picture on how good a team is. Seeding under the current format brings in too much subjectivity. Theres going to be an ebb and flow on how strong the divisions are from year to year. Win your division and get the reward of a home playoff game.

  30. NO., Mike………

    You are the Division Champion…..You
    Host…… IF, San Fran wanted to host
    they should have Won another game…..
    Sometimes, as in this case, the rules are
    right/correct….. Don’t change what
    isn’t broke; just for change-sake……..

    Move On…………..

  31. So at that point, winning the division means nothing then.

    The way it works now means that if you want to have a home game, you better win the division. If you don’t, then you do not deserve a home playoff game and you should have played better. Simple as that.

  32. OK, but as long as we’re at it, let’s get rid of the bye for the two best records too. Adjust the field in order to assure that they’re in the mix right off the bat.
    Does everything have to be made better?
    Leave it alone.

  33. The next logical step is putting the top 6 teams in the playoffs. So this year GB is out and Arizona is in. I can live with that… but others would raise hell. So forget reseeding the teams. There are divisions and division champions, good bad or otherwise host playoff games. Some years it looks strange, but thats ok.

  34. I agree 100%

    Winning the division should guarantee you a spot in the playoffs and that’s it.

    8-8 and 7-9 teams should not be rewarded with a home game in the playoffs…

  35. I’ve been saying this for years, nice to see someone agrees with me. In the case of the Saints or some of this years teams the system penalizes a team for playing well at the same time another team in their division played even better. I’m sorry, the divisional crown should be just to earn the flag to fly over the stadium, beyond that if you have a worse record than a Wild Card team, too bad, pack a bag and go do something you didn’t do as much of that season… WIN

  36. Awarding each division winner a home game keeps some regional flavor in the NFL and that is a good thing. It adds to some extra spice to an already great product.

  37. As soon as they do that, you’ll have the tougher schedule people whining! Its a no win situation!

  38. No.
    Schedules are radically different between divisions so simply comparing number of wins can be misleading .
    More importantly division winners should get a home playoff game for winning a division.

  39. I have to agree 100%. San Fran works its way to a 12-4 record, impressive any way you look at it, with its losses only to other playoff teams, including at Seattle & at NOLA, two of the toughest places to win. And they are rewared with a trip to Green Bay, an extremely tough place to play in January, against a 9-6-1 Packers team who barely slipped into the playoffs? Not right.

  40. Completely disagree with this idea. Winning the division is the first goal of every team in the NFL. Some divisions are stacked with good teams and some aren’t. That tends to shift every few years. Division winners should have a home game regardless of records. If you want to reseed based on “power rankings” then you essentially say division titles are meaningless unless you have the top records.

  41. Bunk.

    You should be rewarded for winning your division.

    Division races are terrific.

    Every division goes through cycles of strength and weakness owing to injuries, etc.

    The NFC West was a joke a few years back. Now it’s strong.

    Let it go.

  42. I am OK with it, if the Packers were seeded last and had to travel….as long as a Division Champion gets in. There may be teams in second, third, or fourth place in another division and with a better record, but a division winner needs to get in. Otherwise, why have divisions?

  43. Really though? Teams that play in tough divisions beat up on each other… That wasn’t the case with the 7-9 Seahawks nor is it really the case in the NFC East and North this year, but I think that’s the theory behind automatic 3/4 seeds for winners. If you take that away, you could theoretically be punishing the Seahawks if next year they finish 9-7 because the whole division split, as they are all strong teams.

    Winning the NFc West next year will be a challenge, and the winner would deserve seeding just for escaping, regardless of record.

  44. Then why have divisions ? Just have conferences and the top 6 teams make it. No teams would play each other twice to make it fair. Is that what you really want ? No rivalries ? No home and home games. Keep it the way it is. Win your division.

  45. So a team that won its division should have to travel to play a Wild Card team? That makes no sense. There should be an incentive for winning the division. The NFL has it right, stop seeking change for the sake of change.

  46. I disagree. The first step is to win your division. So that should carry some weight. If winning the division doesn’t matter then we shouldn’t play each team in the division twice.

  47. The division is still the most important set of games that a team needs to win. If teams only played their divisional opponents once a season rather than twice then I would agree with your idea. However, teams continue to play a home-and-away series each season with the three other teams in their divisions.

    Take a look at the seeding tie-breaker procedures. What’s the first question after head-to-head records? WLT records in the division. What’s the first question for Wild Card seeding tie-breakers? It’s to check if the teams are in the same division, which then tells you to use the divisional champ tie-breakers.

    Take a look at draft order. Once you eliminate the the non-playoff teams, the teams that lose during the Divisional round have a higher draft number/lower draft order than the teams that lost during the Wild Card round.

    No, the divisions are still very important to the culture of the NFL. As such we will continue to see Divisional teams with a worse WLT record than the Wild Card teams they are hosting. As it should be.

  48. I disagree. Regardless of how bad your division is that is one of the motivating factors of winning your division…. A home playoff game. I understand sometimes teams with better records gets hosed but this is just looking at their record. I mean they could have won 10 games where most aren’t against competitive teams and another team won their division at 8-8 and played a tougher schedule. So you want to guarantee your spot… Win your division. By strictly seeding by record you diminish what winning a division means and it does mean a lot even if the other team stink.

  49. If they use your method, what is the reason to even have divisions? Lets just have 2 leagues (NFC & AFC) with the top 6 advancing to the playoffs.

  50. Outside of a team’s division opponents their schedule is very different than every other team. You’re taking this idea from the NBA, but NBA teams play the entire league at least twice. There’s not as much of a question about strength of schedule.

  51. It’s hard to say which is “more fair.” It would be unprecedented to not give divisional winners at least one home game, because every single major sport in the US DOES give favorable playoff seeding to divisional winners.

    If you’re really so much more of a better team, you should be able to go into the inferior team’s house and bust them in the mouth. As a wild card entry, your road to the Super Bowl is going to be faced with way harder road games than that first one.

    The real story is that we’ve become a society that dabbles far too often in the realm of “that’s not fair enough!”

  52. Going solely based off records means nothing. Winning your division is an accomplish and you are rewarded for doing so. Just because you won more games than another team that won their division doesn’t mean you deserve a better seeding. You could have played a cupcake most of the year while they played tougher division games. And this stuff happens once every few years. Not enough to really care honestly. Division champs = home game. Period.

  53. If this is the case then you would not have a need for divisions. They would become irrelevant. So that is what would be given up.

  54. So here’s the problem with this logic: If you throw out division winners from having the home field advantage if their records don’t warrant it, then there’s nothing special about division winners anymore. And if there’s nothing special, why not just award the 6 seeds to the top 6 records in the conference regardless of division? In that scenario the Packers are not awarded a seed at all, and Arizona sneaks into the playoffs. Because if you argue that record supersedes division ranking then that’s where the argument will eventually take you. And if you go that route, get ready for some truly, truly horrible football games as divisions who have off years decide to throw in the towel early because a wild card team would get their spot.

    Look, I’m a Saints fan. I totally get the unfairness of it. That Seattle game still gives me nightmares, especially since I live in Washington state. But this is one tradition we just shouldn’t screw with.

  55. This would make sense if these teams all played the same schedule or at least all in conference opponents, but they don’t. You play divisional opponents twice, and then some formula only the NFL knows dictates the rest of your schedule. The NFC West got to beat up on the AFC South, while the NFC East had to play the much tougher AFC West. There is too much disparity in teams schedule to throw out winning your division (where the teams play mostly the same schedule) as a high seed than a wild-card team!

  56. lastly if going strictly by record then you run the chance of having a division winner out if the playoffs and in my opinion that is far worst.

  57. Don’t agree with getting rid of the automatic berths. The division winners are just that. The playoffs were designed for the winners to compete for the right to go to the SB. The wild card games were designed to add two more teams into the mix to reward the divisional team that was strong but lost out on the automatic berth. They get in, but that is all.

    Divisional opponents are set on rotation and not every division is the same strength, nor are the cross conference opponents equal. Going just by record is not a true measure. Look at how KC was crowned early in the season as being so powerful, but it was clearly due to their early weak schedule. The record skewed by weak/tough teams will always exist. The current system works fine. The reward for being the best in the rivalry divisional system is to host at least one home game. Let us keep it so.

  58. Yep, 100% agree with Florio. No way Green Bay deserves a home game, or even a trip to the playoffs.

    The Niners should handle the Packers regardless, but they should be hosting the Cardinals at the Stick instead of traveling to Green Bay.

    Maybe instead of fining players for the wrong socks, Goodell should be refining the playoff format.

  59. This is just idiotic sour grapes because people are worried the much-loved Saints are going to come up to Philly and underperform in bad weather in the winter months because they aren’t able to have the game on their home carpet in their heated dome. That’s the breaks, that’s football. You need to be a team that can compete in all weather conditions, not just ideal conditions. With the Superbowl being outside in January in the North East if you can’t play in bad weather in the wild card round what hope does any team have in the big show?

    Having said all of that, in the isolated view of this season, there is something to be said for seeding based purely on record, but that’s just not how it’s done. Sorry. Too bad, so sad.

    To change the rules and rank purely on schedule ignores things like level of competition, team schedule, and other factors.

