January 3, 2011

Apocalypse Seattle

by Dan Bilicki In: Football, Picks

I always used to think that the NFL had the best playoffs system in pro sports. Now, after last night, I’m not so sure.

Because they were able to defeat the 7-8 Rams last night, the Seattle Seahawks clinched themselves not just the NFC West title, or a playoff game at home next, but the title of worst division champion ever.

In fact, the 7-9 Seahawks are the only team in NFL history to win their division with a losing record.

If the Rams had won on Sunday night, at least they would have a .500 record, which is a little bit more forgivable, but still not worthy of hosting a post-season game.

I have championed that the NFL’s playoffs system was the best in pro sports. Unlike hockey and basketball, there were never too many teams. Unlike baseball, there were never too few. And unlike every other sport, the teams that did best in the regular season were rewarded with more than just home-field advantage; they actually get a week off to recover from the brutal season.

This won’t be the first time you’ve heard this and it won’t be the last either, but – while this may just be a fluke exception – you should need at least eight wins to make the NFL playoffs. Also, division champs should not be guaranteed a home game if there’s a wildcard team with a superior record. What sense does it make to reward mediocrity?

I won’t go as far as to say that only the best six teams from each conference – or even the best 12 teams overall – should make the playoffs, because the winners of weak divisions should still get a chance at the playoffs. But they should at least have as many wins as they have losses. Is that asking too much?

This week: 10-6
This season: 138-110-5*

*-I realize that my total doesn’t add up to 256, like it should but I didn’t lines for some games at the time I picked them.

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