The NFL’s competition committee is considering an absolutely horrible idea:
“I think it’s a very bad idea,” Broncos owner Pat Bowlen said about the proposal, according to the Denver Post. “Especially when you’re in a competitive division,” Bowlen said. “It can be tough to have a good record when you have so many tough teams in your division. In my mind, the AFC West is a very competitive division. The fans are into the rivalries that exist in our division.”
Under the current proposal, teams No. 3 through No. 6 would be seeded in round one of the playoffs without regard to whether they won their division. The controlling factor would be the teams’ won-loss records.
First, if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. There’s nothing wrong with the NFL playoffs, and eliminating the tradition and importance of the NFL divisions in order to have theoretically more competitive first-round games is simply stupid. There’s no guarantee that the games would be any more competitive anyhow, all this would do is eliminate the importance of winning your division and reduce the rivalry effect.
Does anyone doubt that the Seattle-St. Louis rivalry is more interesting now because they’re in the same division, even though there is no historical rivalry between the two teams? I certainly don’t pay any attention to Tampa Bay now since they’re no longer a threat to beat out the Vikings for the NFC Central, although I will readily admit that they never belonged in the old Black-and-Blue in the first place and I was glad to see them go to the NFC South.
The NFL’s four-division alignment was a great move, and it would be a shame to see them reduce the effect of establishing some good geographic rivalries for nothing. Teams that survive tough divisional battles should be rewarded, not penalized.