Steelers Would Benefit From A Playoff Reseeding Rule Change

Johnson and the rest of the Texans get the #3 seed, even though they've lost 2 in a row and have a worse record than the Steelers. Courtesy nfltouchdown.com

The Steelers need to win this Sunday against the Browns for the other parts of Playoff Scenario Hell to even begin.  For any Steelers fan, the past three weeks have been filled with stress as we pray for a Ravens loss and a Steelers win.  If the Steelers can’t win the division, they will be playing a road game against a team with a worse record.  According to former Ravens coach, Brian Billick, it doesn’t have to be that way.

Brian Billick has turned retirement into a pretty good start in a career in broadcasting.  As a Ravens coach, I didn’t like him but only because he was the Ravens coach.  He was a hundred times the classy guy that Harbaugh is, and so even though I didn’t like him, I could respect him.  Billick contributes to the NFL Network and nfl.com, and yesterday he wrote up his anual plea for the league to change the seeding rules of the playoffs.

I completely agree with this analysis from Billick.  Playoffs should be determined the way they are now – four divisional winners and then two more teams with the better records.  However, reseeding should take place instead of each divisional winner getting a home game.  There are obvious weaker divisions out there – AFC South, AFC West, NFC West.

The Seahawks really bucked the trend when they won the division at 7-9, and that moment last season really put the spotlight on the problems with the playoff seeding as it currently is conducted.  The Saints with a much better record went into Seattle because the Falcons had the better record in the NFC South division.  It was a tough race for both teams, and the Falcons came out on top.  But why should the Saints be essentially penalized for having to duke it out with a division rival and fall short?

The weaker divisions mean a wide open contest for teams within those divisions – good for them.  But can anyone really argue that the Steelers or Ravens deserve to travel to Denver or Oakland (potentially 9-7 teams) who will barely crawl into the playoffs?  The AFC North is easily the hardest division in football.  Especially this year with the Bengals having a bit of a turnaround season.  Two very strong physical teams and a third that can be dangerous at times.  Where else in the NFL do you see a division like that?  You don’t.  Why should teams in really tough divisions get penalized?  I’m sure the Saints have something to say to that too from last year.

This also holds true for the team that will be unfortunate enough to fly into New York or Dallas.  Both teams have struggled and will limp their way into the playoffs.  Yet because neither team since November could decide if they wanted to actually win football games, a better record team, such as the Lions, very well could make the trip to either city.  Hardly fair for them since they’ve had a tough schedule and still made the playoffs for the first time since 1999.

The most ridiculous of all the seedings would be the 10-5 Texans as a #3 seed. The AFC South is one of the weaker divisions aside from the Colts (when there’s a healthy Manning).  Billick wants a change in the seeding because he wants the last game against the Titans to matter.  The Texans will more than likely sit the starters or only play them for a series.  And, more than likely the Texans will lose to the Titans, which hurts teams such as the Jets and Raiders of making a wild card slot.  The Texans will still get the seed and home field against the #4 seed.  Lame.

If the playoffs were re-seeded by record then the AFC seeding would look like this:

#1 Patriots bye and home field throughout

#2 Ravens bye and at least one home field game

#6 Denver vs. #3 Steelers

#5 Bengals vs #4 Texans

A much more favorable situation for the Steelers.  They would have at least the one playoff game at home and then take on the Ravens the following week in Baltimore.

I’m not making this argument for just this moment because the Steelers are getting the short end in home field advantage this time around.  Were the Steelers to be on the other side of the coin – win the North Division but have a worse record than a wild card (highly unlikely with the North, but ok I’ll run with it) – I would still make the same argument.  The team that would have the better record than the Steelers should deserve to have a home playoff game over the division winner with the worse record.  I think the only thing the division gets you is a guaranteed spot in the playoffs, not an advantage over another team with a better record.

Every team fights equally as hard as the other to win the games they do.  Why should one be penalized for it?  The league should seriously consider re-seeding the playoffs.  It will make the games in weeks 16 and 17 matter more to divisional winners already guaranteed a spot (aka force them to play), and it would reward the teams with the better records.  I’m sure I’ve made no friends over this one, but that’s the way I feel about it.

 

 

 

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  • Kimmy

    I couldn’t agree with you more Craig! I was saying the same thing last year when the Saints had to travel to Seattle. Winning your division should only guarantee a spot in the playoffs, not necessarily a home game.

