Many will complain about the NFL changing its playoff structure, but it’s adding two playoff games and a ton of importance on being the No. 1 seed.
Are you ready for some more football?
The NFL is preparing to change its playoff format for the first time since 1990, adding a seventh team to each conference’s tournament. The other massive difference is only one bye per conference, putting added importance on the No. 1 seed.
While there will be complaints about change, everyone will be a huge fan come December. This is especially true of fans with teams sitting at 7-7, hoping to sneak into the dance. More teams are going to be involved in the chase for the postseason in Weeks 16 and 17, and interest across the board is always a net positive for fans and the league alike.
Additionally, who won’t be happy about having a tripleheader on both days of Wild Card Weekend? It’s a major win for commissioner Roger Goodell and Co., who will now package and sell two more playoff games to the networks. As for the players, it’s another check (even if it means another game for the seventh seeds).
It’s easy to bellyache about new, different ideas. There’s comfort in the normal. Of course, nobody complaining about the extra playoff teams will be ignoring the games come January, and the NFL is well aware of that fact.
In some years, the seventh team added will be a speedbump for the true contenders. Last year, we would have had Duck Hodges coming to Arrowhead Stadium for a showdown with the Kansas City Chiefs. Yikes.
However, some of those teams will be able to make waves. Last year’s NFC team would have been the Los Angeles Rams. Is there real doubt they could have given the Green Bay Packers a good game at Lambeau Field?
Finally, let’s not clutch pearls. The league has always been open to changing its playoff format. In 1967, the league expanded from two teams to four, having conference championship games for the first time. In 1970, following the merger, eight teams made the postseason with each conference having four squads participate.
In 1978, a second wild card was added, giving the playoffs a full four rounds. In 1990, we got a sixth team for each conference, which held true until now. It’s going to be fine.
Ultimately, it’s more NFL football. It’s a reason to sit down with friends and buy pizza, crack open some brews and enjoy two more win-or-go-home affairs.