It's Time to Change the NFL Seeding Policy

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Let me get this out of the way first and foremost. As a Jet fan it is mildly annoying to me that despite having a superior record than both the Chiefs and Colts they are relogated to the #6 spot and a road playoff game thanks to being in the same division as this man (I hate you). With that being said, let me present to you the biggest reason why it is time for the NFL to change their seeding policy, and it is not "Boo Hoo the Jets don't get a home game" sour grapes.

The NFL in Week 17 was and is always littered with absolutely positively MEANINGLESS football.

1) The Eagles had clinched the 3 Seed and a Home Playoff Game.
2) The Jets had clinched the 6 seed and a Road Playoff Game.
3) The Chiefs had clinched the division and a Home Playoff Game.
4) The Saints had clinched the 5 Seed and a Road Playoff Game.
5) The Bears had clinched the 2 Seed and a 1st round bye.
6) The Pats clinched the #1 seed.

Of those 5 games, the Jets and Eagles didn't even remotely attempt to win. The Eagles sat Vick, McCoy, and DeSean Jackson. The Jets sat Sanchez, LDT, Shonn Greene, Revis and Cromartie. The Saints put up a decent fight against Tampa, but they still sat Colston and pulled Brees in the 4th quarter. Quote Drew Brees “We did the right thing, the smart thing. And that’s part of the reason why some guys didn’t play today when they probably could have." The Chiefs were playing for the 3rd seed rather than the 4th seed but for the most part their team didn't show up on sunday. The Bears in somewhat surprising fashion decided to play the entirety of their roster from start to finish. Finally in any format the Pats would have already clinched the #1 seed so whom cares.

Now With Reseeding

Now say we flip flop the way the NFL does seeding. Say we lock in all 4 division winners as playoff teams but could theoretically slot the Wild Card teams anywhere from #2 through #6. What would that have done to Week 17 of the NFL season.

The New Orleans Saints and Chicago Bears would have played meaningful football this weekend because both teams would have been playing for that #2 seed in the NFC. The Saints almost certainly would have played Colston and a few others who sat out to rest up for the playoffs.

The Eagles would have been locked into the 4 seed behind Atlanta, New Orleans and Chicago, so they would have sat everyone still.

The Jets and Chiefs would have been competing for a 1st round home game. If both won they would have gone head to head in a tie breaker (edge Jets). If both lost they would have gone head to head with the Colts in a tie breaker (edge Jets/Colts into big tie-breaker).

By keeping the division winner involved in the playoffs, the Seahawks vs. Rams game would still have been meaningful.

The Result

Week 17 quite frankly has become one of the worst weeks of the NFL season. Sure there are games of utmost importance, Bears vs. Packers, Seattle vs. St. Louis, etc. but there are also a handful of games that are in effect glorified preseason games. As a result of allowing the seeding the be more fluid, not only do you get a fairer playoff system (7-9 Seattle hosting a playoff game is ludicrous, we can all agree to this), but you get teams in week 17 in most circumstances more likely to play their superstars. A scenario which I think we can all agree on.

Posted by Simon at 1:57 PM   Digg! submit to reddit BallHype: hype it up!


I wrote a similar piece, comparing Seattle in the playoffs to the Big East getting an automatic BCS bid.

As it turns out, Seattle won their home playoff game, fair or not.

I'm pretty sure Goodell will look at how the playoffs are set up but I wouldn't expect any drastic changes any time soon.

Sports Chump said...
10:21 AM  

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