Disclaimer #1: I know this has been written about many times already, but I'm weighing in late. Tough.
Disclaimer #2: This is about sports. Although I try to make it understandable for all, if you're not a sports fan, you may not want to read.
Disclaimer #3: This is not a slam against the Seattle Seahawks. Not at all. Really. Just a rant about a broken system
If you're an NFL fan, then you probably had an interesting weekend's worth of wildcard playoff games to watch. Ravens trounce the Chiefs, Packers eke it out against the Eagles, perennial powerhouse Colts lose, defending Super Bowl champion Saints bite it. Wow, it was a fun one.
It has to do with the Seattle Seahawks who are in the NFL playoffs as the champion of the NFC West division. I know I'm going to catch a lot of flack as a lot of my friends are either from or currently live in and around the greater Seattle-Tacoma area (apparently I have an inordinate number of friends from the area), but I'm going to say it anyway. Why the hell are the Seahawks in the playoffs in the first place?
By way of very briefly explaining the situation to the non-sports inclined readers, the NFL is divided into two conferences - the National Football Conference (NFC) and the American Football Conference (AFC) - and each of these is further subdivided into four divisions. With how the NFL currently structures their playoff system, the team with the top record in each division goes into the playoffs automatically and then the top two teams of the entire remaining pool in each conference make it in as "wild cards." Four rounds of games then occur, which lead to the crowning of a Super Bowl Champion.
For those who don't know, the Seahawks finished their regular season 7-9. That's seven wins to nine losses. It's a losing record. Sure, they were the champion of the NFC West division, and they proved their playoff mettle by beating down the defending champion New Orleans Saints, but THEY HAVE A LOSING RECORD!!
What I'm proposing is that all teams in the NFC and AFC should just be set up in one giant mass cluster when the end of the season is nigh. Then the top six teams in each conference would make the playoffs. The matchups can remain the same with the top two teams getting a bye through the first week of games while the numbers three and four overall teams would have to play the numbers five and six (wild card) teams in the first round.
How would this change what's happening this year?
This year's NFC playoffs featured the Atlanta Falcons, Chicago Bears, Seattle Seahawks, and Philadelphia Eagles as the divisional champs. The two wild card teams were the Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints. The top two teams, given my proposed redesign, would be the Atlanta Falcons (13-3, 414 PF) and New Orleans Saints (11-5, 384 PF) instead of the Falcons and Bears (See? It even negatively affects my team) based on final record and total points for (the "PF" in the parenthetical inclusions - refers to the cumulative total points a team scored throughout the season). The final four teams in the NFC playoffs would be the Chicago Bears (11-5, 334 PF), Philadelphia Eagles (10-6, 439 PF), New York Giants (10-6, 394 PF) and Green Bay Packers (10-6, 388 PF). Next on the list would've been the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with the same record as most of the playoff teams at 10-6 but they had only 341 PF. Regardless, though, the teams in the playoffs all would have had winning records.
This has been a sticking point in most major sports for quite a while. Why should a team with a better record than a divisional champ not be allowed to play in the playoffs? But it's even more of a sore thumb this season solely because one of the playoff teams has a losing record and, to me at least, that makes the league look a bit whack.
I know you Seahawks fans are going to hate me now for writing this, but what about down the line when your team is second place in your division with a good record, but loses out in the same manner that both the Giants and Bucs lost out this year? You won't be complaining then if the playoff determination system is operating the way it truly should and pits the best of the best against each other for the championship, would you?
I really just don't think this is right. I know there is nothing we can do about it this season, but maybe it can be revised in the very near future.
The cruise is officially paid off.
A couple months from now, we're hitching a JetBlue flight (and I promise to be exceedingly wonderful to all the in-flight staff) to NYC for a brief layover and then continuing on to Miami where we will spend the night and board the next morning for a seven-day cruise through the eastern Caribbean, including Grand Turk, Nassau, St. Thomas, and San Juan.
I am soooo looking forward to this. So is Katie. It will be good. Very good.