Those cries of despair you heard after last Sunday’s NFL Divisional Playoff games weren’t from distraught Dallas Cowboys and Indianapolis Colts fans mourning the upsets of their highly touted teams. Rather, it was from professional football fans around the world that now have to settle for a low quality AFC and NFC championship matchups.
Instead of watching Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts defend their Super Bowl title against the undefeated New England Patriots, we’ll be forced to watch a bunch of nobodies try to stop Tom Brady.
And we won’t be wondering if Jessica Simpson will curse Tony Romo into playing poorly against the Green Bay Packers. Instead the other, unheralded Manning (What’s his name? Oh yeah, Eli.) slide around on the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field.
The NFL owes it to its fans to deliver high quality postseason matchups – one with overhyped stories and intriguing rematches that professional football fans live for. To avoid even the possibility of letting down their fans next year, the NFL needs a system where only the best teams are selected to play in the AFC and NFC Championship Games. You know, one where sports writers, coaches, and computers decide what teams are truly worthy to advance to the Super Bowl.
And no one knows better how to pick champions than college football.
Since 1998 college football has used the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) to pick teams to play for the national title with wild success. If the BCS has taught us anything, it’s that many schools simply don’t deserve a shot at upsetting, more highly respected football programs. This year Hawaii got a shot at BCS glory and they were pounded by Georgia 41-10.
Face it: The AFC West was this year’s equivalent of college football’s Western Athletic Conference. Even letting the Chargers play the Colts was an insult to the defending Super Bowl champions. Instead of holding Wild Card and Divisional playoff games, the NFL should have simply let the sports writers take a poll and runs some stats through a computer program or two to determine the best teams.
The results would have undoubtedly put the Colts against the Patriots and the Packers against the Cowboys. These matchups are what every real NFL fan wanted to see this Sunday and the Chargers and Giants would be where they really belong — at home watching the game on TV instead of being anywhere in the vicinity of a football field. Instead, football fans have to settle for games without the hype and interest that computers and sports writers could have given us.
A BCS-type system for the NFL's postseason would have other advantages too. Pitting the two best teams in each conference would guarantee a quality Super Bowl. The way the system is set up right now we could be watching the Giants play the Chargers on February 3.
Please. Not even a glitzy ad with a naked supermodel could get me to watch that game.
And with no Wild Card or Divisional Playoff games to watch we’ll get weeks of incredible, important hype in the papers, television, and online about intriguing quarterback matchups, which athlete is dating which supermodel, and the latest allegations against Randy Moss. The NFL owes its fans high-quality postseason matchups.
Going to a BCS-like system and eliminating the Wild Card and Divisional Playoffs is the only way to ensure exciting, memorable postseason games every year.