So it doesn't look like the NFL will expand the playoffs to 14 teams this year. But it sounds like almost a done deal for the 2015 season.
While the debate among the NFL owners has likely come to a conclusion, there will always be room for debate among media, fans and anyone else who likes to weigh in on such topics.
But honestly, this one seems like a slam dunk across the board. Yes, it's going to happen. But I really can't figure out what the reasons would be against it.
Without a doubt, it starts with money. Yes, the NFL will make more money by adding two games. Going from four games in the opening weekend to six, certainly increases the overall revenue and profit sharing from the networks.
Sure, the No. 2 seed in the playoffs next year is going to be upset about it, especially if they lose. But if you can't beat the 10-6 or 9-7 team you'll face at home, then how good were your chances of taking it all the way anyway?
I mean, get ready for it. This 14-team playoff is just a setup to the 16-team one we will see before too long. You watch, as long as the No. 2 seeds win the majority of those games, the NFL will probably move to a 16-team field and eliminate first-round byes all together.
But back to this point, I just think it makes sense to add another team.
And if you think for a second that only two teams are benefitting from this you're crazy, and simple-minded, too.
Add one more spot to the playoff mix and watch how many teams will stay in the race throughout the season. You won't have a lot of teams getting eliminated from contention in Week 14 or Week 15. With a seventh team now in each conference, you'll probably see at least 10 teams go all the way to the end of the season with a chance to make it.
As Lloyd Christmas said in Dumb & Dumber, "so you're telling me there's a chance?" All teams really want is a chance to get in.
Oh sure, people can make the argument about watering down the playoff field but history has shown that's not the case.
I went back to the 2002 season when the Texans joined the league and made it an even 32 teams with eight 4-team divisions. If the NFL had expanded the playoffs then, there wouldn't have been one seventh-seed with a losing record. Only a handful of them would've been 8-8 with the majority being 9-7 and 10-6.
The only time you've seen teams in the playoffs with losing records is when they've won their division. The extra wild card team is probably for someone that is more than deserving. [embedded_ad]
Take last year for an example. The Cardinals missed the playoffs with a 10-6 record but would've made it under this format. The Steelers would've been the AFC's seventh-seed at 8-8. Then again, they went 6-2 down the stretch, so you know the No. 2-seeded Patriots likely wanted no part of that, even at home.
I don't think you can really dilute the playoffs with a seventh team. This league is so close every year that I'm not really sure we always get the best 12 teams in the playoffs by the end of the regular season anyway. I'm not even sure we'd get the best 14, but there's a better chance of it.
Early-season injuries or suspensions might not hurt you as much now. Slow starts for whatever reason have a better chance of being overcome with this format.
And if you think this is a piece to get the Cowboys into the playoffs, just know that they wouldn't have made it in any of these last three years of finishing 8-8 and losing it on the final week of the season.
Sure, teams like the Cowboys have a better chance of making it. But to me, that's what you want at the end of the season. The more teams that still have a shot to win it all, the better.
Even with 14 teams, the NFL would have 43.8 of the league in the postseason. Major League Baseball has the fewest with just 10 of 30 teams making it. But the NBA and NHL have 16 of 30 teams in the playoffs at 53.3 percent.
Sure, the saying "if it's not broke, don't fix it," can be tossed out here for the NFL. But you're not fixing anything. In my opinion, you're only improving the most popular sport there is.