    Lastly, to come back to the Seahawks/Saints game in the 2010-11 Playoffs. That game proved that the hotter team wins. The Saints jumped out to an early lead, but couldn’t hold on and the Seahawks won, not because of the 12th man, but because they were the better team coming into the Playoffs.

    And really, if the argument is that the Saints (in 2010-11 Playoffs) were robbed because of the bad weather or home field advantage or whatever, does it really matter? Because they’d have gone into Soldier Field the following week and poor weather and proved they can’t get it done when they aren’t in their dome.

  60. Might see a change if NFL decides to somehow expand the playoffs which it sounds like they will do if they can’t add more games to the regular season.

  61. This is a stupd argument. I you’re gonna seed on record only, why have divisions?

    Obvioulsy the East sucks this year, so lets eliminate the Eagles and put the Cardinals in.

  62. Disagree, why change something that has worked so well for so long. Always knuckleheads who want to change something. We don’t need anymore playoff games either!!!!

  63. Disagree. Giving home field to division winners puts much more emphasis on divisional games, increasing their rivalries. Want home field? Win your division.

  64. So, let’s keep it fair.

    Keep it the way it is, BUT, allow the visiting team in the wildcard round to chose the officiating crew.

  65. As a Saints fan, I want them to prove themselves on the road this season…

    But being in a division that sucks balls shouldn’t give you an advantage…

    Now the Colts are an enigma this season (and without wide receivers/nice trade Irsay – stay in bed and medicate/stay off the Twitter); but getting Jacksonville, Houston, AND Tennessee twice in a season – wow, almost as bad as Denver had it against the AFC West until this season…

    Set the seeding based on record, break ties without using Division Title as tie-breaker – let owners use the Division Champs Banner as salve for their fans disappointed in the playoffs…

  66. I’m a traditionalist, but perhaps it’s time to change. They could simply use the same format as the NBA and take the top 12 teams.

    For those advancing the “just win more games to improve your seeding” argument, that would be even more important under the new format. I’m sure the Cardinals are pointing to the fact that they won more games and didn’t get in at all.

  67. Wrong. Teams that share a division play 14 common games and only two noncommon games. Teams in different divisions most likely only play three common games. That’s why winning a division is actually a good measure of how good a team is because they won more games than three other teams with very similar schedules and that should be rewarded.
    Take the Eagles and Saints for example. The Eagles had to play the AFC West(3 playoff teams) and the Saints played AFC East(1 playoff team). Does the fact that the Saints won one more game mean they are a better team or just that they won more games on their schedule which might have been easier than the Eagles.

  68. That is the worse argument I’ve heard…. Why should the 3rd best team from a division get to host a playoff game? If u can’t win out your division then you don’t deserve to host a game.

  69. This had to be the dumbest thing I’ve ever read ok here he is preyed much saying winning ur division means nothing unless the team you are playing has a worst record than you dumb ass hell

  70. Better yet, eliminate divisions and inter-conference play, put two teams in Los Angeles one in the NFC, one in the AFC for 34 teams and play a 16 game schedule against every team in your conference and take the top 6 teams into the playoffs.

  71. disagree..why is everyone trying to get rid of the underdog..if your good win where ever you play..also love the fact the superbowl is being in held in the cold..not some where I guess dome teams and California should be pissed off..

  72. If you do away with seeding as it is, then divisions become meaningless and there is no reason to have them. And if there is no reason to have them, you’re basically killing food rivalries and one of the best parts of the game.

    wild card teams were added to make the season and post season more interesting for more teams and fan bases. Its a bonus, not a right.

    if you want to play in the post season, win your division.

    horrible idea here.

  73. Disagree. End of year divisional games have been great for the league. Diluting the value of those games would be bad. Not only did you have the two winner-take-all games at the very end, but you also had the Saints-Panthers game in Week 17 to determine the NFC South vs a wild-card berth. That game would have been less meaningful under your proposed seedings.

  74. Teams within the same division play 14 games in common; it’s a great way to determine who the best team in each division is.

    Teams within the same conference don’t play enough games in common for this argument to hold any weight. This change would lead to teams with easier schedules getting seeded over better teams who played tougher scheduled (and thus, had fewer wins).

    The only way this works is if the NFL goes division-less, and every team within a conference plays every other team within their conference (15 games in common). Then, you’ll have a system that could support this argument.

    The 7-9 Seahawks example is a pretty dramatic one, and largely an aberration.

  75. And, where are the calls to fix convoluted rules, poor officiating and things that actually could help safety (helmet/pad materials)?

    Where are the calls to stop changing the game so we have more commercials than football?

    Yeah, let’s go right ahead and change something that helps the parity of the league as it stands.

    It’s getting old NFL. We love this game but you are making me question my own loyalty to it.

  76. I’m not in favor of a change. A division winner can also have a lesser record because they played a brutal schedule and a wild card team can have a better record because they played a cake schedule. It can work both ways.

    Unfortunately, all schedules are not created equal. If you do it purely based on record you could just as easily reward a wild card team a home game for essentially just having an easy schedule and penalize a division winner for having a strong schedule.

  77. Totally agree, there are a few divisions that are week, and teams such as the Saints or 49’rs would have won in a cakewalk, these teams have a better record playing a tougher schedule. Seeding should be done by wins and losses…

  78. So theoretically, a wild-card team could be the 2nd overall seed and get a home game after the bye…

    I don’t like it, keep it as it is.

    The Seattle example, to me, just shows the pattern that it all comes out in the wash. NFC West benefits from the seeding a few years back and is hurt by it this year. Never really understood the criticism of this rule.

  79. Great commentary Mike. Obviously most are going to want to stay with the staus quo because most won’t have the best division, or best team in football. Hence, if that team does happen to get in by virtue of a weak division they certainly are not willing to relinquish that first home game on Wild Card Weekend.

    Winning your division should reward you with the right to be in the playoffs. Beating the other THREE teams in your division should get you a playoff spot. Wild Card teams are teams that are rewarded by beating the records of the other TWENTY-TWO teams in the league.

    Reseed Roger. This league changes rules to make the game better and it should do so at this juncture as well. Time for change. We’ve seen it done with the over-time rule, the completed catch in the endzone when a player goes to the ground, moving the kickoff up, etc. Its time to make this thing fair. Teams should not be penalized for having good records.

  80. The NFL is based around Division’s, only within a Division do you play a broadly similar schedule so it is right and proper that winning a Division gets you a home game.

    If you want to seed based on best record then you have to do away with Divisions.

  81. division winners still make the playoffs, it’s just the seeding after the wild cards have been decided when the record comes into the seeding process…

  82. There are compelling reasons to continue to reward division winners with a home playoff game. It raises the stakes and fuels the rivalry within the divisions by rewarding division winners with the financial and emotional lift of a home playoff game. The NFL, unlike MLB, has a system built to sustain parity with easier schedules and higher draft picks annually going to weaker teams. This assures team and divisional cycles. Any given year, a team or fanbase may feel “victimized” by the current system, but if its applied consistently, year after year, it remains fair for all teams. This article cites exactly that – The NFC West wild card team this year with a better record goes on the road to an NFC North division champ with a worse record when just a few years ago, the exact opposite occurred when the Packers (11-5) visited the Arizona Cardinals (10-6).

  83. Changing it would keep teams from sitting their starters like KC did this year. Had they beat SD they’d be hosting a game as the #3 team. But since they had nothing to lose, they are a number 5 in the current format.

  84. I’ve been mad for years that the league does it this way. It’s no better than college football. You win the division at 8-8, and make the playoffs, while there are teams at 11+ who barely get in??? That is just plain stupid. Top records are in, rest are out….that easy.

  85. Then why have divisions? If your proposal were true, it would throw out traditions old rivalries.

    You would have 16 teams in each conference and then could play each team in your conference once while doing what with the other game (until expansion)?

    How about we get rid of the wild cards? Would that appease you? Tip for you.. Packers would have still made the playoffs and SF would be out all together.

    Word of the wise…. Win your division and you guarantee yourself a spot at the postseason dance with at least one home game.

  86. Completely disagree…

    Division schedules are fair since all teams have 12 common games.

    Comparing the 49ers and Packers- other than the head to head (A 6 point game, which could have gone either way- at SF)-

    Their common opponents we the Awful Redskins and the Awful Falcons.

    I can conclude that the 49ers did a better job of beating their division opponents than Green Bay did. Hence their better record. But they are built to defeat those teams if they are put together correctly.

    The only non-division winning team the 49ers beat
    was the Packers in Candlestick.

    They were blown out by Indy and they lost to Carolina and New Orleans.

  87. The NFL deliberately schedules intra-divisional games toward the end of the schedule to make year end games more meaningful, and to avoid having teams rest their starters. Seeding the playoffs without regard to division championship would do even more to make year end games more meaningful and avoid having teams rest their starters. So, it is something the NFL has already shown a penchant for doing, they should do the right thing and seed the playoffs without regard to division championships, heck they even do that in the NBA.

  88. If recent NFL playoff history showed that the four division winners were always in the divisional round, conference championships and super bowls, I might agree with you Florio.

    But number 5 & 6 seeds are consistently getting to conference championships and super bowls.

