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Sunday, January 04, 2015

NFL Playoffs: Wildcard round

I felt rather sorry for the Cardinals. I have no doubt they would have won with even a journeyman starter, but it's a little tough to generate offense with a 4th-stringer. As for the Steelers, it's obviously time for Polamalu to retire. I don't know why the media is always down on Flacco; he may not be Manning, Brady, or Rodgers, but you can obviously win a Super Bowl with him.

The Bengals are similarly overmatched. They're playing hard, but I can't see them coming back against the Colts. The only game I'm even all that interested in is Detroit-Dallas. I can't help but notice that no one is clamoring for an expanded playoffs considering how bad the first-round matchups have been this year.

As for the Super Bowl, New England beating Seattle as the last hurrah of Brady and Belichick is my prediction.

Labels:

100 Comments:

Blogger Johan January 04, 2015 3:44 PM  

The NFL playoff format is perfect. No reason to expand it or change it in the least. I am hoping that the NFL carries through with narrowing the goalposts. Field goals have become too automatic.

Blogger Nate January 04, 2015 3:45 PM  

Maybe the matchups have been bad because the NFL does the dumb division champion thing that you so obsessively defend.

I cannot help but note that there are much better teams sitting home today while the pathetic Panthers still playing.

Blogger Vincent Castrillo January 04, 2015 3:46 PM  

I've been thinking much same thing as to the Super Bowl except in reverse. I think the NFC is particularly weak this year and Seattle will have no trouble beating Carolina and then Dal/GB at home to get to the Super Bowl. On the other hand the Pats will have to survive Baltimore and then Denver before shifting gears to a style of D they have never seen before.

Seattle over NE by 10 sounds about right.

As for the wildcard round, it's been pretty boring. Pitt didn't quite live up to the game it was in and man is Carolina bad if it was close until the 4th with the non-offense Arizona had by that point. No RBs and the worst QB in the playoffs ever? Seattle might rest starters at this point when Carolina comes.

Blogger Nate January 04, 2015 3:48 PM  

"The NFL playoff format is perfect."

Perfect... and yet we're watching crappy teams play while good teams are at home.

Blogger Johan January 04, 2015 3:50 PM  

The only team that I'd want to see play is the Eagles. Next week will have awesome games.

Blogger Vincent Castrillo January 04, 2015 3:54 PM  

Nate, you know we go over that every year and those on VD's side don't want convincing. lol

My Saints were 7-9 and missed out by the Carolina tie. Did they deserve a spot? Nope and neither does a Carolina team that started 3-8-1. Seriously 3-8-1. They were talking about benching Newton and playing out the side at one point....

But I can still take at least the concept of division winners getting to go the playoffs for a myriad of reasons. What I cannot except is that these stains for teams get a home game bonus and seeding preference for simply being the op of a crap division. It's silly. There is no reason Carolina shouldn't have gone to Dallas. Nor Seattle to New Orleans in 2010/11.

None. How are Carolina fans harmed by this? How is this not perfectly fair to all? Every time this happens, the media says oh it's a one of but it happens almost every two or three years now. The NFCSouth stunk this year. The Saints didn't care for much of the season cause they knew they were going to sneak in but popped the bed I the end. The Panthers were 3-8-1!!! These teams don't deserve anything, much less a gift wrapped playoff home game.

Blogger Nate January 04, 2015 3:54 PM  

but that's the point. We're watching carolina... and what we should be watching...is philly. And no...I'm not a philly fan.

Blogger Nate January 04, 2015 3:56 PM  

"What I cannot except is that these stains for teams get a home game bonus and seeding preference for simply being the op of a crap division."

PREACH!

11-6 Arizona... playing at shitty Carolina?

Its damned idiotic.

Blogger Nate January 04, 2015 3:57 PM  

This is easily fixed. Division winners only get automatic bids IF they have a winning record. If not.. it goes to the team with the best record.

And the seeding should be done by record and record only.

Blogger Vincent Castrillo January 04, 2015 4:07 PM  

Johan--
"Next week will have awesome games."

That just proves the point. We have to wait for the wildcard weekend to be over for the "lottery winners" to be scrubbed from the postseason before the real games begin. And even then, since you give a home playoff game to garbage division winners, even the divisional can be so-so. How high does the line need be in the SEA-CAR game before you think of fading Car??

That game will be turned off nationwide at half time.

The wildcard is a lottery win for several teams each year. Not the best, but whomever gets the luck of the tie breaker, etc. Three teams made the playoff from the AFC North. Why do you think that is?? Could their 8 games vs. the NFC South and AFC South have helped?? What about Baltimore who went.500 in its conference? Carolina is in because of divisions.

It's not the best or even most deserving that get in for this round, it's luck and league contrivance. The NFC South should have been incentivized to play harder or have their season be basically done by week 12. Instead they got to goof around and suck for the whole season and play who can win two in a row at the end gets a home playoff game.
I still don't know how this is defensible?!! And to so many people.

Anonymous Daniel January 04, 2015 4:09 PM  

No, it isn't. Winning the division has to mean something, even if every once in a while a terrible team gets home field in the Wild Card.

Esp. this year, Arizona was remarkably good, but finally degenerated into a 4th-string team by the playoffs. Yes, Carolina sucked. So did Arizona. A good team would have torched the Panthers on their home field.

