NFL 18 Game Schedule: Could It Fix the Playoffs?

The Nuts and Bolts of the “Enchanced” Season

I have some vacation time this week, so I figured I’d try to shore up the NFL game and solve some of the business issues they’re having. The Nation Football Post has a great series of articles about the NFL’s labor situation, and how it might shake out. Seems the 18 game season is going to happen. Some of the interesting ideas, all of which seem sensible to me:

  • Addition of a second Bye Week
  • Larger Roster Size
  • Change in Vesting Requirements for Pension
  • Increased Roster Size
  • Increased Gameday Roster Size
  • Decreased Offseason Work

For all the details, please read Andrew Brandt’s excellent article at the National Football Post.

Playoff Problems

The sorry state of the NFC West draws attention to the problem of 4 team divisions in each conference. A division goes in the tank and a couple of 10-6 teams miss the playoffs. The Patriots missed the playoffs at 11-5 in 2008 when the AFC West sent the 8-8 Chargers.

The problem as I see it is that 4 teams are too few for a division. Only 6 games are in division. The bulk of the season – 10 games (as presently configured) – is determined outside your division. It seems unreasonable that 62% (67% in an 18-game season) of your

Do we want Steve Spurrier in the playoffs?

schedule lies outside of your division and yet winning your division gets you in automatically. Assuming the Rams win on Sunday they’ll be in the playoffs at 8-8, sporting an in division record of  4-2. Outside their division: 2-6, 6-6 in conference. So the best teams in the conference aren’t going.

That’s a problem. Right now, there are 3 teams in the NFC that have better records than the Rams within the conference (in fact, no matter what happens Sunday, all 3 will finish with better conference records): The NY Giants, Green Bay Packers, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Two of those teams will not make the playoffs. All of them may well win 10 games.

I Say Realign!

I say realign. And the 18 game schedule presents the perfect opportunity to do so. Realign into the 4 divisions of 8 teams each, 2 divisions per conference. And do it simply: merge the East and North Divisions and the South and West divisions of each conference. And give the divisions real names.

National Football Conference

Halas Division

Chicago Bears
Dallas Cowboys
Detroit Lions
Green Bay Packers
Minnesota Vikings
New York Giants
Philadelphia Eagles
Washington Redskins

Rozelle Division

Arizona Cardinals
Atlanta Falcons
Carolina Panthers
New Orleans Saints
San Francisco 49ers
Seattle Seahawks
St. Louis Rams
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

American Football Conference

Rooney Division

Baltimore Ravens
Buffalo Bills
Cincinnati Bengals
Cleveland Browns
Miami Dolphins
New England Patriots
New York Jets
Pittsburgh Steelers

Hunt Division

Denver Broncos
Houston Texans
Indianapolis Colts
Jacksonville Jaguars
Kansas City Chiefs
Oakland Raiders
San Diego Chargers
Tennessee Titans

Playoffs

Playoffs are simple: division winners get automatic bye and home advantage in divisional round. Wildcards are the next 4 best teams in each conference.

NFL Week 17 In Progress: Singletary Out

Singletary-ed Out

Mike Singletary does not have a head coaching job. As it turns out, football requires preparation, practice, effective staff, offensive and defensive game planning, flawless special teams, extensive study of the opposition, and decisive leadership, among other things. It’s very exciting to see all that Rah-Rah emotional, passionate, exuberant stuff. But it just doesn’t get it done in the NFL. In the NFL, the smooth, business-like operations are the ones that fare best. Here’s the plan, execute it or get cut or fired. Or get publicly humiliated by a middling coach if you’re Donovan McNabb.

There’s no plan in San Fracisco. Hasn’t been one in some time. Singletary was not seasoned enough for a head coaching position – he may not have the temperament

Sadly, Divine Intervention Was Not Forthcoming

for it at all. He never should have been hired in the first place – regardless of whether he has what it takes to be a head coach, he certainly didn’t have enough Xs and Os experience.

Great players rarely make very good coaches, and without experience and guidance, they never do. This isn’t any great new idea. More often than not, it’s a fringe guy, one of the ones that really had to bust it to make the team who become great coaches. Why? I think it’s simple: the harder you have to work for it, the better you understand the persistence and preparation required to be successful.

