We’re less than two weeks away from everybody kvetching about the NFC South “champion” hosting a playoff game, and the League office is nipping it in the bud by implying changes will be coming in the future (and pairing those alterations with something else they want, obviously). Chris Mortensen reported yesterday:
Roger Goodell said last week that the league will vote in March to expand the playoff field from 12 to 14 teams in 2015 and, with that, several league sources believe playoff reseeding will become a reality. One formula that will be discussed in the offseason is that in addition to first-round byes for the teams with the best record in the AFC and NFC, two divisional champions in each conference will get home games and the remaining 8 teams will be seeded by win-loss record.
It’s just like the NFL to pretend that fixing the longstanding necessity of re-seeding could not possibly get done without also expanding the field. Roger Goodell has been on the record for months about 14-team playoffs, so that part of the idea isn’t new. From the League’s purposes, not only would there be two extra games to auction off to their television partners at exorbitant rates (or put on their own network), but more teams would also be in playoff contention later into the season.
It would also increase the chance that teams eke into the playoffs at 8-8, and potential randomness thereafter. While you can say that a no. 2 seed who can’t beat a .500 team at home does not deserve to advance to the second round, the fact remains that you’re putting less of a premium on the body of work in the regular season by yanking away their bye.
With the sloppy Thursday night games and unconscionable continued calls for an 18-game season, the NFL has already shown that it is eager to dilute its product for short-term profits. Eventually, they may come to realize that they’ve bled the golden goose dry.