National Slant: ‘Stupid’ to announce playoff expansion too soon

National Slant: ‘Stupid’ to announce playoff expansion too soon
May 25, 2014, 12:30 pm
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Want to agitate fans? Tell them their team’s season was good enough to make the playoffs next year. But not this one.

Mike Florio, Pro Football Talk poobah, was on Quick Slants with me last week and shared a sound reason as to why the league doesn’t want to announce 2015 playoff expansion before the 2014 season.

“They would be stupid to implement playoff expansion for the 2015 season until after the 2014 season has ended,” said Florio. “If you put this thing in place before the 2014 playoffs, the fans of the two teams that otherwise would have (qualified) if the rule was in place this year will not be happy. They won’t understand that a rule that has been put in place isn’t (in effect) until next year. (Fans will argue), ‘Our team should be in this year if they’re gonna expand.’ I believe March of 2015 will be when they implement it.”

Playoff expansion in which a Wild Card team is added in each conference s imminent, it seems. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said at last week’s owners meetings, "I do believe it will be approved for the 2015 (season). I think we want to see one more year of, will it impact the regular season in a positive way from a competitive standpoint? Will it create more excitement, more races toward the end of who's going to qualify for the playoffs?"

I’m not a fan of playoff expansion. The 16-game regular season and playoffs should identify which is the best team over the course of those games. Expanding the field to include two more teams injects too much unpredictability. We’ve seen teams that get hot late but spent a portion of the season sucking knock off teams that were consistently outstanding.

The 2007 Giants, 2008 Cardinals, 2010 Packers, 2011 Giants and 2012 Ravens all got to the Super Bowl and in some cases won it even though none of them won more than 10 regular season games.

Is the allure of an upset great theater? Yeah. But we all know the “any given Sunday” cliché is a truism. And opening the door for a 7-9 team to get in and submarine some superior team on a fluky January afternoon to me – while compelling – sacrifices the integrity of the regular season for a cheap thrill.