You have solution in search of a problem.

My only objection is that they have to have two non-division winners make it to Wild Card. I'm okay with the Wild Card ensuring that the most brutal division could conceivably have a handicapped 11-win team be given a punchers chance...but two non-division winners waters it down.

It would be better to have 4 division winners, with (in this case) Carolina getting penalized by having to play the Wild Card winner at home, and the other three teams getting a bye until next weekend. 2 games on Sunday for the Wild Card.

Anonymous Nate2 January 04, 2015 4:13 PM  

soccer is gay

Blogger Eric Wilson January 04, 2015 4:16 PM  

And, right on cue.

Although I'm not a fan of a 14 team playoff.

Anonymous Daniel January 04, 2015 4:18 PM  

Teams can't play everyone. Barring a BCS format, having divisional pennants is the best way to ensure that the best three teams will make it in, with a decent shot at the best four teams making it in if you include the Wild Cards. Some years, the fourth-best team or even third-best team get shut out, but it isn't often.

Attempting to seed by conference would be idiotic. No one plays the same schedule, so it would all be computer rankings and chatter at the end of the season that would determine "the best" 4-6 teams per conference.

Incentive for the NFC south this year would have been my above scenario. Eliminate a Wild Card team and the problem is solved.

Anonymous The Gray Man January 04, 2015 4:18 PM  

Nate, I'm wondering what your opinion is on the better team who are at home. There aren't many with very good records that got left out of the playoffs. It's rare that one of the better teams gets left out. If you want to get into the playoffs, win your damn divisional games. It's not that hard of a concept.

Blogger Vincent Castrillo January 04, 2015 4:19 PM  

Daniel--- "You have solution in search of a problem."

B.S. and by your own words no less. You say essentially everything is fine, but it's really not and here is what I would do to fix it, despite me dismissing in the preceding paragraph those who would want to fix anything. Ugh.

Anonymous Daniel January 04, 2015 4:27 PM  

No, Vincent. You are- unsurprisingly- reading it wrong.

The Solution in search of a problem is fiddling with division champions. The actual problem is that too many teams get in.

Save your sighs for the fainting couch.

Anonymous ENthePeasant January 04, 2015 4:34 PM  

For the love of God and Country, we need more 8 and 8, or less, teams in the playoffs. It will generate more revenues for shit games, and if you like the NFL that seems to be the goal. I think I'd rather be gang raped by syphilitic Afghan heroin addicts than watch what took place yesterday. You can't get that time back. If the NFL isn't dying is should be.

Blogger YIH January 04, 2015 4:38 PM  

I felt rather sorry for the Cardinals. Same here, the coach said post-game ''it wasn't the injuries'' but yes it was. The team simply fell apart. The Panthers are better than their record, they have to run the table in Dec. to get where they were and they did. They'll lose next week, but I wasn't at all surprised that they beat the Cards.
As for Detroit-Dallas the question is ''Will Ndamukong Suh be going for Romo's back every chance he gets? And will he succeed?''

Anonymous Daniel January 04, 2015 4:45 PM  

Yeah, it was the injuries. I was really looking forward to the Cards being a lot of fun in the playoffs. That was a tough team that deserves to be on an All-Time Also Ran List (with the multi-year Oilers, the 70s Vikings and the 89-92 Bills), even though it achieved the least of them, just for the season they had. The 74 steelers would have been there too, had they not made it to and won the Super Bowl!

Holy smoke. Golden Tate must be a zombie, cause that hit killed him.

Blogger Eric Wilson January 04, 2015 4:48 PM  

And then the touchdown!

Anonymous FUBAR Nation Ben January 04, 2015 4:52 PM  

Didn't you predict NE winning a few years back?

Anonymous FUBAR Nation Ben January 04, 2015 4:53 PM  

I wish Kurt Warner came out of retirement to lead the Cardinals. Would've been one hell of a run.

Anonymous Daniel January 04, 2015 4:57 PM  

I wish Kurt Warner came out of retirement to lead the Cardinals. Would've been one hell of a run.

Honestly, Tim Tebow out of retirement probably could have got them past the Seahawks and into a bye week. If not, he would have gotten a lot more than 90 yards of offense yesterday.

Blogger frigger611 January 04, 2015 5:56 PM  

Ugggh. I am a native Cincinnatian. I was hoping that today would end 24 years of no-playoff wins misery. Not to be. Again.

It's time for a change. Marvin Lewis has to go, the ridiculous cartoonish tigger uniforms need to go, and Mike Brown needs to exit, maybe learn how to tend a rose garden before the icy grip of...

But I doubt any of it will happen. After losing for a quarter century the motto will remain "stay the course." They really know how to fire up the troops.

Blogger bob k. mando January 04, 2015 6:19 PM  

Daniel January 04, 2015 4:27 PM
The actual problem is that too many teams get in.



true.

problem being, the only way you could have kept Carolina out would be to go back to 3 divisions. but Zona also proved they have no business in the post season either. 78 net yards on offense?

*facepalm*

the question is whether the Cardinals offense survives the flight back to AZ.