    Homefield advantage and byes have not necessarily helped the home teams get to the big dance.

    I disagree with you Florio.

  89. I’d have 1 caveat to this: first tie breaker is division championship. So, a 10-6 wild card could never have home field over a 10-6 division winner for example. All of the other NFL established tie breakers could come into play after that if necessary.

  90. The current playoff seeding basically devalues the regular season completely.

    Funny when people say the div winner DESERVES a home game, when it’s debatable that a 7/8 win team even deserves to be in the playoffs.

    What is the reward for a team that wins 11/12 games, but not the division? Oh, a road game against a crappy team. Yay?

    It’s simple – you win your division, you’re in the playoffs. That is your reward, nothing more, nothing less. It also allows “reward” for teams that, I don’t know, actually played well.

    There is NOTHING about a 7/8 win team that “deserves” a home game. The playoff seeding is a joke.

  91. I hope the Eagles get to Giants stadium for the Super Bowl (wishful thinking). They would no way lose. So maybe a little of an unfair advantage.

  92. The division winners getting automatic home games made more sense when there were only 3 divisions in each conference. When they went to 4, the pool got diluted.

    I like Florio’s idea and have been preaching the same thing for years. Winning your division would still give you a reward, and that reward is a playoff berth.

  93. I disagree because teams do not play the same schedule so you cannot compare the record of SF against the record of Green Bay and conclude SF is superior. You can only compare SF to Seattle, Arizona and St. Louis. If you start ranking teams like SF above GB, then why stop there? You might as well ditch the divisions and just take the top 6 teams by record in the conference. But again because the NFL has only 16 games, some teams will have easier schedules making their records unfair to teams with tougher schedules. Keep the divisions and reward division champs. Division play fosters long-term rivalries. And having the winner of a group of 4 teams whose schedules are most similar get a home playoff game makes more sense than trying to argue that teams playing different schedules should be ranked against each other.

  94. mike,

    as long as the nfl maintains the divisional structure, which i think it should, you are wrong. your idea would invalidate the divisional model.

    your idea suggests a transition from a divisional to conference structure

    this is basic stuff. you should do better given your position as a pundit both on internet and tv.

  95. Win your division and this won’t be an issue! Why have divisions if you want to go on record only? This is only a complaint from teams who do not win their division.

  96. The Cards not making it this year is just punishment for winning the west and getting to the Super Bowl 5 years ago with an 8-8 record.

    These things are cyclical. There’s always oddities with playoff teams. Win your division.

  97. If the Saints wanted to host a playoff game that year, they should have won their 6 division games. Otherwise, what is the point of winning the division? Its the perk for the division champ, and 2 teams a year whining about it won’t make it change. It is just about the most fair and logical way to make a playoff while still making your division and regular season relevant.

  98. The division winner should be guarenteed a playoff position and that is all. So Green Bay should get in but they should be the #6 seed. Awarding a home spot to the worst record of all the NFC teams is a joke and it has been for years now. The NFL needs to amend this problem for next season. 49ers and Saints should be hosting games this weekend and the charger should be playing in Indy. We as fans get robbed by the matchups and if any of these better record teams lose because if being on enemy turf it would be a travesty

  99. So is the author okay with Arizona missing the playoffs at 10-6 while Green Bay goes in at 8-7-1?

    My point is that winning your division matters. It’s supposed to mean something, like it has since the NFL started division play long before most of us were born. Division champions host playoff games.

    If we’re going to start seeding playoff teams based on record alone, then why have divisions at all? It is no less fair that the Packers are hosting the 49ers than it is that a 10-6 Cardinal team is sitting home while an 8-7-1 Packer team is in the playoffs.

    Either leave it as is, or do away with divisions all together.

  100. By that theory, you should then just have the AFC and NFC. What is the point of the conference then? If your team is good enough, you win your road games. If the Saints were good enough that year, they beat Seattle. This whole nonsense of advantages of playing in the cold or outdoors is silly. Most teams play the first half or more of the season in ideal conditions. It isn’t until December and January where “cold weather” teams play in the elements. If you are a good team, you win anywhere. Road and home.

  101. I would make the case that you couldn’t be more wrong. A team like the Saints that can’t win outside the confines of its cozy little dome has no business advancing in the playoffs anyway.

    Football is played outdoors … it’s no one’s fault but their own that they opt to hide inside a little bubble like girly men.

  102. with that thinking, why not get rid of the AFC/NFC and have one league of 32 teams and take the top 12 and give the top 4 a bye week in week one of playoffs! How stupid!!!! if you take the top 6 from each conference regardless of division winners would ruin division rivalries! It seems like ever year or two someone complains about a team that should have made the playoffs but didn’t! You can’t make everyone happy!

  103. If you want to change this then you need to change the divisions.

    – Divide each conference into two, eight team divisions.

    – Seven games are against division teams, five games against other division within same conference, four games against other conference.

    – The would allow for the same number of games as currently played in terms of conference play (12 in conference, 4 out of conference), clear division winners and byes with everyone playing each other once, and more emphasis on head-to-head tiebreakers when only playing each division opponent once.

    I would prefer a restructuring as opposed to changing home field away from current division winners.

  104. Extending the same logic here, we should combine the AFC and NFC and only take the top 12 teams in the league. If 9 come from the AFC and 3 from the NFC, so be it….

    Terrible idea.

  105. The only way this would work would be to get rid of divisions and inter-conference play. Every team in a conference would play every other team once. The regular season would be 15 games. You could then have an extra bye week per team, which the players would love. You could have the top eight teams in a division make the playoffs with no playoff byes. The teams would re-seed after each playoff round with the best record always having home field.

    This would water down the playoffs, eliminate rivalries, ensure that some teams NEVER play other teams, but it would be FAIR. It would be horrible. Leave it alone. The NFL is pretty close to perfect.

  106. Any way we can add some more hyperbole to this post? So now a division winner is still the “best of 4 bad teams”?

    If you’re discounting a bad division, what about really tough divisions where 3 good teams beat each other up? Record alone does not tell the whole story of how a team measures up. It also says nothing about getting hot at the right time. Division winners (and their fans) deserve the “perk” of hosting a playoff game.

  107. Then you might as well kill the divisions and go with NFC and AFC conferences. No need for divisions at all. Wasn’t the Patriots 11-5 and missed the playoffs a few years back?

    I think you leave it alone or change it all…

  108. this seems to have some visceral appeal, but upon deeper analysis seems a half-baked idea at best. teams don’t play the same schedule, so a 10-6 record by one team might have actually been as good as, or better than, a 12-4 record by another. So strength-of-schedule would have to be factored in. But we’d also need to consider who played or didn’t play in those games. So when you weigh, let’s say, the Chiefs record under this criteria (very weak schedule against a string of backup QBs), it’s look far less impressive than almost any other team’s record in the playoffs (including San Diego).

    So if we’re attempting to get the “best” teams into the best position in the playoffs by an “objective” criteria, looking at the record alone, seems as inadequate as division winnners getting higher seeds.

  109. The fact there are arguments on here that a division winner at 8-7 deserves to host a 12-4 team is pathetic. Simple math 12-4 beats 8-7…12-4 should get the home game. Saying SF shoulda won their division is the same argument that the Packers deserve to be in over a 10-5 Arizona team.

  110. Maybe some teams play teams in their division that are easy to beat. Kansa has a lot of wins in an easy division.

  111. I disagree. The Division champs should all have a home playoff game. Where I would argue for a change would be in how the wild cards are selected. Instead of taking 2 from each conference take the top 4 overall.

  112. IMO, division winners should get into the playoffs ONLY if they have a better than .500 winning percentage. If not, then the team with the highest win percentage regardless of division should enter the tournament.

  113. Win the division. It’s the only guaranteed path to the playoffs. If you don’t win the division you are lucky to be in and have no business whining about seeding.

  114. Whether or not you agree with reseeding based on the grounds in this article I still prefer the concept if only because with a reseeding scenario you would virtually never see teams sitting their starters (like KC did this year, which in all likelihood was the difference between Pittsburgh making it in instead of San Diego this year) unless they were absolutely dominant and had no concern of any other conference team matching their record.

  115. It looks like there is overwhelming opposition here to Florio’s suggestion. There seems to be overwhelming support here for the current system.

    The NFL owners overwhelmingly support the current system. I have never seen a serious poll of fans, but I suspect the comments section here reflects what the large majority of fans want — keep the current system. Winning a division should matter.

    When the Seahawks made the playoffs as NFC West champion in 2010 at 7-9, the Giants and Buccaneers both missed the playoffs at 10-6. Those are the breaks. That’s what sports are about. Championships aren’t awarded based on rosters on paper or regular season records. They are awarded based on a playoff system. Look at what happened one year later in 2011. The Giants won their division and made the playoffs at 9-7 after missing the playoffs the year before at 10-6. They beat the NFC #1 and #2 seeds on the road, and then beat the AFC #1 seed to win the Super Bowl. Was there something wrong with them getting a wild card round home game?
    If the 2010 Saints couldn’t beat the Seahawks on the road, that’s the Saints tough luck.

    The “best” team may not always win a championship, but a championship isn’t called “The Best Team Game” or “The Best Team Bowl”.

