A little news came out over the past couple days, maybe you heard about it. The NFL owners and Players Union are meeting to discuss terms on the next collective bargaining agreement (CBA). They’re meeting to hammer out some of the big problems the league is facing, like how Goodell rules over everything with an iron fist and an aluminum head, how the refs are having bigger and bigger impacts on important games, and dealing with the fallout from angry mother’s over this past Superbowl’s halftime show that launched 1,000 boners (and lady boners for the ladies) and sent countless young boys (and girls) running to their rooms for a little quality time with themselves to hash out these confusing feelings. Perhaps this new CBA will truly look to make the small changes needed to make the game better, more enjoyable to watch, and more beneficial for the people who actually play it and not just the money hungry owners.
I’m just fucking with you, the owners are actually pushing to completely change the playoff format, increase the regular season to 17 games, and shorten the preseason to three games. Under the new proposal, seven teams from each conference would make the playoffs instead of six. Only one team from each conference would be awarded a bye week, meaning there would be six games on Wild-Card Weekend instead of four, with three on Saturday and three on Sunday. There are talks this new playoff format could be installed as early as THIS UPCOMING FUCKING SEASON. The 17-game season is forecasted to take effect for the 2021 season. I’m just about ready to carve ‘Brooks was here’ into my wooden rafters before kicking my chair over and embracing the gentle embrace of the rope.
Who wanted this? I’ve seen people defend this by saying, “Well, you know if this rule was in place last year the Steelers and Rams would have made it in as the 7th seeds, isn’t that sweet!” Oh yes, the powerhouse 8-8 Steelers led by Duck Hodges and the juggernaut 8-8 Rams led by Sean McVay’s marionette and the corpse of Todd Gurley. Those teams definitely deserved to get in, so we could watch them get slaughtered by the Chiefs and Packers, respectively.
I’ve also seen people saying how more football is never a bad thing, but that’s not true. How many awful Thursday Night games have you forced yourself to sit through because someone on your fantasy team was playing? How many boring ass blowouts do we get every year? The playoffs are supposed to be the best of the best, the teams that fought and clawed their way to a playoff berth. It’s easy to think that six seeds always have a change after seeing the Titans take down the Patriots and Ravens on their way to the AFC Championship, but newsflash, six seeds usually don’t make a ton of noise in the playoffs, let alone make a run to the Superbowl. In fact, the Titans are only the SIXTH six seed to make it to the Conference Championship since the NFL expanded the playoffs to six seeds in 1990 (which I would have undoubtedly been ripshit about), joining the 2005 Steelers (won Superbowl), 2008 Ravens (lost to Steelers), 2008 Eagles (lost to Cardinals), 2010 Packers (won Superbowl), and those motherfucking 2010 Jets (lost to the Steelers and cursed to Hell).
So why do we need to open up the playoffs to a seventh seed? Do we really need more 8-8 or 7-9 teams in the playoffs? The playoff format is perfect the way it is. You win your division, you’re in. You don’t win your division, there are two more spots you can fight and claw you’re way into to make the playoffs. Why make it easier for teams to make it in? This new format does not make the game more interesting, it just opens the door for more bad teams to sneak into the playoffs. This is one of the biggest problems with the NBA, where .500 or even sub -. 500 teams frequently make the playoffs to be served as sacrificial lambs to the better teams, and in essence waste everyone’s time. The NFL wants to waste our time, and I’m not for it.
Not to mention how much of an advantage this would give to the one seed, the only team to get an all-important bye week. The top two teams should get a fucking bye week, they earn that right by finishing as the two best teams in their conference. So now the one seeds get the double bonus of an extra week off and homefield throughout the playoffs. The second seeds deserve a bye week. If there’s a runaway freight train of a team barreling ahead to the one seed at least you can still hope your team can get that two seed and a bye week. That week off is a GAME CHANGER. As Patriots fans we know this well, they have never made it to the Superbowl, let alone won one, without the bye week. You fight your way to a top two finish, you earn a week off.
We all know the real reason this change is being proposed. It’s not to better the game, it’s not to allow more teams a chance at the playoffs, it’s to stuff even more money into the wallets of the billionaire owners. Same for the pointless 17th game of the regular season, which can go right on and suck my grapes. Fuck off with your one extra game, what’s the point?! “WHAT’S THE FUCKING POINT”, he screams into the everlasting void.
What does a 17th game do, besides give teams like the Jags, Lions, Bengals, or Jets a chance to go 5-12? For a league that claims they’re all about safety, adding another week of players getting their heads bashed in before forcing more teams to play in the playoffs seems like a silly way of going about things. Plus, since I am a nerd, it’ll make it that much easier for players to break records and that annoys me. If you want to add another week, why not do what a bunch of sensible and intelligent people have suggested online and add another bye week. Teams would get two weeks off during the season instead of one. You can spread them out more, players would have an extra week off to heal up or avoid getting hurt, and you can still play 16 games but make it an 18 week regular season. Owners would make more money, players would enjoy an extra week off, and fans would get another week of football with the same amount of games. It makes so much sense it’s no surprise they haven’t instituted it.
None of this makes the game better. It throws a frickin’ bone to all those shitbag teams that couldn’t pull their sacks out of the dirt and make it to the playoffs on their own merit. And what can we do about it? The NFL knows they have the fans by the pubes (or ass hairs if you’re into landscaping). I know for a fact I’ll have my ass planted in the couch for Wild Card Weekend, my 36oz chilled mug in one hand and a bucket of lard covered pork fat in the other, shoving handfuls of slop into my vast gullet while my eyes melt into jelly from staring at the TV for hours on end. Am I going to lie to you good people and say I’ll boycott? I’m not a revolutionist. I’m not that strong. I have to cheer my 2 seeded Patriots on to ring #7. If I’m Kraft there’s no way I vote yes on this, for the sheer fact that every Superbowl DVD is called ‘3 Games to Glory.’ That’s six DVDs in my collection with that name for those keeping score at home. So now for number seven you’re gonna have to change it to ‘4 Games to Glory?’ Get fucked.
Damn kids and their shit taste in playoff formats.