Vincent Castrillo January 04, 2015 3:54 PM
What I cannot except is that these stains for teams get a home game bonus and seeding preference for simply being the op of a crap division.



iirc, the NFL came close to doing this ( div winner at .500 or worse ) several times when they were still at 6 divisions. it's going to happen, and regularly, with 8.

the problem now is, you can't reasonably go back to 3 divisions per conference without killing two franchises.



Daniel January 04, 2015 4:57 PM
Honestly, Tim Tebow out of retirement probably could have got them past the Seahawks and into a bye week.



even better, the team would die for Tebow. you'd know that they didn't leave anything on the field due to half assed play.

but, we can't have an overtly Christian QB.


the Baltimore-Pitt game went pretty much the way i called it; Pitt's loss of their primary offensive production was too much of a hill to climb against a badass D.

Carolina blew up my Zona call ... but seriously. who expects a PRO offense to net <100 yards? AZ should have won, even with backups.

Cinci-Indy went as expected. Detwaa-Dallas looks like it's going my way as well.

Anonymous Jack Amok January 04, 2015 6:27 PM  

but Zona also proved they have no business in the post season either.

Sure, but they had a good record. It's just that they collapsed (mostly due to the QB fiasco) at the end of the season.

I'd go with two divisions of 8 teams each. Division winners get 1st round byes, and the next two teams in each division play Wildcard games (#2 in one division hosts #3 in the other and vice versa). Winners of the wildcard games play the division winners. 4-team divisions is just stupid.

Anonymous Billy January 04, 2015 6:41 PM  

Under Flaco the Ravens have made the playoffs six times and have always won at least their first game. Not to mention the super bowl win, yet he gets no respect.

Anonymous Billy January 04, 2015 6:46 PM  

Dalton has carried his team to the playoffs the four years he's been QB, while the fans and media proclaiming how terrible he is. Meanwhile we're told about all the upside of Geno Smith and RG3, supposedly the only thing holding them back is inferior coaching.

Anonymous Daniel January 04, 2015 6:50 PM  

two divisions? So, 14 games in division per year, and only 2 outside of the division, and no cross-conference games? That's a recipe for bottlenecking. The third and even fourth best team would be out of the playoffs way more than it is now. Just imagine if one of the divisions consisted entirely of the NFC South and West. You'd have Seattle and Arizona going in the weak division and having a combined total of zero victories against teams with a winning record.

You think people are whining now, just wait until the two division model is implemented!

Anonymous Jack Amok January 04, 2015 6:51 PM  

Meanwhile we're told about all the upside of Geno Smith and RG3,

Snort. Not on the sports talk/blogs I frequent. Geno Smith is universally considered a bum, and RG3 washed up with the leg injuries. That's an advantage of Fantasy Football - the guys covering it have a way lower BS level than the gosspi-columnists-with-eyeblack in mainstream coverage. If you're listening to a FF show, you don't care about human interest stories, you want to know if a guy can put up stats or not.

Anonymous guitarman January 04, 2015 6:52 PM  

I hate Baltimore against NE. They play NE well. Flaco is the real deal.

Anonymous Daniel January 04, 2015 6:55 PM  

Correction: fifth and even fourth best teams.

problem being, the only way you could have kept Carolina out would be to go back to 3 divisions.

I don't care one bit about keeping Carolina out. Win your division, you are in. I not only have no problem with that, I prefer that, and would like to get rid of Wild Card altogether.

Because I know that's not happening, I think a decent compromise is to take out one Wild Card winner and penalize the worst-performing division winner with a home Wild Card game. All other division winners get a bye.

Anonymous Jack Amok January 04, 2015 6:55 PM  

The third and even fourth best team would be out of the playoffs way more than it is now

I'm not sure I agree, but even if that were true, the 9th or 10th best team would be in the playoffs less often than now, and you wouldn't have sub-.500 teams making it either.

Anonymous Drew_Deuce's January 04, 2015 6:56 PM  

No wait, I got it: Instead of pre-determined criteria for gaining a playoff spot, let's have semi-secretive committee meet to vote on whether Philly is actually "better" than Carolina, and then award the spot to the "better" team. Maybe Condie Rice is available.

I'll go with the current structure, before gerrymandering the process to get the teams in that we really want in.

Also, wonder if VD's superbowl prediction (NE vs Seattle) was made with his head or heart. Couldn't possibly pick the Packers, now could he?

Blogger bob k. mando January 04, 2015 7:01 PM  

Jack Amok January 04, 2015 6:27 PM
I'd go with two divisions of 8 teams each.



the problem with that being; now you're giving up inter-Conference and inter-Divisional games ( although, this would leave tons of room for hype and speculation since you would have practically no data points until the Super Bowl to compare the Conf ).

8 team divisions means 14 games within the Div. players weren't happy when they went from 14 game regular seasons to 16, and the 16 game reg season is a big reason why the 'season' is actually 17 weeks long. so, you can't expect to stretch the reg games out much further.

frankly, i'd rather put a bullet in the Raiders and Buccs, pull back to three 5 team Divs per Conf and be done.

now you've got 8 intra-Div games, 5 inter-Conf games and 3 games to load balance around intra-Conf. getting a ~.500 team into the playoffs in this scenario would be very uncommon.