  • Kimmy

    I couldn’t agree with you more Craig! I was saying the same thing last year when the Saints had to travel to Seattle. Winning your division should only guarantee a spot in the playoffs, not necessarily a home game.

  • daddeeekip

    Thats a bunch of bull, the pay off for winning your division is a home game you have earned it. No one cried when the Pats went 11-5 and missed the playoffs. The system is the system and there are teams who are more desrving every year but miss out.

  • craig.nicepickcowher

    @daddeeekip The Pats went 11-5 and missed the playoffs that season (2008) because there were 6 other teams with better records – Dolphins (11-5), Steelers (12-4), Ravens (11-5), Titans (13-3), Colt (12-4), and Chargers (8-8). So what’s your point? You make no sense. The Pats lost all the tie breakers. Sorry dude.

    Based on what I’m proposing for that particular season, the Chargers wouldn’t get the home game because of the divisional win. They would only make the playoffs. So, not really a bunch of bull. You’re just sore because the Dolphins and Chad Pennington won the division that year.

  • craig.nicepickcowher

    @daddeeekip

    The Pats went 11-5 and missed the playoffs that season (2008) because there were 5 other teams with better records – Dolphins (11-5), Steelers (12-4), Ravens (11-5), Titans (13-3), and Colts (12-4). The Chargers (8-8) won their division that year even though they were just .500. So what’s your point? You make no sense. The Pats lost all the tie breakers. Sorry dude.

    Based on what I’m proposing for that particular season, the Chargers wouldn’t get the home game because of the divisional win. They would only make the playoffs. So, not really a bunch of bull – you’ve only reinforced the notion. You’re just sore because the Dolphins and Chad Pennington won the division that year.

  • daddeeekip

    Thats a bunch of bull, the pay off for winning your division is a home game you have earned it. No one cried when the Pats went 11-5 and missed the playoffs. The system is the system and there are teams who are more desrving every year but miss out.

  • craig.nicepickcowher

    @daddeeekip The Pats went 11-5 and missed the playoffs that season (2008) because there were 6 other teams with better records – Dolphins (11-5), Steelers (12-4), Ravens (11-5), Titans (13-3), Colt (12-4), and Chargers (8-8). So what’s your point? You make no sense. The Pats lost all the tie breakers. Sorry dude.

    Based on what I’m proposing for that particular season, the Chargers wouldn’t get the home game because of the divisional win. They would only make the playoffs. So, not really a bunch of bull. You’re just sore because the Dolphins and Chad Pennington won the division that year.

  • craig.nicepickcowher

    @daddeeekip

    The Pats went 11-5 and missed the playoffs that season (2008) because there were 5 other teams with better records – Dolphins (11-5), Steelers (12-4), Ravens (11-5), Titans (13-3), and Colts (12-4). The Chargers (8-8) won their division that year even though they were just .500. So what’s your point? You make no sense. The Pats lost all the tie breakers. Sorry dude.

    Based on what I’m proposing for that particular season, the Chargers wouldn’t get the home game because of the divisional win. They would only make the playoffs. So, not really a bunch of bull – you’ve only reinforced the notion. You’re just sore because the Dolphins and Chad Pennington won the division that year.

  • Pingback: Steelers Would Benefit From A Playoff Reseeding Rule Change | football-feed.com

  • daddeeekip

    @craig.nicepickcowher First off I am a Steelers fan, so no sympathy for the Pats. I am tired of whiny owners who want to change the rules to accomodate their teams shortcomings. First it was the OT rules now they want to change the playoff system to get in.

  • craig.nicepickcowher

    @daddeeekip I get the whiny owner stuff and other rules. But this isn’t about getting into the playoffs. I think teams should get into the playoffs the same way they always have – four division winners then two wild cards. I just feel they should change the seeding to reward teams that have the better records over weaker division winners.

  • daddeeekip

    @craig.nicepickcowher First off I am a Steelers fan, so no sympathy for the Pats. I am tired of whiny owners who want to change the rules to accomodate their teams shortcomings. First it was the OT rules now they want to change the playoff system to get in.

  • craig.nicepickcowher

    @daddeeekip I get the whiny owner stuff and other rules. But this isn’t about getting into the playoffs. I think teams should get into the playoffs the same way they always have – four division winners then two wild cards. I just feel they should change the seeding to reward teams that have the better records over weaker division winners.

