At noon ET on Friday, the NFL’s owners will consider the proposal from the Competition Committee regarding a change to the established rule for dealing with playoff seeding in the event of a canceled game. The proposal has multiple parts; one contemplates a neutral-site AFC Championship under certain circumstances, and the other allows for a possible site change in an eventual wild-card game between the Ravens and Bengals — based on a coin flip (yes, a coin flip).
Per the league, the proposal is tied together. All or nothing. It’s not a situation in which the AFC Championship neutral-site idea will be resolved, and then the Ravens-Bengals issue will be addressed.
That said, the owners can choose to split the proposals into two votes, if they want. Other changes can be made. The suggestions can be amended or debated.
Ultimately, the league can do whatever it wants to do — as long as at least 24 owners agree. It takes only a block of nine to compel the league to retain the current rule on the books that contemplates playoff seeding based on winning percentage, with no allowances for neutral sites or coin flips or anything else.
That’s the biggest point that, before last night, had been glossed over. Through multiple conference calls and, undoubtedly, plenty of other off-the-record and/or background conversations with reporters, there was never an explanation that the NFL already has a rule for dealing with canceled games, and that the league was choosing to flat-out ignore that rule and come up with something else on the fly.
When the owners meet, that should be the first question asked. Why are we changing the rule that was already created for this specific situation?
That’s an explanation, if there is one, that hasn’t been provided to the media. Presumably, it will be provided to the men and women who own the 32 NFL teams.