Blogger TontoBubbaGoldstein January 04, 2015 7:14 PM  

...frankly, i'd rather put a bullet in the Raiders and Buccs, pull back to three 5 team Divs per Conf and be done.

Change that to the Patriots and Cowboys and I'm on board,

Anonymous Matt Stafford January 04, 2015 7:16 PM  

Lions just got screwed

Blogger Nate January 04, 2015 7:18 PM  

"Nate, I'm wondering what your opinion is on the better team who are at home."

Philly wins 10... not in the playoffs... Carolina wins... 6? 7? is in the playoffs.

Its bullshit.

Instead of watching a good philly team.. we're watching a shitty carolina team... because divisions.

Wow... So Carolina beat up on a bunch of the worst teams in the NFL. barely.

Very impressive. They totally deserve a playoff spot.

Anonymous Anon January 04, 2015 7:18 PM  

yes, yes they did. They still should have gone for it. NFL coaches are all pussies.

Blogger Nate January 04, 2015 7:18 PM  

I want the best teams in the playoffs... and only the best teams in the playoffs.

Anonymous Anon January 04, 2015 7:20 PM  

Carolina is not that bad and may win next week.

Blogger YIH January 04, 2015 7:24 PM  

bob, Daniel:
Honestly, Tim Tebow out of retirement probably could have got them past the Seahawks and into a bye week.


even better, the team would die for Tebow. you'd know that they didn't leave anything on the field due to half assed play.

but, we can't have an overtly Christian QB.

Nah, remember, Tebow has been out of football and in the booth for the past year.
Also, in a way Tebow has the same problem as Sam Bradford (the 'gay' DL), it was ability vs. 'story'; If Sam Bradford had been as good as Ndamukong Suh the 'gay' wouldn't have mattered. Same with Tebow; if he were as good as Payton Manning, Payton would have been elsewhere and Tebow's Christian aspect would have (believe it or not) been played up just like it was during his ''Cinderella season''.

Blogger AdognamedOp January 04, 2015 7:29 PM  

I say the outcome of this game was decided before kickoff.

No more NFL

Blogger Nate January 04, 2015 7:30 PM  

"
but, we can't have an overtly Christian QB."

Except every black QB is overtly Christian and many black players are just as outspoken about their faith as Tebow was... oh... and Arron Rogers is also very overtly Christian.

If you didn't know Arron Rogers was overtly Christian... then I suggest you probably aren't looking at the right things to decide who is, and who isn't.

Anonymous Anon January 04, 2015 7:33 PM  

Warner was a Christian who many scouts didn't think was good enough...so he played in the Arena league to prove himself. Tebow didn't because Tebow felt he was entitled to a NFL starter spot.
I like Tebow, but it doesn't change the fact that Tebow didn't have the heart that Warner had, someone just as Christian.

Anonymous Jack Amok January 04, 2015 7:34 PM  

frankly, i'd rather put a bullet in the Raiders and Buccs, pull back to three 5 team Divs per Conf and be done.

So back to 1 wildcard team per conference, and drop one week of playoffs? I'd be okay with that, but I don't think the NFL will give up a week of playoff games.

Also, wonder if VD's superbowl prediction (NE vs Seattle) was made with his head or heart. Couldn't possibly pick the Packers, now could he?

The Packer's problem is that they have a weak run defense, and to make the Superbowl, they'll likely have to beat both Dallas (assuming Detroit does't pull it off) and Seattle, likely the two best running teams in the conference.

Anonymous zen0 January 04, 2015 7:39 PM  

Dallas had the game won for about 1.5 seconds. Then they didn't.

Blogger YIH January 04, 2015 7:41 PM  

bob, jack:
Jack Amok January 04, 2015 6:27 PM
I'd go with two divisions of 8 teams each.

What I suggested several weeks ago was combining the North/East and South/West into two 'sub-conferences' of 8 teams.
Top 4 make the playoffs and the fifth is one of the wild cards with teams seeded by record/tiebreakers.
Otherwise scheduling/divisions are the same as it is now.

Anonymous Jack Amok January 04, 2015 7:41 PM  

Dallas had the game won for about 1.5 seconds. Then they didn't.

Yeah, that's not the usual way a defense loses a game. If the idiot just fell on the ball instead of trying to run it in, they win easy.

Anonymous Jack Amok January 04, 2015 7:46 PM  

Top 4 make the playoffs and the fifth is one of the wild cards with teams seeded by record/tiebreakers.
Otherwise scheduling/divisions are the same as it is now.


Wait, top 4 of each sub-conference? Plus a wildcard? That would be 5 out 8... You must mean top 2?


Ah, and Demarcus Lawrence learns a lesson and applies it that very same drive.

Anonymous WinstonWebb January 04, 2015 7:47 PM  

YESSSSSSSS!!!!

Anonymous zen0 January 04, 2015 7:48 PM  

They just showed a shot of Jerry Jones' executive box and they all jumped up to celebrate, and there was a guy that what hugging jones that looked just like Chris Christie.

I kid you not.

Anonymous Jeromus January 04, 2015 7:50 PM  

It was Chris Christie.

Anonymous Laz January 04, 2015 7:53 PM  

Christie makes no bones about being a Dallas fan.

The boys actually pulled it off. We'll see how well they do in the snow next week.

