IRVING, Texas – If you've been following the NFC playoff picture this season, you've probably noticed the unfortunate situation being created by the NFC South.
Currently the league's most woeful division, the NFC South doesn't boast a team with a winning record. The eventual champion won't boast a record better than 8-8, if that. It's a far cry from the rest of the NFC, where a team with 10 or more wins looks likely to miss the playoffs.
Despite that, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said he doesn't have an issue with the NFL's playoff format, as he'd prefer to have a division championship be a meaningful accomplishment.
"This is an aberration – this is rare," Jones said Tuesday on 105.3 The Fan. "Because it's such a rare thing – it does need to be structured so that if you win your division, you've done something."
The last time this scenario played out was 2010, when the 7-9 Seattle Seahawks hosted the 11-5 New Orleans Saints in the playoffs. This season, it could be an 8-8 Saints team – or perhaps an 8-8 Falcons team – that hosts a wildcard team with 11 wins. The Cowboys, Cardinals, Seahakws and Lions all look like prime candidates to win as many as 11 games and not secure a home playoff game – if they even reach the postseason at all.
Even though Jones' Cowboys could be adversely affected by the format, he held strong in his opinion.
"That diminishes a little when it's a low-win win of a division, but for whatever reason – whether it's the quality of their outside division opponents or what, they're the division champ. In my mind, a division champ ought to get in," he said.
Having said that, Jones proposed another solution to the conundrum – expand the playoffs. The NFL postseason has featured 12 teams since the 1990 season, when it expanded from 10 teams. Jones said he'd like to see the playoff field expand to 14 teams in the future.
"I'm for two more playoff teams right now, and I think we've got the number of people in the league that are for that, and it's just a matter of when in my mind. I am for more playoff games," he said.
It remains to be seen how a 14-team playoff would work, but popular ideas suggest each conference's No. 1 seed getting a bye week, with seeds No. 2 – No. 7 playing during wildcard weekend. Jones said he thinks there's support among league owners for the move.
"I don't want to discredit any team's ability to mount an objection or any team's ability to vote against it, but I think as it sits right now, it enjoys the favor of the staff," Jones said. "I've seen the league office promote it, and I've certainly seen the teams are for it. I think it could come immediately."