    If Florio’s concern is that the Seahawks have the largest home field advantage in the NFL, then address that directly, not with some convoluted strange argument that division championships shouldn’t be worth much (in most years, the 4 division champions are among the teams with the 6 best records in their conference).

  116. For all those that think the division is all-important you can’t have it both ways. Seattle supposedly won their division this year despite having a worse record than San Francisco in the division. If the division is all-important then the 49’ers should be the NFC west division winner. If the division is not that important then seed them according to their records. Absurdly unfair that an 11 game winner had to play at a 7 game winner’s home field 3 years ago. And absurdly unfair that a 12 game winner has to play at an 8 game winner’s home field this year.

  117. Leave it as it is…..

    In a tough division, teams can beat themselves up on the way to the finish line. Winning your division should take a premium over someone coming in 2nd or 3rd place in their own division.

  118. Funny, I stated the same thing and got blasted by those pathetic packer fans. Guess you can’t fix stupid over there. After all, we’re talking about people who buy worthless stock and think it means something.

  119. With this logic, you may as well do away with divisions. It’s idiotic. There is a reason you get the 3-4 seed for winning your division, and the 5-6 seeds for not. Because winning your division is your first goal. If you don’t do it, you aren’t rewarded

    Stupid idea for people who need something to cry about

  120. What is up with the war on football? I completely disagree. You want home field, win your Divison. How on earth is it fair to have a Divison champ have to travel to a runner-up’s field?

  121. This topic comes up every few years whenever there’s a weak division winner. Remember Seattle a few years ago?

    Seeding based on record would de-values the division games.

    There’s good and bad no matter what scenario you want to try.

    It usually doesn’t matter. Usually the best team ends up winning.

  122. Oh and all you windbags complaining that you should be rewarded for winning your division, you will, a playoff spot. Your record should dictate your seeding, not your geographical location. Completely illogical.

  123. I agree. Once divisions were realigned and all divisions became four teams instead of 5 or 6, the division champion became 20% less of an accomplishment. And now almost every year the 5 and six are more accomplished than the 3 and 4.

  124. Comments from SF fans about how unfair it is to have to go to Lambeau is ridiculous. Look how long the WEST has sucked and the North dominated, but the West still took their higher seed.

    Why does it need to change? Keep the integrity of the process and importance of the division games. The divisions go up and down every few years and you can’t change seeds because one team has a better ranking. Should have won more your division.

  125. Why should the dumb luck of playing in an inferior division with 3 teams with records worse than 8-7-1 earn you BOTH a playoff birth and a HOME game? You get to play those weaker teams twice each. Shouldn’t being better through out the season determine HVA?
    Changing it would not compromise divisional rivalries because you still earn an automatic playoff birth, it would not have changed one thing about any of last weeks games. Stop being lemmings people, the system could use a tweak

  126. Division games would still be as important because ultimately winning the division would put you in the playoffs, and say between Philly and Dallas the division record would break the tie if the record and head to head was even.

  127. Division rivals have 14 out of 16 common games. No excuses. If you want to host a playoff game, win your division.

  128. Leave the playoffs as they are; winning your division should count for something. What needs to be fixed is the rule book; it has become so complicated that even experienced officials are screwing up. Most people point to that Saints – Seahawks game as a reason to change the seeding, but the reality is if the Saints score TD’s in the first half instead of kicking FG’s, the Lynch run would not have mattered…

  129. Also this is the second time in a dozen years the niners have been rewarded for their 12 win season with a trip to Lambeau to face a 8- 10 win team.

  130. You still GET INTO THE PLAYOFFS if you win your division, just because that wouldn’t guarantee home field advantage doesn’t really devalue a division title that much…

    If reseeding were ever adopted, you want home field in the playoffs? Win a couple more regular season games…

  131. The point is that if you don’t win your division you are in a different pool competing for the two bottom playoff spots. That’s the punishment for not winning the division.

  132. There are good arguments for both sides of this. The current system gives situations like Green Bay hosting an intrigue angle fair or not, which I kinda like. A new seeding change based on conference record alone would probably have more teams playing out the season fully, but then you’d have to add a strength of schedule component unless they changed it to all teams playing each other, which would then destroy the division rivalry component which most fans wouldn’t want as this would be too big of a loss to interest in the season. I personally could live with it either way as long as they continue with teams playing divisional opponents twice a season.

  133. “Home-field advantage in the postseason should be earned not via six divisional games but by all 16.”

    This line makes no sense to me. A team could conceivably go 0-6 in its division and still win with a 10-6 record. All 16 games absolutely count in the current format. Division record only really comes into play for tie-breaker scenarios.

  134. Im pretty sure mr. Florio is well respected within sports media, but this is kinda ridiculous. By this opinion, there should be only 6 teams in the playoffs that would ensure that the best teams from the AFC and NFC by records only, and no division champions because it doesn’t necessarily equal into the best records

  135. I keep hearing people say the NFC East is the weakest division, not that its a tough one but at least the winner was 10-6, do people keep forgetting the NFC North winner was 8-7-1??

  136. Could not agree more, record it record and that is how it should be seeded. This brings it back to the start of the Pats bs dynasty where they hosted a loaded Raiders team in the snow at home while being 9-7 where Oak was 11-5. BS tuck rule aside (which was changed after this epic completely ridiculous call by a referee Walt Coleman that somehow still has a job even though he continuously makes bad call after bad call) if the game was not played in the snow the Pats had zero chance at winning that game…. and the league would not have its poster boy for the next decade to give every roughing and bs pass interference call to when needed most…. but back to the original post, no reason these weak teams should host a team that was clearly more dominant all year (aka SF going to GB this year… what a joke)

  137. Nope, no need to make changes to the seeding. Wild card teams get to play in the post season without winning their division. Why should they get an added benefit? Instead of re-seeding, why not just get rid of the wild card? Problem solved.

  138. I’m so tired of “how unfair” it is for the 49ers to have to go on the road for failing to win their division. The 49ers were in the most pathetic division in the NFL for 15 years. Every week was a frickin’ bye week before the NFL realignment. The 49ers have benefited more from “unfairness” than any other team in the NFL. Suck it up this year 49ers.

  139. Keep it the way it is, if Aaron Rodgers doesn’t get hurt the Packers would be at least 12-4 or 13-3 even with that awful defense and you can’t say one division is better than the other when you have a team like the lions probably with the most talent in the entire league but with a lousy coach under perform, the thing is you have all the fans who cry about this when there team has to play a road game and might lose, but when they are 8-8 and play a home game against a team that is 12-4 they sing a different tune

  140. This is a simple solution. Keep it as is. Teams don’t have the same schedules so who’s to say an 11-5 is better than a 7-9 team. If they are that much better they should be able to beat them wherever it is they play.

  141. Leave it alone! Morons! Roger and his 32 overseers are already trying to ruin the game on the field. Changing the playoff format would eroded the divisional rivalries and alienate the fans more. I still think it would be hard to change the format. If I’m a owner of a team that went 8-7-1 that wins its division or a owner who has a team who just missed the playoffs at 8-8. Who could win their division the following year and host a playoff game. And make more MONEY( by the way morons that’s all Roger and his overseers care about in the end) . How would you vote? The following year to change the seating.

  142. Has anyone mentioned the possibility that a 3-13 division winner could end up hosting a playoff game against a 15-1 team? Yes, it’s possible.

    In such a scenario, the “lucky” winner of an abysmal 3-13 four-way tie could possibly go from the 4th pick in the draft to the 21st by virtue of making the playoffs.

    I know that is the most extreme scenario, but it’s not unimaginable to have have two great teams in one division each going 15-1, 14-2, 14-2 and 13-3, or whatever.

    While we will probably never see a 3-13 division winner, it’s possible we may get more 7-9 winners or even a 6-10 winner.

    I’m sure we’ll see some kind of rule change, and many supporters changing their tune, if we get a 6-10 division winner hosting a 13-3 team while an 11-5 or 12-4 (I think that’s possible) team gets left out of the playoffs altogether.

    Personally, I think any team that has a losing record should be ineligible for the playoffs. Two 10-6 teams missing the playoffs for a 7-9 division winner in 2010 was bad enough, but it could be worse. I guess we have to wait for a more absurd scenario to unfold.

    Yes, San Francisco, at 3.5 games better than Green Bay is getting a bit of a raw deal having to go on the road. Maybe a threshold of record differential should be considered as some kind of compromise.

    Food for thought anyway. Let’s just hope we avoid a 5-11 team hosting a 14-2 wildcard.

  143. I think its fine, win the division and host a game.

    If you want reseed the playoffs, and truly are worried about. Then the refs need to get all the calls right and not cost anyone a game, because it makes a difference especially when teams need to travel.

    Last year for instance if it weren’t for the fail mary. The Packers would have been hosting the 9ers last year instead the other way around. Makes a pretty big difference with weather and stuff.

  144. You also have to take in effect the schedule, you have better teams with harder schedules that might go 8-8 but are really a 10-6 team, if you take away the divisions whoever has a cupcake schedule is gonna get into the playoffs plane and simple

  145. I agree!

    Teams will still have something to play for if the playoff teams are seeded. Are you telling me that the Chicago/Green Bay game would have had less riding on the line just because the winner would have NOT had a home playoff game? Baloney. They were both playing for a berth in the playoffs.

