NFL Parity Rewards Mediocrity

Saints QB Drew Brees

The NFL playoffs get under way with Wildcard Weekend kicking off today, and in addition to the promise of an entertaining game between the Indianapolis Colts and the New York Jets on Saturday, football fans will be subjected to the travesty of watching the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints taking an 11-5 record on the road to play the pathetic 7-9 Seattle Seahawks.

You read that correctly: A team with a losing record is hosting a playoff game against a team with a winning record. This is happening because the Seahawks play in the NFC West, a division that can charitably be called “weak.” But despite the level of competition, just because Seattle won the division it automatically qualifies for a home playoff game. This is embarrassing. You know it, I know it, and the league knows it. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told ProFootballTalk Live that the situation is sparking a review of the seeding process in the coming offseason.

“This is something that we’ll look at again,” Goodell said. “We looked at it a few years ago. The strong view of the clubs was that you should win your division and if you win your division, you should be rewarded with a home game. There is another view that winning your division should automatically get you into the playoffs and into the postseason, but that it should not automatically reward you with a home game. That is something that will continue to be debated. We will look at that this offseason. Let’s let the playoffs play out here a little bit and try to understand what the ramifications are rather than reacting to a specific circumstance.”

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