Originally posted by PTulini:
Honestly, I think it's hilarious! I was cracking up while reading it. He does make a valid point. The NFC West is an inferior division right now, but he leaves out one thing. Over the past 10 years, (he starts referencing in 2002) 3 of the 4 NFC West teams (Rams, Seahawks, and Cardinals) have represented the NFC in the Super Bowl! Records don't really matter once you're in the playoffs. Everyone starts fresh from the beginning. Win or go home.
However, I am in favor of a realignment like he suggested, but I would go back to the old format. (AFC/NFC East, Central, and West divisons) Will it ever happen again? I doubt it, but I would like to see it.
I think the realignment would help. It would weed out those weaker teams that make the playoffs. The 6 divisions could make the NFL stronger. We would also still have a Wildcard team in each conference. (8 teams would make the playoffs) Or have 2 Wildcard teams in each conference, then they could play each other to advance. Does that make sense?
I´m afraid your preferred solution would not work. Six divisions will be bad in todays NFL simply because we have 32 teams now. That would mean two divisions would have more teams than the other ones, which is not an ideal solution.
Also, how would less divisions automatically eliminate weaker teams from the playoffs? Take this hypothetical five-team division, a West coast
division merged from the AFC and NFC West: Niners, Raiders, Chargers, Seahawks, Cardinals. Geographically, it would totally make sense.
The way it is right now, the Chargers would be the favorite in that division in most peoples mind, but that division would be a torn Philipp Rivers ACL away from being wide open, besides, it´s not like the Chargers never had times when they also sucked. Now I would consider every team in this division flawed (even the Chargers with a healthy Rivers), so I could totally see a supposed "weak" team emerging from that division victorious or even as a wildcard
, because they could pad their W-L inside their weak division.
Eight playoff teams will not happen as well
. That format would eliminate a week of playoff games (the wild-card round) and no way in hell the NFL will give up an entire week of playoff buzz, ticket sales and TV and news coverage.
In your scenario, the way the weaker teams would be eliminated from the playoffs would not be by division realignment, but by reducing playoff spots, which as I said will not happen, if only for simple economic reasons.
And I want to repeat what I said earlier in this thread: Those things are cyclical and I believe they will even themselves out over time. A huge part of divisions are division rivalries and those would be diluted by bigger divisions because of scheduling problems.
In my mind, there are only two real solutions to eliminate all those "weak division winner" and "undeserving playoff team" problems once and for all and I do not believe you guys will like either of them:
-Much, much more games
. I am not talking about 18 instead of 16 games, I was thinking more about going in the direction of European soccer league teams, which crack 40 games easily with international games and such. A big number of games statistically evens out "fluke" games and tends to separate the strong from the weak teams better, especially since the strong teams get more chances to beat up weak teams. To make that really work however, you need a pretty big sample of games, around 30 and up, like most European soccer leagues do in league play. I cannot imagine that working in the NFL at all
, but technically, it would work
(And by the way, be glad the first example that crossed my mind was neither the NBA nor the MLB
-Eliminate divisions completely
. No AFC, NFC, no West, East, nothing. Just all teams pitted against each other, playoff seeding will be determined by W-L record overall. Again, this is the way European soccer works, but then again, it works better with more games, because otherwise you would have to find some really odd means to separate all those 10-6 and 11-5 teams for playoff seeding, similar to how the draft is ordered. That would be the "fairest" measure, in my opinion, but as I said, it works better with more games as well and also, I am pretty sure nobody had that in mind when they talked about division realignment
Long, short story
(or the tl;dr
-I am afraid your idea will not work
-six divisions will not work again because of 32 teams: imbalanced divisions
-eight playoff teams will not work because it means less playoff games, less playoff money
In my mind, only two real solutions, neither one of them truly workable:
-Much more games
, more in the range of European soccer, 30 and up, will not work for NFL football, only technically a solution
-No divisions at all
, playoff seeding strictly with W-L record, no conferences either. Works better with more games as well (because of big number of similar W-L), might be way too radical a solution
Sorry about the long rant, I hope someone actually reads this
And don´t complain about the solutions, I told you guys you will not like them, you have been warned