    I’m sure SF will smoke GB at GB anyway, but what a lot of people here are forgetting is the economic impact. GB area will get millions pumped into its economy because a terrible 8-7-1 team won its division. A Packers team, btw, that did not beat a single winning team this season. Even with Rodgers and his 6-2 mark this season. NO WINS OVER A WINNING TEAM. Or playoff team for that matter.

    You can still seed the playoff teams and have divisions. A crappy division record gets you in the playoffs. It should not guarantee you a home game.

  146. lol
    its arbitrary, and any given year you may get some strange unfair decisions.
    Hey guess what, your version is arbitrary too, and any given year you will get some strange unfair decisions.

  147. Getting into the playoffs AT ALL at at 7-9 or 8-7-1 when most teams typically need at least a 10-6 should still be more than value enough for a division title.

    Let me reiterate what reseeding the playoffs does devalue: BENCHING YOUR STARTERS in Week 17 because there’s nothing to play for if you can’t catch your division’s leader.

    (Vikings fan by the way, no allegiances to San Fran and certainly not to the 2010 Saints, this season and 2010 are both years I’d much rather forget…)

  148. I think you’re thinking of permafrost, Mike. Tundra can certainly thaw, it just doesn’t happen for very long. Trees don’t grow and ten quadrillion mosquitoes can’t hatch on frozen soil.

  149. The playoffs teams in the NFC have conference records of 10-2 (Seattle), 9-3 (all other teams but Green Bay), GB 6-5-1. The difference in overall record is clearly non-conference games. While you can make the argument GB doesn’t deserve to host a playoff game, they also lost their starting QB and MVP candidate and still won their division.

  150. Leave it..most the people crying are haters anyway..jealous 10 year old girls. How about PFT banning people under 12 so the rest of us can read more about football and less about fan bases

  151. This is just stupid. If the team is good enough to win the SB then going on the road shouldn’t be an issue. If I remember correctly, the saints could have won that game against Seattle but they couldn’t tackle a certain RB.

    Even if the 49ers beat GB, they having proven that they cannot beat seattle on the road.

  152. It’s never made sense why a team that’s already in a tough division should be counted as less than a team in a lame division. Should be the opposite, as you suggest.

  153. I wouldn’t mind seeding both the AFC and NFC in one bracket and have the best come out…even if the super bowl ended up with 2 teams from the same conference

  154. Keep it as it is. If team is better they can win on the road. Pittsburgh has had to do it on the road, the Giants have also, as has Tampa Bay in the past. If a team is better they can win anywhere and defy the odds. Tampa win in Philly in bad conditions years ago, Michael Vick beat Favre in Green Bay, something that had never been done. I’m an Eagles fan and have learned that the better team usually wins.

    Just because your record is better doesn’t mean you’ve played a better quality of teams. The only benefit the Eagles have had from playing in the NFC East this year is that they played for their playoff lives from the Arizona game on and essentially picked off potential playoff teams Green Bay, Arizona, Detroit, Chicago and Dallas.

    This week I feel they may fall short because New Orleans is technically the better team all around. The Philly secondary needs a bonified safety or two (jury is out on if Wolff can stay healthy and be good).

  155. Asinine. This is what is wrong with this country. People want to be rewarded for just being good-enough. If you can’t win your division, why should you be rewarded with a home game?
    A team who wins a tough division with a 10-6 record deserves the home game over a team who finishes 2nd with an 11-5 record in a division where 2 of the teams are bad.

  156. Can somebody tell me why the Bengals and Colts would switch seeds?

    The Bengals beat the Colts in week 14 and therefore own the head to head tiebreaker.

    While I don’t agree with reseeding the playoffs this way. Hopefully if the NFL does they’ll at least take a look at the schedule and see which team owns the head-to-head tiebreaker before considering conference records.

  157. I can’t sit by and watch people shout out about unfair the system is when they don’t even have their facts correct. The Eagles beat Arizona and they have the same record so stop making that comparison look at the standings idiots. You have to look at strength of schedule for the saints before saying they should host a game they are a stinking 3 and 5 outside regaurdless of opponent.

  158. What is this another Rodger Goodell$$ idea. They want to have top teams seat playoffs in the hopes the higher win brings a bigger market share for tv

    Your greed ruins my football

    Stop messing with football

  159. Then why have divisions. This is the most ridiculous argument you can make for changes in the playoffs.

  160. Sooooo disagree!!!
    Dont change something just to change cause of a year or two of this happening.

    you want change?? make it two conferences and top 6 teams get in from the conference.

    otherwise, just leave it alone…….nothing in life is perfect.

  161. The only way this works is if you have 2-16 team divisions and the top 6 make the playoffs. Make it a 15 game schedule where every team has the same schedule.
    The schedules now are too varied. If the NFC West played the AFC West this year, that is a much much more difficult schedule than if the AFC South played the NFC South. I would expect the West division winners would have a lesser record than the 2nd place team in either South division. In an unbalanced schedule you can’t reward teams with cream puff schedules.

  162. I love the irony of NFC West fans complaining about how victimized they are by the current system. A few years ago, everyone complained about letting your teams host playoff games cause you had the weakest division in football (for quite some time). I think you guys (Seattle and San Francisco fans) should sit back and enjoy this run. You both have the benefit of numerous young players at relatively low salaries taken as high draft picks in rewards for your years of poor performance and now field very solid teams. Your quarterbacks, both really talented, are the two lowest paid starting quarterbacks in the NFL (fact – look it up). In three years, I expect, you’ll have salary cap challenges that bring you back down to earth – so stop complaining – and enjoy this window of good football that you have.

  163. I remember back in I think 2010, the Cardinals finished 10-6 and won the division. They hosted the Packers, who had the better record at 11-5. In the first half, the Cards were whooping the Packers. It ended up being a thrilling game.

    That along with the Seahawks getting in the playoffs with a 7-9 record shows that no one should really judge a team by their regular season record because when it comes to the playoffs, it is a whole new ball game.

  164. Disagree. You want home field advantage, beat your own division. Other teams like the Bengals and Colts, who have a home game, can’t sell the darn tickets! Why would you allow a 2nd place finish seed higher than a first place finish? Certainly not because they can sell the tickets…

  165. It’s not fair that those that own houses do not give it to those that do not own houses.

    It’s not fair that some people make more money than others.

    It’s not fair that those with multiple cars do not give the extra ones to those in need.

    I’ts not fair that some kids go hungry while others kids get to choose what they want to eat at all times.

    Life is not fair. These are the NFL rules. Live with it!

  166. so stupid this dicussion. winning your division is first goal
    of every team. you win your division then you earned
    to host playoff game. CASE CLOSED

  167. Maybe it’s just me, but I’m more mad at my team when they don’t get enough wins to win the division and have to travel, than I am at the team that won its own division and earned the right to have a home game.

    Man up, win the games that count under these rules, and stop blaming others for your own team’s shortcomings.

  168. “Even with Rodgers and his 6-2 mark this season. NO WINS OVER A WINNING TEAM. Or playoff team for that matter.”

    In the two games where they did play a playoff team (San Fran and Cincy), they lost 34-28 and 34-30. Yes they still lost but those games prove they can still play well against better teams.

  169. While that’s better than some people and their division winners with bad records shouldn’t even get in the playoffs, this is still wrong.

    It’s the next step to getting rid of divisions, really. Winning the division (and the rivalries entails) is still the most important thing in the season. I wouldn’t like to see the NFL lose that in order to seed jsimply best to worst based on win-loss record. What’s the point of those division rivalries then? Or divisions in general then? Why not just have 16 teams in two conferences?

    No, thank you. While I understand the frustration of worse teams getting the home playoff game, the primary goal of the regular season isn’t to win lots of games, it’s to win your division. I like that. I means divisions have a reason, and the rivalries have meaning.

  170. You turds act like a “division” is some mythical entity. It’s just a way to separate teams regarding their location. You think that should be what gives a team an advantage and not how well team played? Unreal.

  171. I think everyone here agrees this format needs to be kept the same because it creates divisional rivalries. Ravens/Steelers, Seahawks/49ers, Cowboys/Giants, Indy & Pats/Free walk.

    Coaches first goal of the season is to win the division. If Packers beat the 49ers this weekend doesn’t that strengthen the argument to stay the same?

  172. If the primary goal is to win your division and the division games are what matter then how do you rationalize San Francisco with one division loss and Seattle with two division losses?

  173. I disrespectfully disagree! I think enough people pointed out that 9-7 in a tough division is a lot more meaningful than 11-5 second place finish in a weak division.

    Tinkering like that makes divisions irrelevant.

  174. I cannot believe how many people are saying, “If they’re a good enough team, they should be able to win on the road.” If that’s the case, why even seed? That’s such a terrible argument.

    Winning your division should secure you a playoff spot. Period. If you want to host a playoff game, win more games. Period.

    How is that hard to argue? Even the NBA fixed this issue years ago when the Spurs would win the West and the Mavs would have 2nd best record in the West, but would always be the 4th seed, since other two division winners with worse records would have higher seeds. This led to the 2 best teams playing in the semis, not the West Conf finals.

