NFL Column: Keep playoffs status quo

The NFL spring meeting convenes next week and the league's influential competition committee has voted unanimously against expanding the number of playoff teams, a recommendation that figures to scuttle the initiative according to an ESPN.com report.

 

Will the NFL owners please do the right thing and vote down the proposal to expand the playoffs?

            That viewpoint may draw the ire from TV networks that want more revenue. There's nothing wrong with being capitalistic but the last thing the NFL needs is to turn its postseason into the NBA, where the playoff field is watered down like a Budweiser flatter than yesterday's Frisbee.

            The NFL spring meeting convenes next week and the league's influential competition committee has voted unanimously against expanding the number of playoff teams, a recommendation that figures to scuttle the initiative according to an ESPN.com report.

The web site added that owners will assemble in Philadelphia next Tuesday and Wednesday and, on an agenda steeped with financial issues that are of scant interest to fans, the debate and likely vote on a proposal to expand from 12 playoff teams to 14 is the marquee item.

The proposal requires a vote of three-quarters of the league membership, or 24 of the 32 owners, to implement key rules changes. The issue of expanding the playoff pool was debated, but then tabled, at the annual league meetings at Phoenix two months ago.

            Let's look at simple mathematics. There are 32 NFL teams who have 16 games to achieve one of the 12 available playoff berths (six per conference). That's not a perfect formula but still acceptable. Expanding the field to 14 teams, however, would water the field down and diminish the achievement of qualifying for the postseason.

 

            Now, let's look at Major League Baseball and the NBA. Many baseball purists scoffed when the league, which consists of 30 teams, expanded from four playoff spots to eight. However, wild card teams in baseball have seldom been first-round road kill. Look at last year's World Series – the San Francisco Giants and Anaheim Angels were wild card teams. Therefore, in baseball it still means something to reach the postseason.

 

            Look at the NBA. There are 29 teams who play 82 games to achieve 16 playoff spots. That means an NBA team really has to stink not to make the playoffs. Plus, the No. 8 seed seldom goes the distance against a top seed. Therefore, it diminishes the achievement of reaching the postseason.

 

            Memo to NFL owners: Do the humane thing and vote down playoff expansion before we start getting 6-10 teams making the playoffs.

 

Vince D'Adamo can be reached via e-mail at vdad7@yahoo.com


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