Take a look at Phil Jackson’s playing career. Or Bill Belichik’s (assuming he had one). Now I’m not saying it’s always a lock that just any fringe player can become a Superior Head Coach. I am saying that The Great Talents in sport almost never do. Bart Starr was the Packers’ Head Coach for 9 seasons. He made the playoffs once. Wayne Gretzky coached the Phoenix Coyotes for four seasons and never made the playoffs – in a league in which everyone makes the playoffs.

Conversely, Sean Payton (a 1987 NFL scab, no less) sports a 3 game career NFL Passer Rating of 27.3. Any person who’s never played an NFL game in their life has a 39.6 rating. A 27.3 is so mind-bogglingly poor it defies description. And yet the man surely has at least one more Super Bowl Ring than I have.

To his credit, Jed York says first things first: he’s getting himself a General Manager. That’s a start, and should be of some comfort to Niner Fans.

And after the GM is hired – and assuming the CBA is sorted out – a coach will be selected.

And then a quarterback. The 49ers don’t have one.


"We should have known after this rant."

NFL Week 16 – Eagles Grounded, Game Postponed

The Eagles Sunday Night game has been postponed until Tuesday night, the 27th 28th. This annoys me beyond all reason, primarily because I didn’t particularly want the game “flex’d” to begin with – it was originally scheduled for 1pm.

This Man Can Play in the Snow, Dammit!

And anyway, now I’m a tad embarrassed that we have Minnesota in town and can’t handle a little snow. Well, OK, maybe it’s a lot. Mayor Nutter asked everyone to stay in after about 2pm, which is fine by me.

And I’m not making any picks this week. The Rams and Niners are playing for the division, or the NHL playoffs or whatever, which is shameful. And the Eagles aren’t playing.

So to heck with it.

Merry Christmas, everybody!

Week 15 NFL Picks

Mike “Jerk or Genius” Shanahan Edition

I suppose the only way you can get rid of both Donovan McNabb and Rex Grossman at the end of 2010 is to throw McNabb under the bus, and then to let Grossman actually play. Shanahan was “honest” to a fault when explaining the decision to bascially run over McNabb 4 or 5 times with several buses. No one can explain Mike’s letting Rex Grossman play in an NFL game.

The Real Winner: Andy Reid

Asked for an explanation, Shanahan turned to an impenetrable form of double (possibly triple) talk:

“I think there’s a lot of mistakes that you make. You really don’t know if you made a mistake, but if you do make one, you make it and you go on. What I want to do is evaluate where we’re at at the end of the season, then I will tell you if we erred or not.” (From ESPN).

You said it, Mike. That pretty much sums up the Washington Redskins under Daniel Snyder.

1pm

  • ST. LOUIS -3 over Kansas City. *Shrug* someone has to win.
  • Houston +2 over TENNESSEE. Maybe Jeff Fisher can coach the Broncos into obscurity next year.
  • Jacksonville +4 over INDIANAPOLIS. MJD, MJD, MJD. There. Now try to stop him.
  • Arizona +2½ over CAROLINA. The Panthers are listed as the favorite! Oh I see, they’re playing the Cardinals.
  • Clevlaned PICK EM over Cincinnati. I hate the Bungle. I hope their rebuilding process includes new team colors, uniform design and name.
  • Buffalo +5½ over MIAMI. Yeah, I think Miami will win. 9-6.
  • Philadelphia +3 over NY GIANTS. Giants turn the ball over too much, the Eagles take it away even more. Until that formula changes, I like the Eagles.
  • Dallas -9 over WASHINGTON. The Redskins are the worst organization in football. Not even the Bengals have Bungled everything as badly as Washington has.
  • TAMPA BAY -4 over Detroit. I like this Tampa team, and it starts with their quarterback.
  • New Orleans +2 over Baltimore. I don’t believe in the Ravens.

4pm(ish)

  • SEATTLE +6 over Atlanta. Maybe the Seattle Schizophrenics keep it close.
  • PITTSBURGH -4 over NY JETS. Woe to thee Mark Sanchez, why did you pick now to start doubting yourself?
  • OAKLAND -8 over Denver. Can you imagine the grin on Al Davis’ face if the Raider win 59-14 again?

Sunday Night

  • NEW ENGLAND -14 over Green Bay. I think Green Bay is going to fall out of playoff contention.

Monday Night

  • Chicago -7½ over MINNESOTA. *Yawn* Everybody’s whining about the Field, the Field Conditions, potential for injury, lack of luxury suites, etc.