Anonymous Leatherwing January 04, 2015 7:54 PM  

Nate, I live in North Carolina and have to hear all the people praising this crappy team. Yes, they had a good run toward the end of the season, but overall they suck and their record shows that. They should be home while winning teams advance.

Blogger YIH January 04, 2015 7:57 PM  

Jack Amok:
Wait, top 4 of each sub-conference? Plus a wildcard? That would be 5 out 8... You must mean top 2?
Oops, yes.

Blogger Nate January 04, 2015 8:00 PM  

"I like Tebow, but it doesn't change the fact that Tebow didn't have the heart that Warner had, someone just as Christian. "

He had just as much heart as Warner. What he didn't have was Warner's talent.

Blogger Vincent Castrillo January 04, 2015 8:01 PM  

"Carolina is not that bad and may win next week."

This is a laugh.I will gladly offer 9.5 points to anyone who wants to take Carolina next week. For up to one hundred. It's like a second bye for the Seahawks. I'm thinking 31-6

Anonymous Will Best January 04, 2015 8:08 PM  

I want the best teams in the playoffs... and only the best teams in the playoffs.

So you want a college system where are group of elders gathers around and decides that the Cardinals are out because too many injuries so they are way worse than their record, and the NFCS is out because garbage, and the Ravens are out because the only quality win they have in 10 games is an early season victory against the Steelers.

Yet somehow the Eagles get in even though they are 4-4 over their last 8 games and 1-3 against teams with a record over .500 in that time. I mean do we really need to see them get embarrassed in Seattle or Green Bay when we just saw both those teams kick their butts a couple weeks ago?

Blogger Da_Truth_Hurts January 04, 2015 8:16 PM  

Yet somehow the Eagles get in even though they are 4-4 over their last 8 games and 1-3 against teams with a record over .500 in that time. I mean do we really need to see them get embarrassed in Seattle or Green Bay when we just saw both those teams kick their butts a couple weeks ago?

The Eagles are better than Carolina, even with butt-fumble as QB. Much better. That said, GB and Seattle are not going to lose at home.

Blogger Vincent Castrillo January 04, 2015 8:22 PM  

Still continuing to miss the point guys. Even Nate would probably not care if Carolina made it,but why do they get a gift bag and home cooking to go along with there ineptitude. Home teams have a large advantage in the playoffs. This is a large part of why Seattle won last and I believe will win again. This is not a token thing.

Go on the road in the elements of this time of year to play a rested team in their house? Sure if you were the least deserving of the teams. But 11-5 going to 7-8-1 is not the least deserving. All of you discussing merit seem to miss this. It's ridiculous.

Carolina was abject this season. They were 3-8-1 at one point and only finished with 7 wins becausethey caught Cleveland, an inept Atlanta with Mike Smith, and a Saints team that mailed it in a month ago. Heck the tie that got them in was a botched field goal by Cincy from the 29 yard line. But of course this team deserves that home game.

Anonymous Scintan January 04, 2015 9:10 PM  

I don't know why the media is always down on Flacco; he may not be Manning, Brady, or Rodgers, but you can obviously win a Super Bowl with him.

Flacco's a mediocre QB who wins on the strength of his defense and the terrible way that DPI is enforced post-2004. He throws up balloons 50 yards downfield and prays for a fingernail scrape by a defender. The media gets that. Most people who watch the sport get that, and that's why Flacco doesn't get the love.

Anonymous Buckeyecopperhead January 04, 2015 9:19 PM  

PFT bitching about the "non penalty" against the Lion's receiver. Fair enough, but the refs just as easily could have called a personal foul against the receiver for grabbing the defender's face mask on that play.
Not going to shed tears for Detroit. Dirty thug team and the QB looks like Corky from "Life Goes On." Cowboys at Packers will be a ratings winner.

Anonymous Jack Amok January 04, 2015 9:24 PM  

bitching about the "non penalty" against the Lion's receiver.

Maybe one of these days, the NFL will realize having penalties on every other play means people are constantly bitching about the refs.

Blogger Nate January 04, 2015 9:27 PM  

"So you want a college system where are group of elders gathers around and decides that the Cardinals are out because too many injuries so they are way worse than their record, and the NFCS is out because garbage, and the Ravens are out because the only quality win they have in 10 games is an early season victory against the Steelers."

No.

I already explained the system I want.

Divisional champions get in... unless they have a losing record. If they do... then teams with better records go in ahead of them.

Anonymous Daniel January 04, 2015 9:30 PM  

But 11-5 going to 7-8-1 is not the least deserving. All of you discussing merit seem to miss this. It's ridiculous.

We are all watchng the same games, Vincent. 11-5 knocked NE out of the playoffs six years ago. 11-5 doesn't mean jack if you can't win your division.

As it should be. You are so focused on the single instance of Carolina getting to host a meaningless game that you can't see the bigger picture: that divisional championships basically sort out 4 teams who face nearly identical schedules. It is the most fair way to screen out the very best of four. Carolina was the very best of four. There's no better way to ensure relatively fair initial segmentation.

Switching the reward for winning the division also switches the incentive to play for it. Don't mess with a target that is easily understood by all participants.

If the Cards really wanted that home game, they merely had to not tank. It was in their control, technically.