    And how does it make sense that the 49ers who not only have 4 more wins than the Packers, also BEAT the Packers have to go to Lambeau? What’s the point of head to head or better record when division winner trumps all? It totally takes out the meaning of those games. And I’m a Packer fan!

    Division winners get playoff bids, but win your games if you want to host playoff games. Done and done.

  175. Packers won a division…49ers didn’t. The game SHOULD be at Green Bay, just as it is.

    Otherwise, why have divisions? Why not just one big Conference with the top 6 teams getting in the PO’s?

  176. If you’re a good team – have a good record – clinch a playoff berth – but someone in your division has 1 more win than you…. bummer!

    Quit whining and play football – if you’re a big bad 10+ win team, then go beat up on a 9-7 or 7-9 home team.

  177. 12 wins is a regular season accomplishment. not 8. lets stop rewarding the mediocre.

    also division games would still be important because it would decide who goes to the playoffs- the 8 win bears or the 8 win packers.

  178. I have argued this for a while. I think you win your division, you should get a playoff birth. But if you are the worst record of all of them you should be the #6 seed.

    That said, I’m hoping Lambeau gives my Packers an advantage against the 49ers who have taken the Packers behind the woodshed the last two seasons.

  179. In the current format you can’t possibly think strength of schedule doesn’t matter. How many teams played their first 3 games in 11 days against 2 playoff teams. Answer only one team the Eagles. If you through out there division win giving them a home game, then you can’t schedule this way. Every team would have to play the same teams and with the same amount of rest. The system is fine the way it is, the road to 10 wins for the Eagles was just as hard as 11 wins for the Saints.

  180. I agree. And the vote will go to the owners, and it will pass.

    The primary reason the vote will pass? A poster above mentioned that it will make Week 17 much more significant than it already is. The temptation to rest starters will dissipate with home field on the line.

    The NFL ownership has shown in recent years that money always comes first, and this is a good money move, keeping the fans glued to the very end of the year.

    And that last point, the fans. As fans, don’t you think the prospect of every single win against every team counting is far more enticing than just worrying about divisional games? Removing the automatic home game makes the whole thing much more competitive.

    The current format hamstrings the significance of every game, and needs to be overhauled. Base the seeding on overall record.

  181. Mike I’m totally with you. Also we should change the rules to make the game safer, instead of tackling players to end a play I say we have team colored towels that players wear around their waists, and when the towel is removed the play is over. Also we should lose all team nicknames since they can be deemed offensive by someone. Lets clean up this game and move it towards the future together!

  182. You already provided info that proves your thinking is WRONG. Seattle benefitted from winning the division at 7-9. Well, next year, SF could be 13-3 and Seattle 12-4 and they will have to travel. If there is one content in the NFL, it as that things tend to even out over time. You have to be rewarded for a division win to keep that passion and intensity of rivalry. You deserve that home game – mainly for the fans that saw you through the season fighting for that division. And they get to go to the game. You do Those of us who provide every PENNY of NFL revenue and make it possible for you to get a paycheck for covering it?

  183. they should just have 16 2-team divisions, so that one day we could have the 3-win Titans hosting the 11- win Chiefs.

    Don’t like that? How dare you disagree with the sanctity of the division championship.

  184. You have divisions so each winner is in the playoffs. So that allows GB to get in…if it was top 6 they wouldn’t be in. But when a team wins their division because every other team sucks, why should that get you a home playoff game when other teams have a better record than you?

    Why play the regular season if win totals and head to head doesn’t matter? Apparently everyone thinks the better teams should just play on the road.

    The Niners played in the division that has the #1 seed…why should they be punished for that? They beat the Packers, but now that game meant nothing. And they won 4 more games…and that means nothing.

    Think about it…why did KC not play their starters for their last game? Because they were stuck as a 5 seed because Denver won the division…but had the playoffs been seeded by record, they would’ve been playing everyone. And that’s a problem…and it cost the Steelers a playoff spot.

  185. The NFL should move towards a Bowl system so no one is left out. We should have 16 Bowl Games to finish out the year all at neutral sites and we won’t keep score – that way everyone is a winner! I’m with you Mike!

  186. I agree with most fans that are replying to this, if you change the way playoff teams are seeded it will diminish the rivalry between teams. Part of being number one in your division is you get the perks of being number one in your division. Keep it the way it is!

  187. If divisions matter then 49’ers should be seeded ahead of Seahawks because the 49’ers only lost one division game while the Seahawks lost two. If divisions don’t matter then Seahawks should be seeded ahead of 49’ers because the Seahawks have a better non-divisional record. Anyone who says the division is what matters is de facto saying that the 49’ers should be seeded ahead of the Seahawks and it should be the Seahawks going to Lambeau to meet the Packers. Reality is the division does not matter in the NFL because the Seahawks have a worse divisional record than the 49’ers. Can’t have it both ways. Can’t say the division is what matters and have the Seahawks seeded ahead of the 49’ers. Best compromise is to let division winners make the playoffs but seed ’em according to their overall record.

  188. Seeding is imminent, like it or not. There is already talk among the owners of adding a 7th playoff team which would then require the seeding to be revised in order to make the new format work. What are we arguing here? The Niners play in arguably the toughest division in the NFL. They beat the Packers head to head, and finished with 4 more wins. Them going on the road to play before a hostile Lambeau crowd makes little sense in this case. In the case of winning the division, if we are going on Divison records, the Niners were 5-1 in the division versus Seattle’s 4-2 record, so winning the divison is actually based on best overall record, which thus implies skewed, outdated logic once overall record is superceeded by division “champ” rationale. See what I did there? Seed the teams by record. It’s way overdue.

  189. lets count all the teams green bay beat that had a winning record………….crickets because there were none. heres hilarity : rodgers, flynn and tolzien go down. then out come the packer crybabies whining about injuries. seems like packer fans think no other teams have injuries. even though gb’s seem to last longer. maybe because they arent real injuries.

  190. The game of American Football should have remained the same as it was in the late 90’s. Everything that has been changed since then has been a negative rather than a positive. Please quit changing the game we love!

  191. People say the Steelers shouldnt be in the Playoffs because they are 8-8, and didnt win their division. The 8-8 Packers are in the playoffs, becuase the Packers won their division. People say the Steelers shouldnt complain about missing the playoffs because they should have handled business and won the AFC North, and not relied on the Chargers losing. Same applies for any team not winning its division. You want to guarantee you are in the Playoffs, and have a home game? Well take care of business and win your division or shut the heck up and get your butt on the road.

  192. The goal of every team at the beginning of the season is to win their division. Winning your division gets you a home game, it’s that simple and there is nothing wrong with it. Every once and awhile a team wins their division with less than 10 wins, and somebody gets their panties in a bunch because their team(who couldn’t win their own division) has 10 wins and has to play on the road. Boo-hoo, deal with it. Next year your team might be the one winning their division with 9 wins.

    And btw, the system didn’t cost the steelers a playoff spot, starting 0-4 cost the steelers a playoff spot.

  193. I don’t see how taking the home game away from the division winner makes rivalries worthless.

    Division winner still gets into the tournament and a chance at the world championship. That is all the incentive any rivalry should need. It would be just as ferocious as ever, with more on the line by making every single win count.

  194. The 49ers beat the Packers at the start of the regular season, have a 4.5 game lead on them at the end of the regular season, and are playing them on the road in the postseason.

    Something has to change.

    I know I will receive backlash for this “whiny” opinion. However, the argument that the 49ers need to win more games to “win the division” is justified with Ahmad Brooks winning his appeal earlier this week for the sack/fumble he put on Drew Brees. That is a clear W and would result in the #1 seed. As a result Seattle who would also be 13-3, would be the 5 seed.

    There is no way ANY 13-3 (either SF or Seattle) should have to play a road game in the wild card round against a team with a far inferior record.

  195. for everyone saying just seed teasm by wins, does that mean you exclude wins form another conference. Teams do no play common opponents whether its within the confreence, or outside the conference. So lets say a AFC team gets to play 4 weak NFC teams, so they get 4 easy wins, where another AFC team has to play 4 tough NFC teams and those are losses. How do we rack and stack teams when they dont have common opponents inside or outside the conferences? Having the divisions ensures you play the same teams at least twice, and you play the same non conference teams as those in your division. Everyone says if you want to be in the playoffs, then handle your business, and win yoru division. Now we are saying simply because you had easier schedule, and your record is better than a division winner, you should get the home game?? I say stick with what we have and if you want to play at home, then win enough games to win your division.

  196. Anybody that says the NFL should not change to reseeded playoffs because they would rather we leave the NFL be for the sake of leaving it be also think they shouldn’t change to centralized officiating a la the NHL because we need to leave the NFL be?

  197. This comes up every year and every year everyone doesn’t understand why this can’t be and it comes down to simple comparison. You can’t compare the records of two teams that played totally different schedules. If they played different schedules comparing the results tells you nothing. The only records that can really compared are the ones inside the division. Those teams played 12 similar games and two vs each other. That is a large enough of the schedule that you can compare their records.