  • Kimmy

    @craig.nicepickcowher@daddeeekip

    I’m not sure if you’re even remembering 2008 correctly. The Pats missed the playoffs with an 11-5 record and EVERYONE cried. That was all anyone could talk about during those AFC playoffs was the travesty of the Patriots not getting in with an 11-5 record. Craig wasn’t saying that division winners weren’t entitled to a playoff spot, just that they shouldn’t be entitled to a home playoff game. Winning a division is a major accomplishment, no matter how crappy or difficult that division may be so it should be rewarded with a playoff spot. Even with re-seeding, the Pats would have still missed out that year. There’s no reason to keep things the same just because that’s how it’s always been done. If it can improve the quality of the playoffs and make the end of the regular season more meaningful, it’s worth considering.

  • Kimmy

    @craig.nicepickcowher@daddeeekip

    I’m not sure if you’re even remembering 2008 correctly. The Pats missed the playoffs with an 11-5 record and EVERYONE cried. That was all anyone could talk about during those AFC playoffs was the travesty of the Patriots not getting in with an 11-5 record. Craig wasn’t saying that division winners weren’t entitled to a playoff spot, just that they shouldn’t be entitled to a home playoff game. Winning a division is a major accomplishment, no matter how crappy or difficult that division may be so it should be rewarded with a playoff spot. Even with re-seeding, the Pats would have still missed out that year. There’s no reason to keep things the same just because that’s how it’s always been done. If it can improve the quality of the playoffs and make the end of the regular season more meaningful, it’s worth considering.

  • daddeeekip

    @craig.nicepickcowher Here is why I disagree with you and Kimmy on this. Lets say the Steelers finish 10-6 and win the AFCN, but the Colts finish 11-5 but are wild card team. With the reseeding you are talking about would you want to play away game against Peyton in the dome or would you want him in the cold of a noisy Heinz field. Right now when your on top of the fence its easy to want the change but sooner than or later it will come back to haunt you. Leave the system alone and keep it so the strong has to survive. Remember it was the STEELERS to be the 1st 6th seed to win the SB.

  • daddeeekip

    @craig.nicepickcowher Here is why I disagree with you and Kimmy on this. Lets say the Steelers finish 10-6 and win the AFCN, but the Colts finish 11-5 but are wild card team. With the reseeding you are talking about would you want to play away game against Peyton in the dome or would you want him in the cold of a noisy Heinz field. Right now when your on top of the fence its easy to want the change but sooner than or later it will come back to haunt you. Leave the system alone and keep it so the strong has to survive. Remember it was the STEELERS to be the 1st 6th seed to win the SB.

  • craig.nicepickcowher

    @daddeeekip Like I said in the article, I would want this reseeding even if it meant the Steelers lost a home game to a team with a better record and had to play on the road. As a fan I should have enough faith that this team could roll into any stadium during the playoffs and win – we all have to do it this season.

    That 2006 playoff run that you speak of would probably have benefitted the Jags the most. Steelers would still have played an away game against the Bengals and throughout. However, the Jags would have played a now 6th seeded Pats in Jacksonville instead of in New England. But putting the Pats as a sixth seed as the worse off 10-6 record (but divisional winners) would have meant no home games in New England. Which is a big deal to that team. Should the Pats still win against the Jags, they would then be off to the Colts while the Steelers would have headed to Denver. Different scenarios that could have ended up with a different Championship game based on home field advantage…. or not. I still think the Steelers were destined to win out in the playoffs and take home the Lombardi.

  • craig.nicepickcowher

    @daddeeekip Like I said in the article, I would want this reseeding even if it meant the Steelers lost a home game to a team with a better record and had to play on the road. As a fan I should have enough faith that this team could roll into any stadium during the playoffs and win – we all have to do it this season.

    That 2006 playoff run that you speak of would probably have benefitted the Jags the most. Steelers would still have played an away game against the Bengals and throughout. However, the Jags would have played a now 6th seeded Pats in Jacksonville instead of in New England. But putting the Pats as a sixth seed as the worse off 10-6 record (but divisional winners) would have meant no home games in New England. Which is a big deal to that team. Should the Pats still win against the Jags, they would then be off to the Colts while the Steelers would have headed to Denver. Different scenarios that could have ended up with a different Championship game based on home field advantage…. or not. I still think the Steelers were destined to win out in the playoffs and take home the Lombardi.