Sep 23, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones on the field prior to the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Cowboys Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Hey Cowboys! Want To Play In The Playoffs? Earn It!

Dallas Cowboys owner and general Jerry Jones has indicated that he is in favor of expanding the current twelve-team playoff system to fourteen.  If that were to occur, the Cowboys would have a better chance to make the playoffs, even if they had an 8-8 season, depending upon the scenario.

For many fans, that would be great news as they would be able to claim that the team had finally stopped it’s playoff drought that followed the 2009 season.  If the new playoff scenario were presented a couple of seasons ago, the ‘Boys would be playoff contenders at least one of the last three 8-8 seasons.

If you want your team in the playoffs that bad, here’s a simple solution—earn it!
For some fans, it would be a way to see the playoffs being watered down to allow more teams in.  Allowing more teams in the playoffs is fine, but do they deserve it?  Would the NFL get to the point of the University Interscholastic League (UIL), the governing body of high school athletic sports in Texas has?  UIL allows up to four teams from a district go to the playoffs.  So a team with a losing record could make it to the playoffs despite the fact that they lost more than they won?


Again, will the NFL water down the playoffs so much to the point that teams with a 6-10 record or worse could make the postseason? In the history of allowing more teams in the playoffs, I have personally seen teams with a 2-8 record make the postseason.  Do I feel like they have deserved to go that far after only winning two games?  Not a chance.  How would high ranking teams that winning records look at the state title if a team that didn’t have a winning record were to ever win it all? Some football teams may start the season slow and lose a few games then hit their stride.  Some may lose a few more than anticipated and still hit a late-season stride.  Does it make it right for a team in the professional ranks?

Jones seems to think that allowing more teams in the playoffs is okay and would support it.

“I think it’s more a question of timing, but I do get a real good feeling that at some point, we’ll have additional playoff (teams),” Jones said Monday afternoon. “I know we’re going to discuss it here. It makes a lot of sense for the NFL. We all know some of the arguing points, but our game is so popular, our league is so equal in terms of how teams compete. I don’t think there’s anything watered down with two additional teams that would be in the playoffs.”

For this fan, it would water the NFL down even with adding just two teams.  If you want your team in the playoffs that bad, here is a simple solution—earn it!  Teams that make it to the playoffs should have winning records, it is the reward for a well-played season.  It isn’t often now that a team with a losing record gets into the postseason. And when it does, it happens to lose rather quickly in the playoffs.  Another reason that Jones and the other NFL owners will approve this move is the bottom line.  The more games they can get broadcasted and be able to host at their stadiums, the more money in their pockets.  For true football fans, it is not about the money, but about the game and the right to represent their team in the playoffs.  That is what a winning team deserves.

Next Cowboys Game View full schedule »
Saturday, Aug 2323 Aug7:00at Miami DolphinsBuy Tickets

Tags: 12 Teams 14 Teams Dallas Cowboys Jerry Jones NFL Playoff Format Playoffs

  • SmartThinking

    Right on, Jeff! I’m a vocal proponent of leaving the playoffs like they are. In fact, I’m in favor of removing at least two teams from the playoff spectrum so only the best of the best make it to the post season with one week’s rest in between.

    This playoffs expansion business is just another gimmick in a long list of Circus Maximus ploys big Jones has offered to get more butts in his stadium seats and more dollars into his personal pockets. It’s a meaningless endeavor for teams like Dallas who perennially finish 8-8. They always get killed in the first game. What’s elite about that?

    The playoffs should be about the best teams moving on to a legitimate race for the SB. Not a revenue-generating device for greedy owners of mediocre teams to use to finagle a way into the post season through the back door … or by slithering under it.

  • Question

    I agree with your basic thoughts, but carried to the max, you get playoffs where the 12 teams with best records are in, regardless of division or conference records. Division winners don’t go unless they have a top 12 record across the league. Just the best 12 teams period.
    This won’t happen so that division rivalries will keep fans attending (even if your division is lousy). I think some soccer leagues work this way and the NBA is close. What are your thoughts?

    • SmartThinking

      If I may ask a couple of questions — (1.) then why have divisions within each conference at all if the 12 best teams from each conference make the playoffs? (2.) How would you seed those 12 playoff teams? Worst against the next worst, etc., right on up to the two best fighting it out for the Lombardi trophy? Or the best within each conference fight it out and the best from each conference face each other in the SB? (3.) What about during the regular season? Will all teams play teams from both conferences? Or will conference teams play only teams within their individual conference so every year, every team in a conference plays every other team within their conference?

      From this fan’s perspective, it might be interesting to see Dallas play every other NFC team every year and the five best go the the post season. Where it gets sticky for me is how you sort it all out from there. It also adds legitimacy to whoever the five best are without messing up the post season format.

      • Question

        Personally, I think the divisions only serve the league’s purpose of trying to create rivalries. To a certain extent I think this works, but some of the best rivalries are between teams in different divisions who have a playoff history against one another. Beyond that, I don’t really see the need for divisions in determining who goes to the playoffs.

        As far as seeding is concerned, I would say the best team is seeded against the worst, the second best team against the second worst, and so on. The NCAA basketball bracketing manages this reasonably well with 64 teams.

        During the regular season my preference would be to see each team play the largest possible variety of opposition each year, not playing the same team twice in any given season. If conferences help the competition, keep them. Problems will arise when you have one conference that only has 1 or 2 good teams when the other conference has 10 to 12 of top quality, like the NBA does now.

        I’m sure others have different ideas which are just as valid as or better than anything I put down here. The key goal is simply to have the best 12 teams in the league in or the playoffs by, as you say, earning it.

        It’s almost worthless for me to conjecture like this, given that the league would never do anything of this nature. There are certain cities and teams that would likely never, or seldom, make the playoffs if they had to be one of the top 12 teams in the league. Nonetheless, it’s kind of fun to think about.

        • SmartThinking

          As you say, it’s an interesting idea to toss around inside a vacuum. But, also as you note, nothing like what you’re suggesting will ever be implemented by the NFL team owners. They’re too greedy and territorial.

          To me, the division champions serve a purpose. There’s a discipline there that I like and feel comfortable with. And, eight games playing inside one’s division is difficult enough for most teams. Personally, I don’t even like NFC teams playing AFC teams during the regular season as they are just throw-away games given the current format and do nothing to elevate a team’s winning percentage towards making the playoffs. In fact, in most cases, those games invariably work against a team struggling to make the Wild Card.

          I would, however, certainly like to see each NFC team play every other NFC team each season with the ultimate winner facing the equivalent AFC winner in the Super Bowl. That’s the way it used to be back in the Neolithic Period right after the American Football League merged with the NFL.

          In a format where every NFC team plays every other NFC team each season, fans would get to see real match-ups that have every game meaning something towards their conference’s post season.

          The draft could be handled just as it is, the team with the worst record drafting first, and so on, and so on.

  • Greg Hill

    Great article Jeff. Why is it that it’s always the one who can’t measure up that wants to change things. How about out working, out thinking or out playing your competition. Change the rules or laws because your lazy or incompetent. True competition always weeds out the weak and in this case the cowboys are the ones being weeded out. I suggest that if JJ wants to be in the playoffs to go and buy a ticket.