Thursday, March 25, 2010
Jets' playoff miracle not NFL's preference
By Tim Graham
ORLANDO, Fla. -- The New York Jets certainly didn't have a problem with it, but the NFL does.
The league is looking into ways to ensure playoff-bound teams field honest lineups in the final weeks of the season. The Jets slipped into the postseason last year when their final two opponents, who'd clinched their divisions, kept their best players on the sideline.
In his closing remarks at the NFL owners meetings, commissioner Roger Goodell noted changes are afoot to keep late-season games from turning into charades.
"It is still an issue, and I spoke to the competition committee about it on Sunday," Goodell said. "One of the key things we are doing in the short term is in our scheduling. We are trying to schedule it so that potentially Week 17 will be all division opponents and maybe even a large part of Week 16 games.
"We think that will address this to some extent. It will not necessarily eliminate the issue, but the competition committee knows, and I've stressed to them, that we need to continue to look at this because it's important for the quality of what we do and for the integrity of our game."
The eight-man competition committee includes prominent figures in the Jets' miraculous wild-card berth: Indianapolis Colts general manager Bill Polian and Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis.
The Colts and Bengals were incredibly gracious in ushering the Jets into the playoffs. The Jets had to win their final two games, and both opponents benched starters.
In Week 16, the Colts pulled quarterback Peyton Manning in the third quarter. The Jets came back to win 29-15.
In a do-or-die Week 17 games, the Bengals scratched some starters and pulled many others, including quarterback Carson Palmer and receiver Chad Ochocinco, at halftime. The Jets blew them away, 37-0.