Football Would Never be the Same if They Listened to Me

Sometimes the voices in my head tell me to write blogs about ideas that seem to make sense to me but generate a lot of hate comments from those who don’t embrace change as I do. I’ve found that some people won’t even read a whole post, let alone try to understand it, before launching all the verbal missiles in their arsenal. Here are two of my blogs that did just that.

Field

I wrote the first blog on DailyKos in 2006 when everybody was talking about Peak Oil. The idea was to realign the NFL Divisions so that teams in the same Division would be geographically close to each other, thus minimizing travel. Here is the idea with some minor edits. You can find it in its original form at https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2006/2/5/184670/-Football-and-Peak-Oil. Better yet, here’s a new version of the same idea by Danny Kelly at https://www.theringer.com/nfl/2017/8/18/16165712/how-to-fix-nfl-divisions.

I was just killing time, waiting for the 2006 Super Bowl to start, when I had the thought,

What would happen to football in the future if the scarcity and high cost of oil makes routine, long-distance travel an extravagant business expense?

Would the NFL realign their teams to, basing divisions on geography rather than traditional rivalries, to minimize travel and foster regional fan interest? Not likely. They just realigned a few years ago and did make some positive changes, like moving the Arizona Cardinals out of the NFC East. But, by and large, they kept the same structure based on the old NFL-AFL structure. Millennials don’t even remember what the AFL was.

How critical is this traditional NFL-AFL structure? Consider the history of today’s (this was originally written in 2006) Super Bowl teams. The Pittsburgh Steelers are representing the AFC. They were originally formed in the NFL in 1933 as the Pirates, and renamed the Steelers in 1941. When the NFL and AFL merged in 1970, they became part of the AFC Central Division. The Seattle Seahawks are representing the NFC. They played their first year, 1976, in the NFC West but then moved to the AFC West the following year. They moved back to the NFC West in 2002 when the NFL last realigned. So, both the Steelers and the Seahawks have been part of both the AFL/AFC and the NFL/NFC.

So what might a regionally-based NFL look like? Consider this realignment:

Divisions

Let’s face it, this would never happen without some forcing issue, like a permanent global energy crisis. Putting Dallas, a traditional wining franchise, in the same division with perennial losers Phoenix and New Orleans, and the new franchise in Houston, would be pretty boring. But there might be benefits to such a regional alignment besides less travel, namely more regional identification with the fans. Think of the regional match-ups in the NFL Pro Bowl Game and the Super Bowl. It might be east versus west (like today) or north versus south, or maybe even … Red-State team versus Blue-State team. It could even change every year.

snack

I wrote the second blog on Reddit in 2010 as my reaction to the NFL owners pushing for an 18-game season. I think of it again every preseason. Here is the idea with some minor edits. You can find it in its original form at https://old.reddit.com/r/nfl/comments/d50ui/what_if_the_season_was_divided_into_parts_and_ the/

I was drifting through the NFL (American) football preseason, watching meaningless games and hoping nobody gets hurt, and I had a thought. The owners want more real games that they can charge big ticket prices for. The fans want more competitive games, especially in the post-season. Nothing is worse than a Super Bowl blowout. The players want opportunities to play but not necessarily more games. So, here’s the idea.

What if the season were divided into parts, each having different player limits, and the games in each part had different point values for a win.

The current season looks something like this:

  • Preseason Games 1-3: Games do not count. Teams can carry 80 players.
  • Preseason Game 4: Game does not count. Teams can carry 65 players.
  • Games 5-16: Each game has an equal value towards the standings. Teams can carry 53 players.

Here’s an example of what a five-part, weighted-points-for-a-win season might look like:

  • (Former Preseason) Games 1-4: Each game counts one point for a win and zero point for a loss. Teams can carry 80 players.
  • Games 5-8: Each game counts three points for a win. Teams can carry 70 players.
  • Games 9-12: Each game counts five points for a win. Teams can carry 60 players.
  • Games 13-16: Each game counts seven points for a win. Teams can carry 60 players.
  • Games 17-20: Each game counts nine points for a win. Teams can carry 60 players.

In this system, a perfect season would amount to 100 points.

Here are some other changes. A player placed on Injured Reserve would still be ineligible to play for the rest of the season and would not be counted against the roster limit. However, a player designated as Injured would be ineligible to play for at least four consecutive games and would not be counted against the roster limit. This change would allow teams to bring back any injured player in the same year after the player is well enough to play. The game day roster would increase from 43 to 50 players with no third quarterback exemption. The Practice Squad would be eliminated. The bye week would be eliminated.

Teams with the greatest number of points in each Division would go to the playoffs. Divisions probably would not be decided until the end of season. In fact, a winless team can get to the playoffs if they win their last 8 games, so no team is out of contention until very late in the season. Teams probably won’t be able to rest players in the last week because playoff spots wouldn’t be decided. Using a point system, there would be less of a need for complicated tie breakers. The hottest teams at the end of the season would go into playoffs.

 

Football-Cat

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