When I said that there is nothing wrong with Football in a previous blog-post, I may have been exaggerating just a little bit. There seem to be a couple things wrong, at least so far as we can see, going in to the postseason.
One of them may not be, in this reporter’s opinion, the Seahawks making the playoffs at below .500. If the NFL maintains that six out of the sixteen games played every year are going to be played among your 1/8 of the league, then those games should really count. My point is that Seattle really did make them count. Every sport rewards the division winners, too. Baseball only has one wild card in each league. And the NBA has started to say that the other division winner in a conference cannot be any lower than the three-seed. There has got to be some reward for winning within the configuration you’ve been set up in. Even in my favorite sport to play, Ultimate, the tournaments have play set up so that the winner in each “pool” automatically advances to the next round. (Well, usually.) So that makes the football season like one long tournament, in a sense. I don’t feel sorry for the Giants, a 10-6 team who didn’t make the playoffs, either. If they had won any of the games in weeks 14-16, they would be in. (And we all know they should have beaten the Eagles in week 15.) Any of the teams that have a better record than the Seahawks would have made the playoffs if they’d played better within the division. (Except the Raiders, apparently, who forgot there was any football to be played outside it.) But none of these are the real problem with the playoffs. The problem is people failing to recognize this reasoning. If there’s going to be regional alignment, teams are always going to play down to or up to the teams they play most often.
Having covered the topic of people’s perceptions of the playoffs, let’s now find one that needed fixing and actually got it. I’m referring of course to the overtime situation. Personally, I couldn’t have been more psyched up when I heard about the new overtime rules in the postseason. Despite my dislike of the Vikings, it did seem disappointing to me that Favre couldn’t have had one more opportunity to throw an inter- I mean, game-winning touchdown to send the Vikings to the Super Bowl. (Where they would have inevitably choked.) But to be fair, I think that the NFL should consider putting this rule in for the whole season. For those living under a football-shaped rock for the last year, the new rules are as follows. A first-possession field goal cannot win the game. Any touchdown automatically wins the game. The combinations in the decisions this could lead to are intriguing. Many of the coaches were opposed to these new rules, because it would force them to consider a whole new set of strategies. I think their thinking is flawed for a couple reasons. The situation these rules set up aren’t that different to a second-to-last possession in a tied game at the end of regulation. Secondly, new rules are always going to be tough to adjust to, as were the ones in the past (the forward pass, maybe?). But they will deal with it, and the next generation of coaches will just grow up with it.
I’ve been thinking about this recently, and I feel as though the NFL is going to be wreaking havoc in ways unbeknownst to them, due to some unfortunate scheduling. As of the last few years, it has begun to schedule the Super Bowl in February. As long as the Super Bowl hasn’t been played yet, many are still on their holiday season clocks as far as school, church, food, sleep and the rest, and quite honestly, than it itself would be enough to wear people out. The problem I’ve come upon is that, due to some fans’ fanaticism, many are bound to make crucial life decisions after their team has won the Super Bowl. But a wise teacher of mine from high school, Mr. Tom Cody, once taught me that you should never make any major life decisions during this month. There is some very sound reasoning for this. You are smack dab in the middle of winter, school or work or whatever it is are probably dragging along by now, your emotions are all mixed up because of this and you’re probably coming down from the high of the holiday season. So I don’t know if you’ll be able to measure it quantitatively, but I would guess that there might be an uptick in poor life decisions after this year’s big game. But I suppose that happens every year.
Enjoy the rest of your holiday (read: Super Bowl and NFL playoffs) season.