Anonymous Will Best January 04, 2015 9:45 PM  

Divisional champions get in... unless they have a losing record. If they do... then teams with better records go in ahead of them.

So under your system the Falcons bench their starters in week 16 for evaluation purposes and because losing gets them a better draft position. The Saints get to 8 wins (because Tampa did the same in week 17), the Eagles still miss the playoffs, and everybody cries foul.

Anonymous zen0 January 04, 2015 9:46 PM  

@ Buckeyecopperhead

Not going to shed tears for Detroit. Dirty thug team and the QB looks like Corky from "Life Goes On." Cowboys at Packers will be a ratings winner.

The former ref they hired for color commentary said it was a classic example of a penalty. All your objections are rhetorical and have no reference to justice.

Maybe it would have not help Detroit win, but now Dallas is burdened with a justice deficit, and maybe suffer a similar fate in Green Bay, in which case, they will have no grounds for complaint. What goes around comes around.

Anonymous dudemanhey January 04, 2015 9:47 PM  

Y'all clearly are woefully uninformed about the Carolina Panthers' team.

1) The roster has been overhauled during the second half of this season. If you go back to about week 8 and compare the depth chart then to the depth chart now, there are at least 8 or 9 different starters:


The cutting of DB's Goddfrey and Cason and promotion of talented rookies Tre Boston and Bene Benwikere to the starting line-up directly coincides with the current 5 game winning streak.
The Panthers starting offensive line has had 3 of 5 of its members changed mid season. Alabama rookie Trai Turner is now the starting RG and Ohio St rookie Andrew Norwell took over the LG midseason. Daivd Remmers was also a mid-season free agent acquisition that is now starting at right tackle.

2) The NFL schedule is a completely unbalanced one. Though the Panthers only have a record of 8-8-1, the teams that they played outside or the NFC South in 2014 were: Detroit, Baltimore, Pittsbugh, Cincinatti, Chicago, Green Bay, Seattle, Philly, Minnesota, Cleveland (and AZ)....Thats a tough Schedule

Seattle played an injury riddled Carolina team earlier in the year and barely scratched out a 13-9 win, don't be surprised if the Panthers stay hot going for their sixth straight victory.

Anonymous Will Best January 04, 2015 9:48 PM  

And by the way, why would anybody want to win their division if they aren't getting their playoff bid. The SoS seeding guarantees they will be playing two additional playoff teams the following year.

Which is another reason to tell WC teams with better records to pound sand as far as playoff games. They are set up to get the easier schedule the following year.

Anonymous zen0 January 04, 2015 9:50 PM  

Gentlemen. All the wildcard round is for is to provide opponents for the next round, so that bettors have something tangible to deal with. It does not really matter all that much who they are or how they got there.

Anonymous Scintan January 04, 2015 9:51 PM  

So under your system the Falcons bench their starters in week 16 for evaluation purposes and because losing gets them a better draft position. The Saints get to 8 wins (because Tampa did the same in week 17), the Eagles still miss the playoffs, and everybody cries foul.

Nate's alternative is horrible. No need to make him feel bad, though. He still gets a participation trophy!

Blogger Vincent Castrillo January 04, 2015 9:52 PM  

dudemanhey, my original offer for a wager on Carolina still stand if you want to put your money.....

Blogger Michael Maier January 04, 2015 9:56 PM  

Nate January 04, 2015 7:30 PM

"
but, we can't have an overtly Christian QB."

Except every black QB is overtly Christian and many black players are just as outspoken about their faith as Tebow was... oh... and Arron Rogers is also very overtly Christian.

If you didn't know Arron Rogers was overtly Christian... then I suggest you probably aren't looking at the right things to decide who is, and who isn't.


Maybe so... but this casual NFL fan has never heard of the press going after Rogers the way they did Tebow either.

Anonymous dudemanhey January 04, 2015 9:57 PM  

"dudemanhey, my original offer for a wager on Carolina still stand if you want to put your money....."

If 1) i was a gambling man and 2) we actually knew each other in real life and could pay up face to face i would take you 9.5 point spread

Anonymous Gapeseed January 04, 2015 10:05 PM  

Whatever the merits of Nate's argument in a neutral year, take it from this Jets fan: The Eagles had a better record, but Carolina with Cam Newton under center is a better team than the Eagles with the Sanchize. Mark Sanchez is a good kid who will carve out a nice career as a backup, but anything more than limited reps exposes the happy feet and shellshock he first manifested when the Jets went cheap on right tackle. Carolina is closer to the team that won 12 games last year than the team that started out 3-8-1, and it would not surprise me to see them give the Seahawks a game.

Anonymous Will Best January 04, 2015 10:08 PM  

If 1) i was a gambling man and 2) we actually knew each other in real life and could pay up face to face i would take you 9.5 point spread

Of course Carolina is getting 11.5 right now, so this would be a foolish proposition.

Blogger Vincent Castrillo January 04, 2015 10:11 PM  

dudeman, I've been posting here for ten years as my real name and prior as castricv. I've offered several bets over the years. If you are a man of your word, that is good enough for me. If you don't pay up everyone here will hear about it. We can even run it by VD if you like, he gave me permission a few years back for a similar thing.

