We talked a little bit about our thoughts on the possibility of an expanded NFL Playoff field on Wednesday when NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell revealed that the idea was under consideration. You can count me amongst those who are strongly opposed to this idea. It sure sounds like Vikings Pro Bowl defensive end Jared Allen is in my camp too (NFL.com via the Saint Paul Pioneer Press):
“It’s stupid,” Allen said of the possibility of adding one or two playoff teams to each conference. “I think that’s a dumb idea. The reason our league is so much better than other leagues, I think, is because of that competition. Every game means something.”
“There’s 162 games in baseball. You’re like, ‘Eh.’ No one really watches until the end, right? Basketball’s the same way. There’s no real significance in every game. I think you damage the sport. … Our games become less significant every week if you know, ‘Oh, I can still lose half my games and sneak into the playoffs.’ “
I couldn’t agree more. Look, I’m not naive, and I certainly don’t think Jared Allen is either. The only reason that the idea of expanding the playoffs is even being considered is because someone in the league office or some team owner thinks that the expansion would bring in a lot of revenue. I get it.
However, the NFL gets the kind of money that it has been getting on these television contracts mainly because fans know that every regular season game is crucial. That is why the NFL consistently beats almost every other kind of programming in television ratings during the regular season. Expanding the playoffs decreases the value of your regular season. Given that, some business people would probably call this expansion idea a form of corporate cannibalism. Don’t bite the hand that feeds you Roger Goodell.