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pf9

Revamping playoff seeding

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So, there's some precedent behind my proposals to expand the playoffs to 16 teams and completely removing the first-round bye, and removing seeding priority for division winners.

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How very NHL of them to change the format. There was nothing wrong with the NFL’s format. Just more fixing what isn’t broken. 

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Also, because the NHL had 12 playoff teams in each conference, to avoid the top 4 seeds in each conference either having a rest advantage or being rusty for the round of 16, those groups of 4 teams played a round robin with each other to determined who would actually be seeded 1-4 in each conference.

A 1 VS. 2 seeding game in each NFL conference would have been possible for the last 29 seasons, but not anymore starting this season.

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Last year, as an example, we never saw the Chiefs - Ravens matchup. Things happen.

But you increase the odds of "stuff happens" when you introduce more teams. 

One other poster had it right, too many teams in the playoffs cheapens what you did in the RS.

Yeah, I'm one of those old duffers that rued the day they expanded the 14 game to a 16 game schedule. Old. Angry. Grrrrr.

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2 hours ago, Split the Sticks said:

Last year, as an example, we never saw the Chiefs - Ravens matchup. Things happen.

But you increase the odds of "stuff happens" when you introduce more teams. 

One other poster had it right, too many teams in the playoffs cheapens what you did in the RS.

Yeah, I'm one of those old duffers that rued the day they expanded the 14 game to a 16 game schedule. Old. Angry. Grrrrr.

I want more things like that to happen. Top teams winning all the time isn't fun for me unless it is my team, the Packers (or my teams in any other league). If the Super Bowl starts to feature 1 VS. 1 matchups every year, unless a team I like is playing, I won't watch.

A 16-team playoff would not be as cheap if seeding priority for division winners was removed, which would make more teams fight to earn a particular seed, and thus discourage resting the regular players as much. A division leader battling it out for the #4 seed with a team not leading their division would be an example of this.

As I said earlier, sports would be boring if the top teams won all the time. Thank goodness for Cinderella teams.

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4 hours ago, Split the Sticks said:

Last year, as an example, we never saw the Chiefs - Ravens matchup. Things happen.

But you increase the odds of "stuff happens" when you introduce more teams. 

One other poster had it right, too many teams in the playoffs cheapens what you did in the RS.

Yeah, I'm one of those old duffers that rued the day they expanded the 14 game to a 16 game schedule. Old. Angry. Grrrrr.

I agree. Both in terms of the stakes for individual regular season games as well as the value of things like divisional titles or even making the playoffs X years in a row for teams who don't win the SB.

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4 hours ago, pf9 said:

As I said earlier, sports would be boring if the top teams won all the time. Thank goodness for Cinderella teams.

Ya, it would be boring, I suppose but we don't have that now. The upsets are common. (I won't list them, I'm sure you know)
so this just makes it less rare the top teams win. But whatever, we just have differing opinions. It's all good.

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The NFL's wonky playoff seeding is only a symptom of it's insane scheduling system that favors predictability and rigidity over entertainment or competitive fairness.

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On 10/4/2020 at 5:26 PM, pf9 said:

So, there's some precedent behind my proposals to expand the playoffs to 16 teams and completely removing the first-round bye, and removing seeding priority for division winners.

Yes and I said that once Goodell expanded it to 14. Why should only 1 team get a bye it should a 16 team affair with no byes.

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If 16 teams make it to the playoffs you would see a lot more teams resting starters the last 2-3 weeks even, regular season would be a complete joke.

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, TXsteeler said:

If 16 teams make it to the playoffs you would see a lot more teams resting starters the last 2-3 weeks even, regular season would be a complete joke.

You're assuming the seeding priority for division winners would remain.

If it was removed, more teams would actually play for seeding, and thus if they want a particular seed, they won't rest their starters.

Edited by pf9

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9 hours ago, pf9 said:

You're assuming the seeding priority for division winners would remain.

If it was removed, more teams would actually play for seeding, and thus if they want a particular seed, they won't rest their starters.

Who cares about seeding? If you can win the Superbowl the only thing stopping you is injured starters, not other teams.

