Thursday, December 13, 2012

Possible changes

Okay, I was reading up on the possible elimination of the kickoff.  I am generally a fan of the game as it exists today, but understand the desire to evolve it.  Forget about making it safer - that's just noise.

The idea would be after a TD to give the team that scored the ball at their own 35, and make it 4th and 15.  They can choose to go for it (replacing the onside kick) or punt it away (replacing the kick). 

I'm on the fence.  Yeah, it takes away the job for the kick returner, and perhaps the kickoff specialist.  But it might be more interesting.  I'd be curious to see it tested out somewhere for a couple of games.

The other major change that's being proposed is "expanding the playoffs."  Right now, its the 4 division winners plus 2 wildcards in each division.  So 12 out of 32 teams (37.5% of the teams make the playoffs).  You want to wind up with 2 teams playing for the conference championship, and essentially that means an even number of teams making the tournament.  Or perhaps an odd number with an odd number getting a bye.

Some options:
  • 7 teams with 1 bye (6>3+1>2)  = 43.75% of teams make the playoffs
  • 8 teams with no byes (8>4>2) = 50%
  • 9 with 7 byes (2>7+1>4>2) = 56.25%
  • 10 with 6 byes (4>2+6>4>2) = 62.5%
  • 11 with 5 byes (6>3+5>4>2) = 68.75%
  • 12 with 4 byes (8>4+4>4>2) = 75%
  • 13 with 3 byes (10>5+3>4>2) = 81.25%
  • 14 with 2 byes (12>6+2>4>2) = 87.5%
  • 15 with 1 bye (14>7+1>4>2) = 93.75%
  • or everyone with no byes (16>8>4>2) = 100%
It seems to me that having a reward - a bye - is still a good idea.  But you can't have too many byes.  And you can't have everyone making the playoffs.  I suspect they will simply add one team, because its the path of least resistance, and the math works easiest.  But a 10-team deal with 6 (all division winners plus the two best otherwise) byes would be interesting....

In any case, it seems to me that the interest at this point in the season would be greater.  Imagine that some 6-7, 5-8, and even 4-9 teams would still be in this thing.

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I made this suggestion to Roger Goddell two years ago. I suggested that their is no bye, no one wants a bye a ruin their momentum. But in my suggestion, there will be 4 division winners and 4 wildcards. Just as in the nba, the division winner with the best record faces the wildcard team with the worst record and so on. The 4 winners of those games would face each other with the same scenario of best record and division record. This is the most sensible route. This would add much more excitement to the game and more teams would play harder to reach the postseason because their chances are better. Some team come on strong at the end of the season and just miss the playoffs by a game or two. This new system would eliminate that mishap.