The League

Nick Houllis
Buccaneers Blogger

Nick Houllis

Editor of and avid game collector

In need of repair


The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are celebrating tying the franchise's fourth-best record ever (10-6) after this 2010 season; only one year removed from a 3-13 campaign the year prior. That's a seven-game turnaround -- a Buccaneer record. It's been a year of records; rookie wide receiver Mike Williams broke the team's rookie WR TD record of seven and the overall franchise WR TD record with 11 on the season. The Bucs also became the first team since the 1970 merger to post a winning record having started 10 rookies during the year.

Yet the Buccaneers are playing golf on Florida's Gulf Coast while the Seattle Seahawks are getting ready to host a playoff game. Talk about playing under par!

These Seahawks, a full three games under Tampa Bay when you look at it from conference standings, are going to the playoffs two weeks removed from getting pummeled by these same Buccaneers 38-15. In fact, Seattle has lost seven of its last 10 games, and three of the last four by a combined 58 points in those three losses.

Yet they're painting up Qwest Field instead of the New Meadowlands or Raymond James, and that is just wrong. Not because of what I've mentioned so far, no that is not the real travesty. The real problem is the record of the NFC West champion; 7-9.

Seven wins out of 16.

The last place 5-11 Cardinals have the second worse record in the entire NFC, yet they finished only two games out of first place! Clearly a change is needed and it's a change that needs to happen at the top.

The purists of the game will point out it's the first time this has happened in all these years, so no rule changes are needed for something that has happened only once in the decades of pro football. The problem with that line of thinking is, life in the NFL has changed since everything was created. Division games used to mean something before the realignment of 2002. Playing eight division games out of 16 (or 8 of 14 if you go back before 1978 when the rules were all created) is a system where the division contests are to be respected. But when you are only playing six games out of 16 as is done currently, and soon to be six out of 18 if Roger Goodell has his way, a mere 1/3 of all games, then the division contest is not as highly regarded anymore.

I'm not one to preach wholesale changes, but simple common sense can be introduced to prevent something like this from happening again. Seattle is coached by first year coach Pete Carroll who left the college game at USC to coach the Seahawks, so he should understand the principle; Seattle should not have qualified for the playoffs, like an NCAA team does not qualify to be bowl eligible. If you decree that a team cannot have a playoff game with a losing record, that would give the playoff game to the next best team. Also, I propose a winning record should be required to host a playoff game.

If the NFL is going to an 18-game schedule, and it looks like they will, something more drastic will have to be done to preserve the integrity of the game. A realignment of playoff seeding will then be required, as the importance of the division games will be too watered down for what we have now. With the present system, you could have several teams resting their starters several games before the end of the season. If that's the case, all you're doing is transferring your preseason games from August to December.

By Nick Houllis  |  January 5, 2011; 7:55 AM ET  | Category:  NFC , Playoffs , Seattle Seahawks Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Better than BCS | Next: Playoff change we can believe in


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Go Seahawks.

Posted by: stratog | January 5, 2011 11:23 PM

"If you decree that a team cannot have a playoff game with a losing record, that would give the playoff game to the next best team. Also, I propose a winning record should be required to host a playoff game."

Hear Hear!

Posted by: | January 10, 2011 11:19 AM

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