Blogger Vincent Castrillo January 04, 2015 10:13 PM  

Will, I posted that before lines came out based on best guess. I'm sure it will finish near 9.5 as it gets closer and the sharps feel like taking ten on the dog. To be fair though I will still offer 11 now if any takers. That line will shrink, but whatever I have this as 17 or more.

Blogger Vincent Castrillo January 04, 2015 10:17 PM  

zeno0 that is completely correct. As for everyone else, I do not advocate for taking away the auto bid for division winners, just home field. For teams like the Saints, Panthers, and Falcons this year everyone in the organization and fans alike are more than happy just to make it. They know they won't go too far.

Division winners have to make it for numerous reasons already posted here. Tanking being the biggest reason. My gripe is since they changed to four divisions 12 years ago, they should have amended the home field rule as well.

Anonymous Colorado Confederate January 04, 2015 10:37 PM  

"Perfect... and yet we're watching crappy teams play while good teams are at home."

Yes, but that was true under the old (six division) format, too. Sometimes 8-8 division winners went, and sometimes 10-6 or even 11-5 teams went home.

Anonymous CorkyAgain January 04, 2015 10:46 PM  

Two divisions of eight teams each doesn't have to mean 14 divisional games per team. Instead of playing divisional opponents twice a year they could play just once, with the home team alternating year by year.

Anonymous Jack Amok January 04, 2015 10:52 PM  

Maybe it would have not help Detroit win, but now Dallas is burdened with a justice deficit,

As a Seattle fan, I laugh at complaints about officiating. No doubt Green Bay fans will still be complaining about the Fail Mary play if we end up playing them in the NFC championship. From a Seahawks perspective, that was only partial repayment by the Gods of Stupid Officiating for three terrible calls thay may have cost us Super Bowl Extra Large, as well as the Vinny Testeverde phantom TD (awarded for breaking the plane of the two yard line) that kept us out of the playoffs and actually led to the adoption of instant replay. Better if none of those bad calls had been made, but oh well.

It's a laughing matter because all those plays (including the Fail Mary) were terrible calls and the prevalence of such calls makes it a joke. Bad calls happen. They happen more often if you have more rules. The way the NFL is run today, official's calls have a huge impact on the game and frankly I think the growth of rules (and the extra randomization it creates) is what's responsible for the increase in parity of results. Detroit probably wins if they get that DPI call, but the call itself is a crap shoot.

And in the back of my head a thought rattles around that maybe Pete Carroll knows this and has crafted a team to be less influenced by the luck of the call. He has a power running offense that doesn't need a steady diet of DPI calls to move the ball, and a defense that gives up DPI calls but still manages to stop teams. And he's averaging 12 wins a season for the last three years.

Anonymous zen0 January 04, 2015 10:58 PM  

If they were not just trying to milk the people with spectatoritis (a term coined at the turn of the previous century) the regular season champion of the AFC would face the regular season champion of the NFC.

Or simpler yet there would be no conferences and the regular season winner would be the champion with no playoffs.

But Americans seem to think that a system without playoffs is fascist or autocratic. It is akin to when Crash told his pitcher that strike-outs were fascist (Bull Durham)

Entirely rhetorical.

Anonymous zen0 January 04, 2015 11:05 PM  

@ Jack Amok As a Seattle fan, I laugh at complaints about officiating

Hey, I hear you and know of all the incidents whereof you speak. But these things are part of the deal, as you say, I find it interesting that Pete Carroll may have come up with a strategy to minimize these incidents. If this is true, it would behoove everyone to follow suit.

Anonymous CorkyAgain January 04, 2015 11:06 PM  

@zen0,

Yeah, that's the way it was in the pre-SuperBowl era and before they broke the conferences out into divisions.

Maybe get rid of the "playoffs" (aka bowl games) and extend the regular season by three games (which they seem to want to do anyway)?

Anonymous Jack Amok January 04, 2015 11:14 PM  

I find it interesting that Pete Carroll may have come up with a strategy to minimize these incidents.

Pure speculation on my part. A power running game, a speed-based gang-tackling defense, and wining the turnover battle has been his philosophy for a long, long time. But those things do seem to be well suited to limiting the impact of penalties.

Anonymous Too-Soon-ami January 04, 2015 11:22 PM  

Jack Amok: "Maybe one of these days, the NFL will realize having penalties on every other play means people are constantly bitching about the refs."


That the phrase "A good non-call right there" is bleated 10 times a game, should also indicate that the system is broken.

Anonymous Will Best January 04, 2015 11:56 PM  

The refs are like traffic cops. They write tickets often enough to keep players adhering close enough to the rules so as to promote things that are beneficial to the NFL.

1) higher scoring games
2) fewer injuries to reduce lawsuits, payroll, and to increase scheme complexity because people aren't fielding 30 new players by the end of the season

Blogger bob k. mando January 05, 2015 12:30 AM  

Jack Amok January 04, 2015 7:34 PM
So back to 1 wildcard team per conference, and drop one week of playoffs?


no need for that. you take the 3 Div champs + 2 best at large teams. that's the best 5 teams from a 15 team conf. i wouldn't want to push beyond the top 1/3rd of the teams, you'll drag in crap like Carolina way too often.

currently, you're taking the top 6 of 16 which is 37.5% of the field. that's too much and getting too close to 50%.

the four At Large teams play on the Bye weekend Sunday, giving you 2 games, one for each Conf. Div champs still get the Bye week layoff to rest up, NFL still gets broadcast time for an extra weekend, fills up Sunday and isn't competing against college football on Saturday.



zen0 January 04, 2015 7:39 PM
Dallas had the game won for about 1.5 seconds. Then they didn't.



no worries, the refs'll make it all good.