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Rob Manfred has said that MLB would likely keep their 16-team postseason beyond this year.

This would make the NFL the only league with a postseason that has fewer than 16 teams.

I have a feeling in 2031, when a new CBA would begin, that the playoffs would expand to 16 teams, and finally eliminate the first round bye, and give the NFL the same amount of playoff teams as the other big 4 leagues. But well before that, the seeding inequities need to be addressed, especially now that the Eagles currently lead the NFC East with a 1-2-1 record.

Under my proposal to eliminate seeding priority for division winners, the Eagles would have to have the 7th seed.

Remember, every year between 1933-1989, at least one division winner had to open the playoffs on the road in a given season. Until 1966, with the exception of some years where division tie-breaker games were played, there was only the NFL title game, and thus, one division winner opened - and at the same time, closed - their postseason on the road. This was also true in the AFL from 1960-68.

Every year from 1967-69, there were four division winners in the NFL, and two of them had to open on the road, and thus it was possible the NFL's representatives in Super Bowls II-IV would not have a true home postseason game before the Super Bowl.

Starting in 1970, there were 6 division winners in the NFL. A division winner in each conference was guaranteed to start the playoffs on the road, as there were only 8 playoff teams to start the decade, but seeding by record wouldn't come until later in the decade.

The playoffs expanded to 10 teams in 1978. Still one division winner, the #3 seed, had to open on the road. Though it was possible the #3 seed in a given conference could win the Super Bowl without ever having a home playoff game, it never happened. The 1989 season was the last time that a division winner had to start the playoffs on the road, as they expanded to 12 teams the next year and gave the #3 seed a home playoff game in the wild card round.

Given that some division winners finish with worse records than wild card teams, we are well overdue for another instance of a division winner having to open the playoffs on the road, which could very well happen if seeding priority for division winners was eliminated.

I feel the two best teams in a conference should have the opportunity to meet in the conference championship game, even if they are from the same division.

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Alright, in a 16-team bracket without seeding priority for division winners here is what each conference's top 8 seeds are now:

AFC:

1. Kansas City (higher SOV than Pittsburgh or Tennessee, higher point differential than Buffalo)
2. Buffalo (higher SOV than Pittsburgh or Tennessee)
3. Tennessee ((higher SOV than Pittsburgh)
4. Pittsburgh
5. Baltimore (better conference record than Indianapolis, beat Cleveland head-to-head)
6. Indianapolis (higher SOV than Cleveland)
7. Cleveland
8. New England (beat Las Vegas head-to-head)

NFC:

1. Green Bay (higher point differential than Seattle)
2. Seattle
3. LA Rams (better conference record than Tampa Bay, higher SOV than Chicago)
4. Chicago (better conference record than Tampa Bay)
5. Tampa Bay
6. New Orleans (better division record than Carolina, better conference record than Arizona who beat San Francisco head-to-head)
7. Carolina (beat Arizona head-to-head, Arizona in turn beat San Francisco head-to-head)
8. Philadelphia

As far as my proposed reverse mirror for round one games at 1 PM, only games in the Eastern and Central Time Zones would qualify. Right now any game in the AFC could be played in that window, but only two in the NFC: Philadelphia at Green Bay and Tampa Bay at Chicago. Thus, the latter two games would automatically be placed in Fox/FS1's reverse mirror slot. As of now, only two division leaders in the NFC would be guaranteed home playoff games under my proposal, and one division leader in the NFC would have no chance for a home postseason game.

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Posted (edited)

A major story that would have happened last year with a 16-team playoff bracket would have been the Broncos making the playoffs at 7-9 as the 8th seed in the AFC.

Through 12 weeks and 11 games, the Broncos stood at 3-8, tied for the third-worst record in the NFL at the time, and 3 games out of a playoff spot.

But the Broncos rallied to win 4 of their final 5 games behind new starting QB Drew Lock. They would have clinched the #8 seed in the AFC by virtue of tiebreakers over Oakland (who they beat in the final game), Indianapolis, and the Jets. Of course they would probably have been thrashed by the Ravens in the first round.

Edited by pf9

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