Is it me or does it just seem wrong to let potentially .500 teams make the playoffs while 10 win teams are getting sent home? Don't we want the best of the best in the playoffs and not just the winner of a sorry division?The following was a sporting news article from November that I have altered slightly to bring it up to date.
I thought this article brought up some good points. Personally I wouldn't mind going back to the 6 divisions.thoughts?The current NFL structure screams neat, tidy, and safe. Two conferences, four divisions each. Four teams per division. As a result, one of each of those four teams secures an automatic berth in the playoffs every year, with two wild-card spots available for the field of 12 second-place (and, in some years, third-place) teams. The present alignment also favors a convenient scheduling formula, which ensures every team will play every other team at least once every four years, and that every team will host every other team at least once every eight years. Competitively, however, the use of eight four-team divisions creates a periodic train wreck. This season, for example, the most deserving champion of the AFC West currently isn't Denver or San Diego or Oakland or Kansas City, but "none of the above." The current eight-by-four system also makes expansion less likely. With only four teams in each division, it's too easy for a team with seven losses to win a division and host a playoff game. In the past four years, it's happened three times. In the final 13 years of the old six-division format, seven loss was good enough for a division championship only three times. So let's go back to three divisions per conference and award three wild cards, like it used to be. Gone would be the North and the South divisions, replaced by a resurrected AFC and NFC Central. The Colts would return to the AFC East, the Jaguars and Titans would be shipped back to the AFC Central. The Seahawks would flock to the AFC West, and the Texans would be shipped to the NFC. In the NFC, a major geographical shakeup would be needed, since there are only a few teams truly in the "West." At a time when there's talk of "reseeding" the playoff field to prevent a situation where, a 12-4 team would go on the road to play a 9-7 team, it makes sense to reduce the number of teams that get automatic home games based solely on being the best (or least bad) of a four-team group, and to award more wild-card berths to the best of the teams that don't win their division. Apart from screwing up the current scheduling formula, this approach would result in more games within the division, and thus fewer opportunities to play other teams. But with a two-game expansion to the season coming, the fact that most teams would play two more division games makes it a wash. And a return of the three-division approach also would allow opportunities for gradual expansion of the league. With two six-team divisions and four with five, there would be space for four more teams. The chances of any of this happening is slim. But it's a far better approach than the notion of reseeding. The mere fact reseeding even is on the table tells us that folks in the NFL realize there's something wrong with automatically guaranteeing a playoff spot to one of four not-so-good teams.