    Sure sometimes a better team like the 49ers will have to travel but that is why its called a wild card. Win your division and you will be rewarded. I don’t want to hear complaining outside of that. The Packers had the better record when they lost to Arizona and no one complained.

  198. Lots of 40 whiner fans on here doing what??? You guessed it, whining.
    And for idiot that said the whiners should have won the division….. If they wood have won more games they would have you moron…
    Get your facts straight… You’re lucky the 40 whiney babies are even in the playoffs this year with krappernoob at the helm.
    No system is perfect in life…. We learn this growing up, not all things are fair but you have to play within the rules even if you don’t like them. The rules might not be right, but their rules.
    For example, in California, a truck driver cannot drive a big rig with any alcohol in his system…. FCR rule. Now, per California, if that same truck driver is driving his Honda accord and gets stopped for DUI, he’s treated as if he were in a big rig.. Therefore, he’s not under the same rules as anyone else…. Do I agree with this rule? No I do not at all, but regardless, it’s the rules. So, arguing on this level isn’t going to matter, it is what it is unless the upper mucky mucks decide to change it!

  199. Fact: Divisions are decided by best overall record in the division but not within the division.

    Example: Niners 5-1, Seattle 13-3.

    Fact: Playoff seedings are based on Division Championship vs. Record

    Example: 8-7-1 Packers host 12-4 49ers

    Conclusion: Overall record only comes into play when determining Division Champion, and seeding the Division Cahmpions. Wild Card Teams always finish 5th and 6th.

    This needs to change.

  200. Here’s my solution:
    Dissolve all divisions and conferences. Each year, allow teams (in some pre-determined order – reverse order of draft would be best) to choose their own schedules. No team plays any other team twice, so once you choose the team (or they choose you), you can’t choose them again. It could be set up so rounds alternate between home games and away games (round 1 = home, round 2 = away). Each team would get an allotted amount of time to make their choice (5 minutes?).
    This would add a lot more excitement to the process (might even be worthy of being televised), as it would involve strategizing and thinking on the fly.

    As for playoffs, the top 12 teams would make it and be seeded 1-12. The top 4 seeds could earn a first round bye, and the next 4 seeds (5-8) earn first round home games. Reseed after the first round so top seed plays lowest remaining seed in round 2 and 4th seed plays highest remaining seed from round 1.

    No teams/fans could argue about weak divisions or conferences (there are none), and since they chose their own schedules, they can only blame themselves if it doesn’t work out.

  201. Fact: Divisions are decided by best overall record in the division but not within the division.

    Example: Niners 5-1, Seattle 4-2.

    Fact: Playoff seedings are based on Division Championship vs. Record

    Example: 8-7-1 Packers host 12-4 49ers

    Conclusion: Overall record only comes into play when determining Division Champion, and seeding the Division Champions. Wild Card Teams always finish 5th and 6th.

    This needs to change.

  202. Expounding on my solution above, once a team is selected in any given round, it can’t be selected again in that round.

    Also, since teams can only play each other once, if, for example, the Eagles choose the Cowboys, the Cowboys can’t later choose the Eagles.

    And since each round will include a team choosing a home game and getting chosen for an away game (or vice versa), the number of rounds needs to complete the process would be half the number of games.

    I’m sure I’m forgetting some details that would need to be worked out, so feel free to fix as needed.

  203. This is unlikely to occur but if the league wants the teams with the best overall records to make the playoffs they should expand the playoff field to 8 teams in each conference instead of 6 or switch to two divisions in each conference instead of four.

    In the 8-team per conference format the the first-round bye would be eliminated but the top-2 seeds would have home-field for the first two rounds on the playoffs.

    In the 6-team format with two divisions instead of four, the two division winners get first-round byes and you have four wild-card teams instead of two as in the current system.

    I think the “win your division and get in” concept that most people love doesn’t work well in a system where your division record can be nearly irrelevant to actually winning the division (62% of a team’s schedule consists of non-division games). In the present system, an NFL team could go 0-6 in their division and go 10-0 or 9-1 in all other games and still win their division. A team could go 6-0 but is 1-9 or 2-8 in all other games and they may not win their division. In 2011, the Giants won the NFC East with a 9-7 overall record and a 3-3 division record while the NFC East runner-up, the Eagles, had an 8-8 overall record and a 5-1 division record. Did the Giants truly “win” their division?

  204. If you drop the homefield advantage for division winners, you might as well completely drop the divisions. Cuz if there is no purpose of winning the division other than to get in the playoffs, why not at that point take all the teams with the best records. Why should the cardinals have to sit at home when the packers and eagles couldnt manage better records?

    Change the rules to what you are proposing and you could see playoffs with only teams from the nfc west and nfc south next season in it. You dont give the league a chance for parity.

  205. This is ridiculous. The Green Bay Packers, winners of more NFL Championships than any other team in NFL history, belong exactly where they are. In the playoffs, heading to another NFL Championship. Seedings don’t really matter, but your argument is weak.

  206. Before wildcard games were added, this wouldn’t be an issue. The Saints and 49ers wouldn’t be in the playoffs.

    It’s fine the way it is.

  207. I wouldn’t mess with it. Some times you just have to realize this is the most popular sport for a reason. Tinker around with it too much and you may regret it.

  208. shotgunnoblitz said:
    Why should the cardinals have to sit at home when the packers and eagles couldnt manage better records?


    better slow your roll there, skippy. eagles are 10-6 (same as cards) and they beat them head-to-head.

  209. Another vote for “Noooooo!”

    Divisions are the heart & soul of the NFL. Every division game is life or death. It’s rivalries.

    Points of view like Florio’s –with all due respect– treat the NFL season as merely foreplay to the thing that matters: the Super Bowl.

    Thus, anything that detracts from the “two best teams” playing must be fixed.

    But I love it. The AZ Cardinals proved in ’08, sometimes the crappy team nobody wants in the playoffs has a thrilling run & damn near wins it all!

  210. Logical conclusion to this. The SB should be played by the best two teams in the NFL. Disregard the conferences. Seed the best teams from each conference into one group, even if it ends up bing lopsided. That way Arizona would be in this year and the Chargers out. Then have the top seeded team play the bottom seed, etc. Who cares if the SB ends up being played between two teams from one conference…best two teams right? Duh. Leave being a divisional champion something to strive for.

  211. Terrible Idea.

    By your logic, the Packers would NOT be in the playoffs. The Cardinals have a better record so the Packers would not be 6th seed.

    Winning your division has its rewards and a home game is one of them. If you dont like it tell your wild card team to win more games next year so they have a home game and the division crown.

  212. Completely disagree….the only way this makes sense is if every team plays every other team in their conference, and no inter-conference games . In essence a 16 game schedule similar to college football, and that would open up an entirely new host of arguments. This is one thing that the NFL got right, and should be left alone. How about focusing on winning through performance.

  213. By simply reading the article, you can find that Florio’s point was not that the six teams with the top records should get in the playoffs, just that once the six teams are decided, the seeding for the wild card round should be decided by record. This means that:

    If you posted a comment along the lines of:
    “Why even have divisions then?” or
    “By your logic, the Packers should NOT be in the playoffs” or
    “Just have 2 conferences, AFC and NFC and pick the top 6 teams”

    Then you are arguing against a point never tried to make. Based on those questions, Florio’s answers are:

    1) The point of divisions is still there and the benefit of winning your division is being guaranteed a playoff spot even if you have a worse record.

    2) By his logic, the Packers WOULD be in the playoffs, they should just have to travel to San Fran in the wildcard game because they are clearly the inferior team based on their record in a weaker division

    3) Again, the system Florio is proposing doesn’t have anything to do with who gets in the playoffs, just where the wildcard games are played.

  214. Wildcards were added to the existing playoff system. At the time they were added it was said that no wildcard team should be allowed to host a playoff game.
    I don’t see why it should change.
    Anything else would be punishing a team that won their division.

  215. Division winners get home field advantage. It’s like that in every other sport. Yes, it’s a little different in football with just one game. Great teams will deal with it just fine.

    Good teams win at home, championship teams will win on the road. Look at the most recent champions in every sport: they all won on the road.

  216. If you want a home playoff game, win your division.

    Each division plays a different schedule, and you can’t balance that out in a sixteen game schedule.


  217. Here’s why teams are seated by divisions. I’m old enough to remember when baseball had the American League and the National League, period. The two top teams faced off in the World Series and that was it.
    If you were the number 2 or 3 team in each league, unless the top team took a late swoon, the season was over. If you were the 10th team down the line, the season was over at the All-Star break. Why go see a game when your team has no hope?

    The divisions in football keep fan interest alive. In the NFC North, three teams were alive going into the last two weeks, though none of them had tremendous records. Only a few teams were out of it by week 14. That is why the divisions are around. Here’s a little factoid about the playoffs: if your team is any good it doesn’t matter if they are on the road or at home. I think you will see this this weekend in the SF vs. GB game. If San Francisco loses that game it’s their own fault, and this comes from a Packers fan. Green Bay’s defense is second-rate. The only hope is Rodgers can keep it close.

