Whenever I read an article about changing NFL playoff seeding, like this one, the argument is always the same. It revolves around the unfairness of an eight and eight division winning team hosting a playoff game with a twelve and four wild card team.
Personally, I get it. I am on the side that thinks, yes division winners should get an automatic playoff berth but NOT an automatic home game. The seedings should be decided by record. However, it is quite apparent that the powers that be in the NFL do not agree and are not about to change the rule.
But here is the argument I have not seen or heard made that can do the trick. By seeding teams without regard to division or wild card status, you potentially create more meaningful games during the regular season. For example, once a team’s playoff position is locked they may begin resting players. So, an 8-7 team that has clinched the division can rest players on a final Sunday of the regular season, as could a 9-6 team that clinched the wild card, if their seeding were locked based on the current format.
However, if seeding were based on won/loss record and the wild card team held a tie breaker over the division winner, than both teams have something to play for in the final game of the season.
If you have this going on in both conferences, you conceivably create a lot more meaningful games down the stretch of the season. Arguably for the last two or three games of the season it becomes something for the fans, media and teams to watch. Probably drives up ratings and revenue for games.
Now we’re talking the NFL’s language! This is how we get the league to seriously consider changing the seeding system.