Kyle Smedley is a freshman journalism and telecommunications major and writes for The Daily News. His views do not necessarily reflect those of the newspaper.
In wake of the National Football League (NFL) Wild Card results, an obvious issue with the current NFL Playoff model has become clear.
The seven team per-conference model makes for bad competition, as we saw with the Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots combining for a -67 point differential.
Before the American Football Conference (AFC) No. 7 seed Steelers lost to the No. 2 seed Kansas City Chiefs 42-21 Jan. 16, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger told reporters Jan. 12, "We don't have a chance."
The quote from Roethlisberger shows the playoff system needs change.
In the National Football Conference (NFC), the No. 7 seed Eagles lost to the No. 2 seed Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31-15 Jan. 16. Philadelphia went 9-8 in the regular season, but its record is deceptive. The Eagles finished 0-6 against other playoff teams in the regular season.
In the AFC, the No. 6 seed Patriots finished the regular season 10-7 and lost to its AFC East divisional rival and No. 3 seed Buffalo Bills 47-17 Jan. 15. It was the largest playoff loss in 22 years under head coach Bill Belichick.
The NFL playoffs should not expand, but rather shrink.
I believe five teams from each conference should make the postseason. Each division winner receives an automatic bid, while one non-division winner enters as the Wild Card based on record and tiebreakers.
The first seed in each conference would receive a bye, while the other four teams in each conference would play each other based on seeding.
This would increase the level of competition, and good football is the best football.
The No. 6 seed San Francisco 49ers beat the No. 3 seed Dallas Cowboys 23-17 Jan. 16. In comparison to the Eagles, Patriots and Steelers, the 49ers went 10-7 but played in the NFC West division with other playoff teams in the Arizona Cardinals and Los Angeles Rams. The 49ers beat the Rams twice and defeated the Eagles head-to-head 17-11 Sept. 19, 2021.
In my new playoff model, the 49ers would not have made the postseason, which is how sports goes sometimes. Heartbreak comes with the territory (trust me, I’m a Colts fan).
Yes, there is less potential for the huge upset of the No. 7 seed defeating the No. 2 seed. However, more often than not, the No. 7 seed has similar results as the Eagles and Steelers.
My proposal will never happen, as the NFL and its corresponding sponsors and TV networks would laugh at the proposal of less games. However, the NFL and viewers' experience would be much better for it.