  218. Just like religion or politics, there will never be a bullet proof system to establish playoff teams. With the current structure there’s always the chance of an 8 – 8 team making it in as a division champion. Let’s look at the NFC West for example. In the 2014 season you will have 4 very competent teams and maybe all 4 have a shot at winning the division, however during the season you have to play each of the other 3 teams twice, therefore beating on each other with the possibility of each team coming away 3 – 3.
    How does the NFL decide which other NFC and AFC division you go up against ?? Next year the NFC West goes up against the AFC West (tough division) and the NFC East which is no push over either. NFC West could have 3 teams bunched at 9 or 10 wins, but 1 doesn’t make it. Another division could have a lighter schedule and have 2 teams make it that aren’t as good as the team left out. The only way to fix it is totally scrap the current ways, and that isn’t going to happen folks !!

  219. Excuse me, how do people figure the NFC East is weak? For the 2nd straight year a 10-6 team won the division , also the NFC East won 28 games. That’s just as many as the NFC North & more wins than the “WEAK” AFC South which only won 24 games.

  220. Division Championships mean something.. Obviously, a 7-9 Rams team should be given credence over a 7-9 team from the NFC East, or North.. The Seattle situation a few years ago was an anomaly.. For example, the argument can be solidly made that Rams could very well be a 10+ won team in any other division, including the AFC West.. Regardless of the playoff format, their will be occasional anomalies.. The current system is imperfect, but would any other system be any more equitable?? I’m not convinced of that..

  221. d27 why should the Rams get credence over a 10-6 division winner with more conference wins than they had wins total? BTW the Cowboys beat the brakes off the Rams 31-7 in the STL. The reason why the NFC West had 3 10 wins teams is because they bet up on the weak AFC South. Their 3 best teams all lost to the 1 team in the AFC South with a winning record. The Colts who are 11-5.

  222. Home field advantage means a lot more than it used to. In these days of parity, home field advantage means more than ever.

    Seattle gets the equivalent of an extra touchdown because of the design of their stadium. Another team has to be much better to beat Seattle at home. The same goes for New Orleans. That’s why both teams, historically, have done so well at home and not so well on the road.

  223. I will end this argument right now.

    GB > AZ
    GB O > AZ O
    Rodgers > Palmer
    Lacy > AZ’s RBs
    GB Wr’s > AZ WR’s
    GB coaches > AZ coaches
    GB ST = AZ ST
    AZ D > GB D
    GB Fans > AZ Fans

    When comes right down to it, is AZ vs SF a better game of better teams that GB vs SF.


  224. I agree that 8-8 and 7-9 teams shouldn’t be hosting a home game, but we don’t have to scrap the home game thing completely. Just keep the division home field adv, but add a condition that the division winner has to have a winning record. That wouldn’t change the Packers situation this year, but it would’ve changed the scenario with the Seahawks two years ago, and I think the Broncos then (when Tebow was there) as well.

  225. One problem I see with changing the current system is that it would create as many unfair situations as it would remedy.

    It’s easy to say the Packers don’t deserve a home game when they’re 8-7-1, but we all know that record doesn’t reflect their quality as a team – it reflects the star QB being out for 7 weeks. And then there are the teams that feast on an easier opponent division in a given year, who would get a double bonus – making the playoffs and getting a higher seed – just because they had an easier schedule.

    So if the system was changed as described here, there would be just as many complaints, they’d just be different.

    The current system works. It keeps the value of winning a division consistent, so all teams are chasing the same prize. The top seeds should be extra tough to get – it’s fitting that you have to succeed in two ways (winning the division and having the best overall record) to get the best spots. It should be elusive.

    If Seattle and San Fran get the top two seeds, where’s the drama in that? The race is more exciting if a one-win difference can mean a bigger drop in seeding. It adds drama, and adds fire to the rivalry, and these are the things the fans care about.

    For the average fan, it’s more interesting to see San Fran in ice-cold GB, and more interesting to see the Saints go to an unfamiliar environment. All the top-record teams playing at home would start to get stale and predictable.

  226. If you are going to seed purely by record then there is no need for divisions. I don’t think the league or many of us as fans are in favor of getting rid of the divisions. Winning a division title should mean something.

  227. Solution,
    Abolish the wildcard games, go back to the way it was.
    Then only division winners would have home games.
    Only whiny 49ers fans would complain.
    Whatever happens will of course happen.
    I’d like it left the way it is. Wildcards do not get to host playoff games.

  228. So what most of you are saying is we shouldn’t have divisions if winning them doesn’t matter? Getting into the playoffs while playing against crappy opponents is not enough reward for you? I guess I will ask why should we have regular season games if they don’t matter? In theory, a team with an 6-10 record could win their division and get a home game vs. a team that goes 15-1, losing the tie breaker to the other 15-1 team in their division. When a team could win several less games in the regular season and still get rewarded with the exact same seed in the playoffs, how does that benefit the fans or the teams? The whole if they were so good they would have won the division is completely unfounded, and winning a terrible division may warrant a playoff spot, but NOT a home game against a team that has CLEARLY proven it is better with its record over 16 games, many times against better competition. Letting the division winners in, but reseeding is the only way to make this right.

  229. the way the system is set up now is what makes the NFL so great. like the article starts out, SEA beating NO that year made for such a great storyline, and just proves that anything can happen at any given week. if a team is relying on home field advantage for playoff success then thats an issue in itself. teams with good records (cards) and not getting in, yeah it sucks, but thats the way this league is. the cards went on to the SB the year they wrapped up the division by week 10, and everybody went on about how great a story it was that Kurt Warner took the cardinals of all teams to the SB. Nobody was complaining then that a team went on a huge slump at the end of the season and made it all the way. just worry about getting into the playoff hunt in the first place, and the rest will take care of itself. it took the ravens 5 years of straight playoff berths to finally get to host a home game. without the divisonal crown getting the upper-hand, we wouldnt have had as intense of game as we got this past weekend when GB was at CHI and PHI was at DAL. it makes for great football and makes for drama in football, and not knowing whats gonna happen is whats awesome, and the underdog coming out of nowhere to win it all makes it that much sweeter. the playoff system is perfect how it is, the only people that dont like it are the cry baby fans of teams that dont make it.

  230. Dum dum dum.
    If you are going change the seeding then you should change the playoff format. Go by the strength of the schedule … this way the Cardinals would be in the playoffs. If the Cards were in any other the division they would have made the playoffs.

  231. The four best records in the NFC, the four best records in the AFC, ignore divisions, watch Jerry Jones cry because his 8-8 Cowboys will never get in. Sounds like a winner!

  232. There are certainly 2 valid sides to the argument. I think its great the way the NFL has the division games at the end of the season, lots of late excitement instead of meaningless games at the end of regular season. Also, winning a Division title is great, if you do not win the Super Bowl, or even advance in the playoffs, you can always take pride in winning your division. Add in the added fact that great rivalries are created by teams vying to win the Division. I think teams with the best division record should be guarenteed a playoff spot, but the team with the better record gets to be the home team. Everything stays the same as right now, except if your 7-9 and won the division and the other team is 11-5 but lost their division to a team who is 13-3, then division win or not, the 7-9 team travels to the 11-5 team. Winning game is what its all about. Winning the division is a great, but an 12-4 team should not have to go on the road to play a 7-9 team. No way.

  233. The NFL should simply reseed the playoffs to the top 6 records in each conference. Division titles are meaningless consolation prizes nobody remembers or cares about. Its the only fair and sensible way of doing it. NFL playoff seeding should be based on wins, not geography.

  234. I love how everyone tries to bash the packers and say how they don’t deserve to be there because of their record yet people forget that they had to play 7 weeks without Aaron Rodgers and still made the playoffs.

  235. The NFL has always been progressive with scheduling so why not here? In addition to this assertion, I think teams should be seeded based on the prior 8 games performance. You get in based on the full season schedule but should be seeded on how you end the year. This year had most teams playing out the season, but many years has starters sitting week 16 and/or 17. By ranking teams on the last 8 week’s record, you’re rewarding teams that play out the season, end the year hot, and generally create more drama in the last couple of weeks of the regular season.

  236. I would support a plan where if you win your division, regardless of your record, you would have a playoff berth. The two Division champs with the best records get opening round bye or byes, but the other two division champs would be subject to the comparison of the records. In this scenario Seattle should have come to New Orleans.

    I can see from the opinions that the seeding will not change.

  237. If you want to use overall record to determine seeding (and therefore home field advantage), then make sure everyone plays games with the same level of difficulty…but this is only possible within the division.

    For instance, I play Denver at home, while you play denver away….those games are not the same difficulty even though we play the same team.

    Some ides for fairness….

    ….playoff games should be played on neutral stadiums (just like the Super Bowl).

    …..randomly select playoff match ups and home fields

    ….every team in a conference plays the same schedule

    The system we have now rewards divisional championships. If we don’t want to reward divisional champions…get rid of divisions and twice a year match ups entirely.

  238. “winning your division is first goal
    of every team.”

    Obviously, its the easiest way to get in the playoffs and get a home game.

    If it was changed to seeded by record, winning more games would be more important.

    I bet most that are complaining are probably pats colts and seahawk fans. None of them would have the same amount of rings they do if we had seeded layoff. Though to be fair, the giants never would have been in to beat the pats that year either.

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