With the Ravens facing the possibility of starting the playoffs on the road should they lose to the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday -- the Pittsburgh Steelers would have to win their game Sunday, too -- the topic of playoff re-seeding is relevant. There’s a chance the Ravens could finish 11-5, which would still be the AFC’s third-best record, and start the playoffs on the road against the AFC West champs (Denver Broncos or Oakland Raiders).
The NFL’s current system puts the emphasis on teams winning their divisions. This year, an 8-8 team from the AFC West could host the runner-up from the AFC North. And as we saw last year when the New Orleans Saints traveled to Seattle for the wild-card round and lost to the 7-9 Seahawks, it might not be the fairest playoff format.
In an opinion piece for NFL.com this week, former Ravens coach Brian Billick advocated for a format change.
Billick believes the current system, while it rewards teams for winning their divisions, should be changed. The four division winners and two wild-card teams would still make the playoffs in each conference if Billick were to get his way, but he would like to see the six playoff teams in each conference be seeded by their records.
“The argument for the current system seems to be a singular one -- that there needs to be a substantial incentive to win a division, thus guaranteeing at least one home game,” Billick wrote. “The fear is that winning a division will diminish in importance if that carrot is removed. Really? A pass into the playoffs where everyone is alive isn't enough incentive to put your best effort out there? The opposite is true. If the playoffs were reseeded, you would see an additional two or three games, going into the last weekend, have more meaning.”
You tell me: What are your thoughts on changing the playoff re-seeding format and do you buy Billick’s logic?