Posted: 2:11 pm Thursday, February 27th, 2014

More NFL playoffs? Too late for ’09 Falcons 

By Jeff Schultz

Expanded NFL playoffs would add revenue but also mediocrity.

Expanded NFL playoffs would add revenue but also mediocrity.

There is a very good chance that the NFL expands its playoff field from 12 teams to 14 teams, and for at least two very good reasons: 1) Happy fans in two more NFL cities spending money in January; 2) Happy network executives willing to pay the NFL more money to broadcast two more games because they’re selling more advertising.

In the NFL, as in life, follow the money for the reason why anything will or won’t happen.

But prepare for more mediocrity.

The Washington Post reported Thursday that there’s growing support within the league to add two playoff teams. The new format would mean only two teams (one in each conference) would draw first-round byes. The other 12 teams would play six preliminary round games (three in each conference). This possibility isn’t a new story but it’s clearly gaining momentum.

The Falcons would’ve loved an expanded format back in 2009. At 9-7, they were the only NFC team over .500 that season to miss the playoffs. They would’ve traveled to play the 12-4 Minnesota Vikings.

The problem with the potential new format is it would frequently allow a .500 team into the postseason, and that’s not what playoffs in any sport should be about. I looked at the standings in the last five seasons to find the teams with the best records in each conference that would have made the playoffs. (I’m not going to get into tiebreakers.):

• 2013: NFC: Arizona 10-6. AFC: Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Miami and New York Jets 8-8.

• 2012: NFC: Chicago 10-6. AFC: Pittsburgh 8-8.

• 2011: NFC: Chicago, Arizona, Philadelphia and Dallas 8-8. AFC: Tennessee 9-7.

• 2010: NFC: N.Y. Giants and Tampa Bay 10-6. AFC: San Diego 9-7.

• 2009: NFC: Falcons 9-7. AFC: Houston and Pittsburgh 9-7.

Are you OK with an expanded playoff system if it means a greater chance that .500 teams will get in?

50 comments
JOEVIGNATI
JOEVIGNATI

Love the NFL and hate when the season ends.

However,

this is a bad, greedy proposal that cheapens the regular season & the post-season.

The NFL used to be better than this...

GTBee
GTBee

Sure. Those teams you listed above were decent. I like the idea.

GeorgeJetsen
GeorgeJetsen

Hey Jeff- how's the Myajc thing working out? I couldn't help but notice that you're posting fewer stories to it. Please say its over as it's a concept that will never ork here. It might take the AJC idiots 20 years to figure out but you heard it from me first.

DarlaLewis
DarlaLewis

If the sole reason to add two more teams is money it's already gone in the wrong direction. Plus why reward teams for being mediocre....

Yorick
Yorick

I think rather than a playoff system, sports writers and coaches should vote in "polls" to determine which NFL teams are the best. Voting would be conducted each week.  Corporate sponsored post-season games would be played. We can call these "bowl" games.  Selection of teams in the "bowl" games would be based on scientifically established criteria for best matchups - a mixed criteria of the revenue that would be generated by the matchup, and less importantly voting by coaches and sports writers as to which teams are "better".  The top two teams ranked in the "polls" would be anointed for the "championship".  Winning your division would not be a necessary criteria for being anointed the first and second ranked team.  To be "bowl-eligible" teams would have to have at least a .500 record.  The current playoff system could by dispensed with.  This model would maximize team revenue, and provide fans with something to talk about during the season other than fantasy football statistics. 

RichardKPE
RichardKPE

Go the other route.  Have a tournament featuring the 20 teams that DON'T make the playoffs, and the winner gets the #1 overall pick.

If Detroit, Miami, Pittsburgh and Arizona were the last four teams in an elimination tournament with Clowney on the line, name me one person who doesn't watch that.

KelvinFrazier
KelvinFrazier

No, I don't like it. The expanded playoffs would allow mediocrity to prevail. The system is fine the way it is now. And while we are on the subject we also do not need an 18 game regular season either.

gobige
gobige

Write an article about how effective it is to replace injured impact players with scrubs no one wants when trying to make a super bowl run.


Much more interesting and someone would actually finally pose the question to Tom D before I die.

JChikara
JChikara

Anyone who disagrees with this needs to just give up watching the NFL altogether. Did the 7-9 Seahawks beating the 12-4 Saints ruin the league? Did a 9-7 Giants team winning the Super Bowl ruin the league? Besides, all of you who are complaining know that you will be excited if the Falcons got in as the seventh seed, so quit complaining hypocrites! 

