Feb 6, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Detail view of the Vince Lombardi Trophy during the Super Bowl most valuable player and winning head coach press conference at the Super Bowl XLVI media center at the J.W. Marriott. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE

Views from the Loon: Scrap the NFL Regular Season and Get to the Playoffs!

What a ridiculous notion!  Scrap 16 regular season games, do away with fantasy football leagues, skip four months of NFL football, and give up millions – no – billions of dollars in revenue.  Of course that would never happen, but when you look at the two Super Bowl XLVI opponents, or at least ONE of them, (rhymes with “pliants”), then why not?   Much like the NCAA Division 1 bowl game system where 110 of the 120 teams play in bowl games, medicority ends up winning.  Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  Good for the little guy!  The New York Giants just won the Super Bowl with a 9-7 regular season record (they did not make the playoffs with a 10-6 record in 2010.)

So, think about this: Do you think the regular season matters that much in the NFL?  Is it all about championships?

A team cannot get to the playoffs with just a few wins, but there was one team (rhymes with “froncos”) who went with a .500 record. Two 9-7 teams, three 10-6 teams, then the rest with 12 or more wins participated in this season’s playoffs.  Towards the end of the regular season, there were teams vying for a spot in the playoffs, but they had quite a few losses.  Is it possible teams were pacing themselves – or gasp! – tanking games on purpose?   I can think of one particular game (teams that rhyme with “towboys” and “iggles”) where that actually happened.  When Jerry Jones learned that in an earlier Christmas eve game, the arch rival (those dreaded “pliants”) had just beat the New York Jets, he called off the dogs and made a lot of the starters sit or see little of the field.  He, and he alone, decided that the Dallas Cowboys did not NEED to win the game.

Having been on vacation in Italy at the time, I could only sit in my hotel room and watch the ranting and raving via friends’ Facebook postings.  They were LIVID, to say the least.  The fans, especially on a day when they should have been home with their families celebrating the birth of Jesus, they were sitting in Jerry World (and boy did THAT moniker never ring more true), cheering on their Cowboys.  They deserved to see a competitive game and a chance to redeem an earlier loss against this team.  Pardon me for my digression…….

It seems that it is the NFL, or maybe its the media pundits, who care about that ONE game versus the sixteen regular season games.  Sports announcers usually talk about the championship game, who they expect to go and who might get to go.  They focus on those teams who are leading the pack, but spend very little time on the teams who have no shot.  So, if a team starts out at 0-6, unless they go on a hot streak, they are never to be heard of again. Shouldn’t their fans get to hear about their team, despite having no shot at the championship?  That’s what the regular season is about, right?  Apparently not.

Here is a look at what’s happened recently.  The Super Bowl XLV champion, Green Bay Packers – who were EXPECTED to be in Super Bowl XLVI and possibly win it all, again, won as a six seed with a 10-6 regular season record and whipped the 12-4 Pittsburgh Steelers.  In Super Bowl XLIII, the Arizona Cardinals made it with a 9-7 record, but lost to the Steelers in a close contest.  A sixth seed Giants team won Super Bowl XLII by beating the 16-0 New England Patriots.  My point – unless you are a die-hard football fanatic who watches every single game, then you only care about YOUR team making it to the big game each year.  So scrap the regular season and get to the playoffs!

Below are the 2011-2012 playoff teams (in order of who most recently won):

  • Team                      Playoff seed          Regular season          W/L %
    New York Giants           4 seed               9-7                              .563
    New England Patriots  1 seed            13-3                              .813
    Baltimore Ravens         2 seed            12-4                              .750
    San Francisco 49ers    2 seed            13-3                              .813
    Houston Texans            3 seed            10-6                              .625
    Green Bay Packers       1 seed            15-1                              .938
    New Orleans Saints     3 seed            13-3                              .813
    Denver Broncos            4 seed               8-8                              .500
    Pittsburg Steelers         5 seed             12-4                             .750
    Atlanta Falcons              5 seed             10-6                             .625
    Cincinnati Bengals       6 seed               9-7                              .563
    Detroit Lions                  6 seed             10-6                              .625

As my good friend and fellow writer, Kevin Prusia, suggested this topic, he also spewed out this little gem,

 “The Giants won, but they just bought a ticket to NFL semi-immortality is all.”

Calm down and put down the pitchforks and torches.  It’s not ever going to happen, at least shortening the season, but it does seem like regular season records do not matter any more.  The longer the regular season, the more meaningless become the games.  If you watch soccer (what they call “football” in other countries), aren’t there something like 300 games?  Who freaking cares after the 50th?   But with the NFL, even 12 games might not be a bad thing.  Less injuries, longer player shelf life, but less of the almighty dollar, which, technically, drives everything.  Wrapping this up before you all send me packing for suggesting such a travesty, in the end it all plays out exactly as it should.  Someone’s favorite team makes it and wins and if they don’t, you look forward to the next season.  And if you’re like me, you HAVE to join a fantasy football league or life will cease to exist.

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