Flawed NFL Playoff Format


This NFL season has been a great one. There have been many surprises and intriguing match-ups so far this year. The question is, is there anything to look forward to? Of course there is! The NFL Playoffs are just around the corner!

The playoffs are sure to be riveting, but the flaws in the system could unfairly put some of the better teams at a disadvantage.

The format of the NFL Playoffs is a simple one. The top four division winners from each conference along with the two remaining teams with the best records will qualify. Then, the top two division winners have a bye week, in which the three seed plays the six seed, and the four seed plays the five seed. Then, the one seed and two seed matchup respectively and battle it out to the Super Bowl.

In my opinion, the current system leaves out some very important things that could contribute to exciting playoffs. The two division winners that play in the first week of the playoffs against the two wildcard teams get a home field advantage, even if their record is worse than the wildcard teams’. A few years back, the 7-9 Seahawks won their dreadful division and played the wildcard Saints who had a better record. The game was in Seattle, and therefore the Seahawks advanced due to their enormous home field advantage. So, the home field advantage should absolutely not be based on whether or not you won your division, it should be based solely on your record.

However, even if that much-wanted change took place, there would still be a gaping hole in the playoff system. If, for example, a division winner is 6-10, and the two wildcard teams have a 10-6 record and an additional team has a 9-7 record and did not win their division, the 9-7 team would be eliminated from the playoffs. If the playoffs began today, the Atlanta Falcons sitting atop the NFC South division at 4-7, would get home field advantage against the Seattle Seahawks at 8-4. Additionally, they would make the playoffs while the Dallas Cowboys (8-4) and the San Fransisco 49ers (7-5) would not. That, in and of itself, seems extremely flawed.

This brings up the question: Should there be home field advantage for division winners? The majority would agree that there should be.

But another lingering question remains: Should the NFL expand the playoffs? One idea by fans would have the NFL adding two teams, making the playoffs eight from a conference as opposed to six, and eliminating the bye weeks. Of course the arguments for or against this could require years before a decision is made.

I believe that the NFL playoff system is extremely flawed. I believe the top six teams should enter the playoffs so it remains a privilege rather than having half of the teams per conference being allowed to enter. I believe the NFL should do away with basing playoff seeds of division winners, and should take the top six teams from each conference and seed them based on records. That seems to be the most logical way to do it!

What do you think? Should the NFL playoffs change?

About Me:

I’m Spencer (Alexander) Zied, a 10th grader from New York, New York. I love to play basketball, football and tennis, and am a big fan of the Knicks, Giants, Yankees, Oregon football and North Carolina basketball teams. I’m also a big fan of First Take and Sportscenter on ESPN. You can email me at spencer.zied@gmail.com or connect with me on twitter, on Facebook, or on Instagram (szied713).

4 thoughts on “Flawed NFL Playoff Format”

  1. Well Spencer you left out the most critical change the NFL needs to implement, requiring a team to finish with at least a winning record to qualify for the playoffs.


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