RangeRover
RangeRover

On topic, 12 of 32 teams (38%) is ideal.  14 of 32 (44%) is getting too much like that joke called the NBA.

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

You know this is a total crock.  More nine win teams in playoffs.  Kinda like a participation trophy, hey, "we are pretty good, made the playoffs last year".  Coaches and front office workers will love this, probably get a bonus for making the "playoffs".


They should just adopt the NBA plan, eliminate the worst four teams, and let everyone else in. 

RangeRover
RangeRover

You can always count on sower puss to to vomit his exudate on any Falcons blog.  Poor baby, gave up his season tickets after 2007 when his idol was jailed for beating, electrocuting or drowning to death innocent dogs simply doing what their master demands of them.

You're the single most negative POS ever to contaminate these blogs.  Do you have any resemblance of a life? 

Oh, by the way, Mr. "You White Folks can Kiss My Black Azz," he's still not coming back!

Columbus68
Columbus68

Good for fans. Good for teams that have improved late in the season like gb a few years ba k that barwly gpt in and spanked everyone including the falcons to win the super bowl. With the parity many 8-8 teams were only. 2 or 3 plays and/ or bad calls from having 10 or 11 wins. It is a win-win. But....that is due to the current parity ONLY. And i mean ONLY!

332-206
332-206

Another question: Is there any limit to the NFL's greed?

Columbus68
Columbus68

Due to te current parity in the league....and still some 10-6 teams being left out....it seems like a very good idea for everyone. Btw...500 teams have made the playoffs in the past anyway so that argument is void.

NajehDavenpoop
NajehDavenpoop

For that matter, too late for the '05 and '06 Falcons.


This is a stupid idea. The NFL playoffs are fine the way they are. 

AlwaysReady
AlwaysReady

Clowney is who the fans want, not some boring over-rated offensive lineman or linebacker.

RandyFalcon
RandyFalcon

I think a team should have an above .500 record to even be eligible for the playoffs. Even if that means having to bring a team over from the other conference to complete the field.

AlwaysReady
AlwaysReady

The non-playoff  9-7 Falcons beat the 9-7 Jets in 2009

and the 9-7 Jets made the playoffs as a wildcard going to the AFC Championship game

KellyWoodruff
KellyWoodruff

Those are bad teams, they don't deserve to make the playoffs.  

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

I think adding 2 teams is a mistake and puts them well on the way to NBA or NHL territory where teams with losing records routinely make the playoffs.

JSSN
JSSN

2009 Falcons had no business in the playoffs. The sound resonating through the GA after the Eagles laid the wood to them is still clouding the world view of many AJC bloggers. They get ugly and indignant every tome someone links the You Tube video from that Sunday! :)

Those last three games (2 of which were victories over two of the sorriest teams in the NFL (Buffalo and Tampa). The Vikings would have destroyed them and y'all would have really been crying by the time Green Bay finished them the following post-season! Oh yeah, that was another game where the visitors were chanting in the Dome!

JaySly
JaySly

more games the better!  college needs to make their playoffs with 8 or 16 teams, not 4---tons more money!!!

PeachtreeBart
PeachtreeBart

It should happen.  No excuse for a 10-6 team or an 11-5 team (New England a few years back) not to make the playoffs.  If a 13-3 team cannot beat a 9-7 or 10-6 team in the first round, well, too bad.   These teams take too much pounding for only 12 of 32 to make it to the post-season.   And there is so much parity and injury in the NFL anyway, who is to say that the 9-7 team that went on a 7-0 run to end the season is not really the best squad after all?   

Flacons_go_2-14
Flacons_go_2-14

Do U thing the Flacons will be in the palyoffs N E time soon? I dont

DawgNole
DawgNole

@GeorgeJetsen  

Nah, bloggers have been posting the same thing ever since they launched this hopefully short-lived "adventure."

creative
creative

@Yorick  How clever, Ironic, and by the way hilarious.  I hope my sarcasm is coming through as thick as yours is.  

JSSN
JSSN

@Yorick  

DING!!!

Dusting off an oldie but very apt AJC blog mechanism for the comment (and all it contains):

And that is not a good thing before think it is a a compliment!

creative
creative

@RichardKPE  Actually, that's a pretty good idea, but let's keep it the bottom 4 teams.  Oh and they have to play overseas so no extra revenue for a home game. Johanesburg South Africa, Kiev, Ukraine, Bangui, The Republic of Central Africa , and Baghdad, Iraq could be the host cities.  So its a punishment with a reward at the end of the day.  The last place team after the third place team get's the forth pick and the coach is automatically fired and they have to change the name of the team.  The only way to change it back is if you make the playoffs.  Sounds fair to me

JSSN
JSSN

@JChikara  

Those teams won their respective divisions! 

