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NFL considers shaking up seeding system for playoffs

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  • NFL considers shaking up seeding system for playoffs

    NFL considers shaking up seeding system for playoffs
    By Jim Thomas

    Wild-card teams could be seeded as high as No. 3 in their conference and thus have a home playoff opener if an NFL competition committee proposal is approved by league owners next week in West Palm Beach, Fla.

    Under the proposal, the two division winners with the best won-lost records still would be seeded Nos. 1-2 in each conference and receive first-round playoff byes.

    But the four other playoff qualifiers in each conference — the two remaining division champions and the two wild-card teams — will then be seeded according to won-lost records.

    "This is something we've talked about now, I'd say, going on five to six years," Atlanta President Rich McKay said on a conference call Wednesday. "I think it goes back to when we went to eight divisions of four (teams). We were extremely nervous about the fact that you could have a division or two that's extremely weak one year or another, and create an imbalance as to who should qualify for the playoffs."

    The realignment that McKay spoke of took place prior to the 2002 season, when the league went from three divisions to four in each conference. If the new seeding process is approved, it might cut down on the number of meaningless games at the end of the season — games in which a team's playoff berth and seeding already were determined.

    "To make as many games competitive as we can late in the year ... I think this would be a good thing for the league," said McKay, who is co-chair of the competition committee. "The potential re-working of playoff seeding can motivate coaches late in the year — based on seed and potential home game or non-home game — to have more games that count late in the year."

    Under the current seeding system, the two division winners per conference that don't get first-round byes are guaranteed either the No. 3 or No. 4, which brings with it a home game in the first round of the playoffs. The two wild-card teams per conference can only get a No. 5 or No. 6 seed, and are guaranteed a road game to open the playoffs under the current system.

    The home team has won nearly 58.4 percent of the time in the wild-card round since realignment in 2002.

    If the proposed seeding change had been in place over that time, playoff seeding would have been different in four of the six seasons. Last season, for example, the Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Giants would have gotten home games instead of road games as wild-card teams.

    (Playing on the road didn't matter much because both the Jaguars and Giants won their playoff openers last season — and the Giants went on to win the Super Bowl.)

    McKay doesn't think the new seeding proposal will diminish the importance of winning the division.

    "No, because I think the major thing you want to accomplish when you go into the year is win your division," McKay said. "And the reason you want to win your division is you know that gets you to the playoffs. So in my mind, in no way have we touched that."

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    Make America Great For Once.

  • #2
    why the hell not?


    • #3
      Bout time.
      Make America Great For Once.