NFL Playoffs: Expansion Will Only Reward MediocrityBy Patrick Barber June 12, 2014 7:57 pmDuring the past year, the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell have flirted with the idea of possibly expanding the NFL playoffs from 12 to 14 teams. This would of course add another wild-card team from both the NFC and AFC.In the current system, making the playoffs is not an easy task for teams. An expansion would only water-down the hard work put in by actual playoff deserving teams, and in return would reward mediocre clubs. The current argument for an expansion is that year after year, teams with winning records who deserve a playoff berth are left out. This is rarely true. Since the playoffs expanded to 12 teams, deserving teams have only been left out of the post-season three times. The 2008 New England Patriots who went 11-5, the 2010 Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New York Giants who both went 10-6 (but only one of them could have occupied the 6th seed), and the 2013 Arizona Cardinals who also went 10-6.The Patriots missed the playoffs simply because the AFC was stacked in 2008, and yes an expansion would have been to their benifit, but such instances are extremely rare in the NFL and should not be considered an injustice. Arizona, Tampa Bay, and New York were the only instances in which a true injustice was apparent within the current playoff system. The Cardinals were left out simply because the 8-7-1 Green Bay Packers won their division and Arizona did not. The same thing happened to both Tampa Bay and New York. Seattle won their division, and neither of them did. Division winners being placed above teams with more wins is a flaw, but that is a discussion for another time. A 9-7 record is above .500 and considered to be winning in the NFL, but a team who only wins nine games can be considered mediocre and widely inconsistent. That includes the 2011 New York Giants who went on to win Super Bowl XLVI. However, the Giants were actually the 6th best team in the NFC according to record in 2011, followed by the 8-8 Chicago Bears. Their playoff berth was then legitimate. It is rare to see the 6th best team in either conference hold a 9-7 record. An expansion would likely allow two mediocre, 9-7 teams into the playoffs each year.The expansion would also change the game in regards to playoff seeding. The current system rewards a first-round-bye to the top-two teams in each conference. But with 14 playoff teams, only the number one team from each conference would receive a bye; this is not how it should be. The possibility of receiving a playoff bye as a two-seed fuels competition between conference foes for a much longer period of time. Rewarding competion and success is necesary, but altering a perfectly fine system to reward mediocrity, not so much. Commissioner Goodell may try to make it seem as if he cares about the competitive nature of the game, but playoff expansion will only generate more income for the league. More playoff games mean more tickets, memorbilia sales, and television ratings. But the NFL, a corporation that already generates billions of dollars, should not let their greed pollute the game that so many people love. The NFL should avoid playoff expansion entirely.link
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