How Do Steelers Fans Like Idea Of Playoff Expansion?
The Steelers won the AFC North and were playoff bound in 2014.
The AFC North has a habit of sending two if not three teams out of six to the playoffs each season. It’s one of the more consistent divisions in the league, but (last year aside) the Steelers have missed the playoffs lately.
The league, and more specifically league commissioner Rodger Goodell, have toyed with the idea of expanding the playoffs to include 14 teams instead of the usual 12.
Pro Football Focus reported some thoughts from New York Giants co-owner John Mara. He feels (and alludes that others do too) that there’s no real reason not to expand the field.
"We did not believe that there were any competitive reasons not to do it. Not all of us are crazy about it, but competitively, the only thing that bothers us is the fact that only one team in each conference would get a bye, which gives them somewhat of an advantage. But we’ve seen in the past that the number one seed doesn’t always make it through to the Super Bowl."
Sounds like the TV package for the extra game is out for bid starting at the beginning of 2016, so we might just see this expansion as early as the 2016 season. For better or worse, it looks like we’re going to get the expansion that
What does it mean for the Steelers?
That kind of expansion would have put the Steelers in the playoffs back in 2013 when a missed Kansas City Chiefs field goal sent the Steelers to their couches and the Chargers in the final 6th seed slot.
So there’s a valid argument that would have helped the Steelers avoid missing the post-season for a second consecutive season.
The expansion doesn’t really affect home field advantages, but like what Mara said, the second seed would not have a bye – as they would need to play the 7th seed. Goodell has been trying to sell this as a potential for the 2nd seed to have five straight home games – a rather nice carrot unless you are the Jaguars…
I’m still skeptical of this whole thing.
There are other instances where the expansion wouldn’t have mattered at all. Could it be a way to smooth over things with sucky divisions?
An expanded playoff field would certainly easy the bitter bite of a sub-.500 division winner (like Seattle’s 2011 season) making the playoffs while other teams from other divisions with far better records missing out.
Bottom line, it’s just about the money for the NFL. The teams will need to adjust when it happens.
There’s little evidence to suggest that this will ‘water down’ the league and the playoff potency. Until they see TV ratings sag and jersey sales suffer, Goodell will keep pushing the envelope.
What are your thoughts?
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