Time to Change the NFL Playoff Seeding Structure, Again

We went over this last season when Roger Goodell said there would be some talks about revising the playoff seeding structure. The proposed revision would ensure that wild card teams with a better record would have home field advantage over division winners with worse records. I’m not suggesting we do away with division champions so teams like the 11-5 Patriots would get into the playoffs over the 8-8 Chargers because I agree with the proximity, rivalries, and interest the division battles create. However, I still wonder why a 12-4 team like the Colts should travel to the 8-8 Chargers home field for their Wild-Card Round playoff game.

In the this year’s playoffs alone, we’d see two changes in game locations for the Wild-Card Round if the seeding were done by record. Not only would the Colts rightfully be hosting the Chargers, but the 11-5 Falcons would be hosting the 9-7 Cardinals. Just merely making it into the playoffs by virtue of a weak division is a good enough gift. Why also reward all division winners with higher seeds than the teams that posted better regular season records? In reality, teams like the Steelers and Giants can come along and run through every team in the playoffs on the road, but it’s rare. Home field matters — there’s a reason why it’s a huge advantage in the NFL. If a team had earned a better record than another, they should be rewarded with a home game. Simple as that.

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  • SpinMax

    I’m with you on those ideas, division winners should still be in, but the
    seeding/home field should be based on records alone.

  • Tim

    As it turns out, the Titans, who went 13-3 and had the best season record in the NFL, have to play the 11-5 Ravens — the remaining non-bye team with the BEST record. That doesn’t seem quite right, either — Tennessee should be playing the 8-8 Chargers.

    It’s not quite as bad in the NFC, but the Giants should be playing the Cardinals, who had a worse record (albiet only slightly — a loss instead of tie) than the Eagles.

    The bye teams should be division winners and seeded 1-2. But seeds 3-6 should be based strictly on record, with the higher-seeded team in each game getting the home game.

    I don’t have a problem with winning the division being the first tie-breaker for seeding and home-field purposes (the Dolphins – Ravens game still would have been played in Miami, since Miami won their division and the Ravens didn’t).

    But, will the NFL owners seriously look at any change to the playoff seeding?