Last Sunday, two teams from a lousy division played a game for the right to be in the NFL Playoffs. The Seahawks beat St. Louis and, despite their 7-9 record, they’re now the NFC West champs and part of the 12-team playoff tournament. Their reward is a game against the defending Super Bowl champs.
Every year (for the past few years), March Madness begins with two teams from lousy conferences playing on a Tuesday evening for the right to join the NCAA basketball tournament. It’s called a “play-in” game and the winner gets a date with the top overall seed in the tourney.
Even before this play-in game began, March Madness always included (and usually still does) a couple no-name, lousy basketball teams with won-loss records of 12-18 or 15-17 who either A) managed to get hot at the right time, B) come from bad conferences, or C) both of the above.
When this happens in March Madness, people love it. The underdog! The drama of a 16-seed trying to beat a 1-seed. David vs. Goliath and all that stuff.
For some reason, now that it’s happened in the NFL, people are posting on message boards, calling sports radio, tweeting, Facebooking, writing articles and blog posts and who-knows-what-else about what a joke it is that the Seahawks are in the playoffs, how embarrassing it is, how unfair it is, yadda-yadda-yadda. (Even Seahawks fans are doing this!)
Get over it.
It’s football. It’s a game. It’s not sacred. If you’re offended by a 7-9 team making the NFL playoffs, your priorities are really warped.
If you’re a Seahawks fan, relax and enjoy. They’ll lose by about 25 points, but it’s all good. They won the division. Sure beats the heck out of another 4- or 5-win season, doesn’t it?
I don’t have a problem with a 7-9 team making the playoffs. They played the schedule that was in front of them, and there weren’t any better teams in their division. Fine.
What I DO have a problem with is the fact that they get to HOST A FRICKIN PLAYOFF GAME. Extending the analogy to March Madness, you don’t see Prairie View A&M or Coppin State getting to host UConn, Duke, etc. for the first two rounds. They have to go to a “neutral” site usually in the protected seed’s back yard. If this game were being played in, say, Houston, I’d have no problem with it.
Okay, well now you’re changing the subject a little bit here. What about the other major sports and home-field advantage? Pretty sure in baseball that wild card teams are on the road in the 1st round. NBA … don’t division winners get home court in 1st round even if opponent has a better overall record? And I have no clue how NHL does it.
I have no problem with division winners getting home games. But my main argument in the post was just about deserving to be in or not.
Not changing the subject at all! You brought up the NCAA example, and I think it is extremely analogous. Each conference winner (the low-major auto bids) is equivalent to a low-major division in the NFL (NFC West). I think it’s ridiculous that a better team has to go on the road.
You changed the subject from whether they belong to whether they should have a home game or not. You even opened up by saying you don’t have a problem with them being in the playoffs, then changed the subject. So there!