The only thing that might need to be done is get rid of divisions and go to 4  - eight team conferences and team's play home and away. You don't play across conferences and you make the playoffs mean something. No AFC, no NFC. The question would be why?


JSSN
JSSN

@RangeRover  

Oh Mr. Deranged Still Blaming Everything On Vick (Who even mentioned him?) and what is up with you infusing Race into your rant?

Dude, grow up, just grow up! I'll say it again, you love a lie. Mt tickets were cancelled before Vick was ever a accused. You can be a lot of things in this world. This worst thing besides a thief, or a murderer, or a woman or child beater is a purposeful distorter of the truth!

The '09 Falcons weren't the 63 Packers or 68 Cardinals or Rams, those teams got jobbed (they weren't barely above .500) nor did they win their division (so they stayed home)! The Falcons should defended their home field! You're so hurt cause your team just can't get it done regardless of the system is rigged! Is that chant still ringing in your ears?

JSSN
JSSN

@Ted_Striker  

Ha ha, those fools will! And people are still subsidizing these jerks!

JSSN
JSSN

@332-206  

Yeah, the bond rating of local governments!

JSSN
JSSN

@AlwaysReady  

I knew someone like you would come in crowing about that Jets game. That game was the only one game in the last seven games of that season that Jets went against form (especially Jeff Sanchez) and turned the ball over in the red zone on multiple possessions. Regardless, They still pounded the Falcons for 3.5 quarters until the Falcons final drive when Foot Fetish called off his defense for some reason. I still laugh at the game when people get giddy about the back-to-back winning seasons craziness. 

Don't worry, it was only one of two victories that season against teams who had winning records. 

BigCrimson75
BigCrimson75

The '10 Seahawks had no business either.

7&9...winners of a hapless NFC West division.

They clocked the defending SB champs in rd 1.

JSSN
JSSN

@PeachtreeBart  

"And there is so much parity and injury in the NFL anyway, who is to say that the 9-7 team that went on a 7-0 run to end the season is not really the best squad after all? "

Well it sure wasn't the '09 Falcons, they went 4-4 over the last eight. Actually it is more about match-ups. The Giants getting the match-up with two set of teams who played into their form (during their Coughlin Super Bowl runs). Pass first, none run heavy squads. You got have to roster flexibility and play mistake free in all 3 phases. Smith lip services wanting to play that way. However, Parcells (Giants version) and Coughlin are the ones who who can get away with it. Carroll has it now with Wilson under center. Belichick is struggling to get back to it. That is the key! The Falcons are far from it!


JSSN
JSSN

@BigCrimson75  

The Falcons weren't bringing Omar to the Metrodome. I cut the Saints no slack for that WC game, but I was highly entertained. Meanwhile, 24-2 on the road is not impressing anyone! Is Hakeem Nicks still running and doing the 'Dirty Bird' in derision? Even with Brett Favre old and in decline, that is a shootout the Falcons with Mularkey, Van Gorder, Koetter wanted no part of (when right thinking)!

Bordertownbound
Bordertownbound

@JSSN You make me laugh so hard... Always making fun of the Falcons all the time. You do know that one super bowl isn't a dynasty right Saints fan. Also your teams history isn't exactly a gem pal. Isn't like you guys were just winning all over the place every year since your team was founded (bag heads). I do have to say about the best thing that's come out of New Orleans, besides a racist Mayor, is a hurricane HAHAHAHAH. That hurricane is the only thing people remember about N.O. not that team that plays there. HAHAHA

JSSN
JSSN

@BigCrimson75  

Turner never put up a real performance in a playoff game. They ran well in the Seattle game in the first half in 3 drives, that is it. 

JSSN
JSSN

@BigCrimson75  

Grimes was actually hurt. Grimes knew what was coming in the Flounderlands. Grimes played out his contract, he'll never get a bad word from me. You people still won't admit that the Giants just physically whipped the Falcons that day. They put your hardest hitter Moore out of the game. The Falcons couldn't stop Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs, they weren't going to compete with 2009 Adrian Peterson (even when he was putting the ball on the turf). If that game came down to Favre-vs-Ryan, that is a gunfight that Falcons don't win!

BigCrimson75
BigCrimson75

Big boy Burner was matching BM in those days. That's a draw.

Never liked Grimes after he bailed on the Team against NYG.

Hair-Gel rewarded that by "Franchising" him! :(

The BVG experiment contributes heavily in hating Smitty.

That game with Minn woulda come down to Ice v Favre.