Just when you got comfortable with the NFL’s playoff system (in place since 2002), the league has proposed a change starting in 2015. The playoff expansion has many supporters, including Jerry Jones. It makes sense that Jones would support an expansion, considering the Cowboys have been on the playoff bubble for the past three seasons.
But would expanding the playoffs be a good idea for the NFL? Let’s break it down by pros and cons.
Cynics will say the only reason the NFL is even considering expansion is because it’s a slave to the almighty dollar. And there is definitely some truth to that. The NFL keeps most of the money generated by playoff games as opposed to the teams involved.
This sounds like a league that just wants to milk a little more money out of fans to line the pockets of the commissioner and his merry crew of faceless suits. Keep in mind, however, that more money for the league means more money for team salary caps, which leads to more money for players.
Good teams in tough divisions get a shot
Last season, the Arizona Cardinals finished the season with a 10-6 record yet missed the playoffs because they were in the same division as the San Francisco 49ers and the eventual champion Seattle Seahawks. Meanwhile, the Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles all had chances to make the playoffs with worse records.
The extra expansion slot would have allowed the Cardinals to make it in and possibly make a run at the Super Bowl.
More football on television
Don’t act like you wouldn’t be excited to see yet another NFL playoff game on television. Anything to get out of raking leaves.
More wear and tear on players
For a league that has made player safety its No. 1 concern for the past few years, it doesn’t seem too concerned with adding an extra playoff game to the schedule. Regular-season games are intense and physical, but playoff games are a whole new level of crazy for players. There’s only so much a body can take.
A diluted field of trophy-worthy teams
Does anyone actually watch all of the college bowl games anymore? These days, it seems all you need to field a postseason college team is 11 people who are currently alive and can fit into football pants. The NFL hasn’t reached that level of ridiculousness yet, but another playoff game could allow a team with a .500 record into the tournament. That’s great news for Cowboys fans — but not so much for league integrity.
More football on television
You’ve got a good arrangement with your wife or husband right now. Add another playoff game, and the whole system could come tumbling down, and you’ll find yourself at Home Depot instead of watching the NFC championship game.
It’s a slippery slope between satisfying fans and overexposing your sport, but usually when a topic is discussed by NFL owners, it’s only a matter of time before it gets implements somehow. Fans should prepare for an expanded playoff schedule sooner rather than later.