YIH January 04, 2015 7:41 PM
What I suggested several weeks ago



i think the NFL is too fascinated with how important they think Div champs should be to agree to go with that. your solution would get rid of my 'cut two teams' problem though.

i don't think they'd go for my idea either, even if they hate the memory of Al Davis.


Nate January 04, 2015 7:30 PM
If you didn't know Arron Rogers was overtly Christian... then I suggest you probably aren't looking at the right things to decide who is, and who isn't.



i didn't care for all the Tebowing myself. but my point still stands: Timmay was far and away the most overtly 'Christian' player on the field and the most outspoken off.

it was driving the pro-queer sportscasters nuts. especially the fact that he kept winning IN SPITE OF his crappy arm. it was obvious early on in that Denver season that sports media was slobbering for him to fall flat. he never did in the only metric that really matters; winning games.



zen0 January 04, 2015 10:58 PM
But Americans seem to think that a system without playoffs


*facepalm*

because the CFL and NHL don't do playoffs? what the heck do you think the World Cup is?

but you get on with your bad self; Playoffs are totally an Ugly American thing.




Too-Soon-ami January 04, 2015 11:22 PM
That the phrase "A good non-call right there" is bleated 10 times a game



the new rules / enforcement have basically broken the game. was listening to some sports talk last week and he made the perfectly valid point that just compared to the 2010 season, passing/receiving stats are so grossly inflated that he really doesn't know how to evaluate QBs anymore. pretty much all the QB stats are going through the roof, and it's clearly a rules based stat improvement, not performance based.

consider, do you seriously think that Peyton Manning is a *better QB today* than he was in 2010 ... before his neck surgery and when he was five years younger?
2010 IND 16 16 10 450† 679† 66.3 4,700 7.0 33 17 18 18 1.0 0 91.9
2014 DEN 16 16 12 395 597 66.2 4,727 7.9 39 15 24 -24 -1.0 0 101.5

Anonymous Daniel January 05, 2015 12:57 AM  

Instead of playing divisional opponents twice a year they could play just once, with the home team alternating year by year.

In which case you don't have a clear-cut division champion, as each team in each division would have an extremely differing schedule.

The reason you have a division is to filter out teams with similar schedules. If you do this, just get rid of regional divisions altogether.

Anonymous Reggie White, Minister of Defense January 05, 2015 1:27 AM  

I was Christian before it was cool.

Anonymous rho January 05, 2015 3:38 AM  

Daniel:
Teams can't play everyone

In professional football? Sure they can. They don't, because they want large TV viewer numbers and because a grueling schedule means defensive play (read: less exciting play).

Money ruined baseball, and TV ruined football.

Anonymous VD January 05, 2015 5:01 AM  

Detroit probably wins if they get that DPI call, but the call itself is a crap shoot.

You say this despite Stafford fumbling twice AFTER the correct non-call? They have a better chance, but then, perhaps he fumbles on the very next play.

Anonymous zen0 January 05, 2015 5:01 AM  

@ bob k. mando
*facepalm*

because the CFL and NHL don't do playoffs


In my defense I would like to point out that there are more American NHL teams than Canadian, and more Americans playing in the CFL than Canadians, and that Canada is a colony of the US.

I was thinking about the English Premier League. Should have been more specific.

Blogger bob k. mando January 05, 2015 8:33 AM  

zen0 January 05, 2015 5:01 AM
In my defense



all completely irrelevant to your assertion that "playoffs are one of those goofball American things". hell, Cricket has had first class playoffs since the 1800s.

must be Murica's fault.

Anonymous Jack Amok January 05, 2015 11:58 AM  

You say this despite Stafford fumbling twice AFTER the correct non-call? They have a better chance, but then, perhaps he fumbles on the very next play.

The Romo curse was on the other team, true. "Probably wins" is too strong (my fault for typing that while listening to the post-game idiot talk show). And I'm glad that it was a non-call. I was pulling for Dallas and Romo, even though I've generally hated the Cowboys and think they're the team with the best chance to keep the Seahawks out of the Superbowl. But Dallas and Romo have earned some respect this year.

Main point though I think still stands - those sort of calls add more randomization into game results.

Blogger Ken January 05, 2015 1:10 PM  

Oddly enough, Jack, I was more worried about Detroit's defense than about the Cowboy's offense. Now that the Legion is healthy again, they can pretty much shut Romo down, but Wilson - smart kid that he is - would perform better against a weaker defense.

We'll see. I agree that the Panthers will indeed be a second bye week, so when we play the Cowboys for the NFC Title, it'll be a good game.

Anonymous Jack Amok January 06, 2015 3:23 AM  

We'll see. I agree that the Panthers will indeed be a second bye week,

While I do think the Hawks should win, I'm not confidedent enough to call it a second bye week. Besides, I'd like a good game - I'll be there to watch it.

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