In sports, there are few inevitable occurances on the field. Bodies break down over time with some consistency. Technology slowly replaces fallible human officiating. Players become marginally better generation to generation.
Off the field, things happen pretty damn predictably. That’s because it all about money. Things will change however they need to in order to ensure more revenue for everyone.
That’s why it’s no surprise that Rodger Goodell recently said “it’s possible that the playoffs, set at 12 teams since 1990, can be expanded for the 2015 season at the earliest.” So it’s worth discussing what a 14-team playoff would look like, and if it’s a good idea for fans and players alike. Here are five reasons it’s a sure fire win/win.
1) It’s better than extending the regular season — which is also on the table. I’m a Giants fan. If their season had to go on a game or two longer than it needed, I’d throw my television out the window. In reality, a handful of teams are shoo-ins for the playoffs, while 15 or so fight it out for the ten or so remaining spots. That leaves eight, nine, or ten teams — like the 2013 Giants and Jaguars — to play out their season like a wounded animal limping into the woods to die. If anything, make the season shorter for these teams that don’t need to be putting players health at risk for meaningless games, and begin the one and done tournament for those who have a chance at playing exciting, meaningful football.
2) The last few teams to win the Super Bowl have been underdogs, which has resulted in more interesting, compelling playoff runs. More underdogs = better post season. The Ravens were 10-6, the Giants the year before were 9-7, and the Packers the year before that were 10-6. With an 14-team expanded playoff system, you’d have two extra wild card teams who would make things more interesting for fans of football, generally, and give their fans a legitimate shot at winning a Super Bowl. More teams = more parity. More parity = more exciting football for all football fans.
3) The league could recoup some of that money they had to shell out for the concussion settlement to former players. $765M might not seem like a lot relative to the popularity of the sport, but when you factor in salaries for NFL bigwigs like Rodger Goodell ($29M per year), you realize that the league has some pretty hefty bills to pay each month. An expanded playoff system would bring in more money by adding an extra game — plain and simple. Despite teams generally losing money during the post season, the league itself manages to makes money on account of the socialist model they operate on, syphoning revenue from ticket sales, skimming off the top, and then redistributing among the league.
4) Playoff football is better football. Adding an extra game is like adding an round to an Ali/Frazier fight. Everyone wants to see more classics. And everyone loves to give Tony Romo more opportunities to lose in the first round. This way, he could make the playoffs at 9-7, and lose to the 8-8 Panthers EVERY SINGLE SEASON! That’d be awesome…
5) You would have more teams in contention for a playoff spot, which would make the regular season more interesting. Fewer teams would tank. Fewer teams would trade away their legends for draft picks five games into the season (like the Falcons are rumored to be contemplating with Tony Gonzalez). You’d have more miraculous turn-arounds, where teams could still manage to win a Super Bowl after starting 0-5. Once again, did I mention I’m a Giants fan?