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#pounditThursday, February 9, 2023

Joe Buck, Troy Aikman want to change 1 thing about the NFL playoff picture

Troy Aikman and Joe Buck in the booth

Joe Buck and Troy Aikman want to change one thing about the NFL playoff picture, though it’s not what you would expect.

During the second quarter of the Week 12 “Monday Night Football” game between the Indianapolis Colts and Pittsburgh Steelers, ESPN shared a graphic regarding the AFC playoff picture.

The graphic showed the seven current playoff teams: conference leader (Kansas City Chiefs), division leaders (Miami Dolphins, Tennessee Titans, Baltimore Ravens), and wild card teams (Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, New York Jets). For the final category of teams that are close to the playoffs but not currently in, the graphic used the term “in the hunt.” The New England Patriots, Los Angeles Chargers and Indianapolis Colts were considered to be “in the hunt.”

It was that phrasing that Buck and Aikman questioned.

“Doesn’t matter what network we work for, that’s the only phrase that anybody’s ever come up for. ‘In the hunt,'” Buck said.

“Let’s see if we can’t change that by next week,” Aikman said.

“Sniffing around,” Buck said.

“Put our crack creative team to work on that one,” Aikman said.

“I like ‘sniffing around,'” Buck reiterated as his suggestion for a replacement.

One network started using that term, then others did it too, and before long, it became the only way to describe NFL teams that are not currently in the playoffs, but still have a chance of making it.

Is “in the conversation” any better? In college basketball, they’re called “bubble teams,” which is the same concept.

Get ready for a “still alive” graphic next week on “Monday Night Football.” Or if Buck has his way, maybe that column will say “sniffing around.”

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