Expanded NFL playoffs: Yay or nay?
December, 13, 2012
By ESPN.com staff | ESPN.com
Commissioner Roger Goodell said Wednesday that the league would spend the next few months considering playoff expansion. But is the idea even worth exploring? Would further expansion of the playoff field be good for the game or the fans? Our NFL experts weigh in.
Should the NFL expand the playoff field?
|Expert||Yes or no?||Reasoning|
|NO||The NFL thinks expansion might create more excitement -- and revenue -- but the truth is that it will only corrupt the postseason. There already is a dearth of great football teams, and expansion means creating more opportunities for subpar squads to find their way into the playoffs. We get ample suspense from the current format. The possible inclusion of more 8-8 or 7-9 teams will only dumb it down.|
|NO||The NFL should not expand the playoffs to include 14, much less 16, teams. The playoffs are fine the way they are. The top two teams in each conference rightly get rewarded for their regular-season performances with a much-needed week off. Expanding to 16 teams presumably would mark the end of those byes. It also would mean more mediocre teams -- .500 or worse -- would go to the postseason. Under a 16-game format, if the playoffs started today, that would mean the New York Jets would be in. Would the Jets make the postseason better? No. The current playoff system works and should remain intact.|
NFC East blogger
|NO||The NFL should not expand the playoffs. There aren't 12 playoff-caliber teams every season to begin with, let alone 14 or 16. If anything, I'd cut the playoffs back to just the eight division winners and let them slug it out. But that would make less money for the owners, not more, so the chances of it happening are about the same as the chances of holding next season's Super Bowl on Venus. Expanding the playoffs would be yet another slap in the face to fans. The NFL talks about the quality of its product being important, but every move it makes says otherwise.|
NFC West blogger
|YES||Don't give me this stuff about watering down the product. That ship sailed a long time ago. More football, please. More late-season drama, please. We could selfishly call it the St. Louis Rams Restoration Act of 2012, because an expanded playoff field would help teams such as the Rams, who are currently 6-6-1 and riding a three-game winning streak, but still a long shot for the playoffs under the current system.|
NFC North blogger
|NO||An expanded playoffs could potentially affect two NFC North teams. The Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings are both on the edge of the NFC wild-card race and would have a better chance to advance with more playoff positions open. But the playoffs should be a reward for teams that have had an excellent season, not a second season for everyone who didn't have a bad one. As it is, the NFL has a great balance between playoff inclusion and selectivity, and should keep it that way.|
NFC South blogger
|NO||The current format is perfect and you should not mess with perfection. If you add any more teams, you run the risk of having the same kind of watered-down postseason that the NBA has. If the NFL already had expanded the playoffs, the New Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers might qualify this postseason. But let's be real honest, the Saints and Bucs aren't legitimate playoff teams right now.|
AFC East blogger
|NO||Twelve teams are enough. It usually takes a winning record to make the postseason, and that's a solid indicator of who is annually deserving. If you expand the field to 14 or 16, that opens the door for a 7-9 and maybe even a 6-10 team to get in. Those are not playoff-worthy seasons.|
AFC West blogger
|NO||I remember as a kid when there were 28 teams and four from each conference made the postseason. Oversaturation, overexposure and lack of quality control were not issues with the NFL. Now, apparently they are. If we see 16 of 32 teams make the playoffs, it would completely take away from the difficulty of making the postseason. Right now, 12 of 32 make it. I think that's enough. The postseason is supposed to be for the elite. This isn't the NCAA basketball tournament. Let's not worry about extra income and extra exposure, just focus on providing the best postseason product possible. The saying is true: Sometimes, less is more.|
AFC North blogger
|NO||I understand the intent of expansion, because adding another team keeps more teams in the playoff picture and drives more interest for fan bases. If the playoffs included 14 or 16 teams, there would be more hope for the Browns (5-8) and there would be increased buzz for the final three games. But that doesn't mean it's a good idea. Limiting teams elevates the integrity of the NFL playoffs. This shouldn't be like the NBA or NHL, where it seems as if every team makes the postseason. Making the postseason in the NFL is a reward for being among the top teams in the league. Everyone will realize this is a bad idea when the 13th and 14th teams to reach the playoffs do so with a losing record.|
AFC South blogger
|NO||More playoff teams in sports are bad. Watered down fields in the NBA and the NHL render their regular seasons largely meaningless. The NFL needs the regular season to be very meaningful. Already, the best team often doesn't wind up winning, the hot team winds up winning and becoming the best team. I want the best teams in 16 games to have the maximum chance at the maximum reward.|