PFT - At the conclusion of the league’s quarterly ownership meeting in Dallas, Commissioner Roger Goodell dusted off a concept that rears its head from time to time. Expanded playoffs. Goodell said that the owners “teed up” the issue of expanding the playoffs from 12 to 14 or 16 teams, and that the discussions will continue in the coming months. The use of 16 playoff teams would eliminate the bye weeks, requiring the top two seeds in each conference to play in the wild-card round, which would become a quarterfinal round in the AFC and NFC. It also suggests that, with a 16-team playoff field, perhaps the NFL will eventually decide to fill vacancies in L.A. and London via expansion.
In one of the approximately 900 “Making of ‘Jaws’” features I’ve watched, there’s a part where the producer David Zanuck talks about how Spielberg kept tinkering with the movie. Adding scenes, dropping others, changing stuff around, filming extra sequences in his swimming pool, until Zanuck tells him “You’ve got a great film here. Don’t improve this thing into a failure.” Which is exactly what I think of every time Roger Goodell opens his mouth. This guy inherited the best sports organization… and possibly one of the best run companies, period… in the world. And a day doesn’t go by that he’s not floating some half-assed trial balloon that will ruin it. Seriously he’s like a one man Bad Idea Jeans factory. 18 game schedules. Taking kickoffs out of the game. Adding teams. Putting one in London. Now this. The NFL is in perfect equilibrium right now. There aren’t too many teams. The division alignments more or less make sense. And the playoff system is perfect. In each conference, two teams in earn byes, two teams earn home games and two teams barely make it and have to win 3 on the road to get to the Super Bowl. It’s an ecosystem in perfect balance. But Goodell can’t leave well enough alone so he’s going to turn it into the NHL or the NBA, where making the playoffs is practically a Tee Ball Participation Trophy. So instead of what we have now: Two games on Saturday, two games on Sunday, two weeks in a row and you get to watch every one, there’ll be EIGHT frigging games that first weekend and you’ll have to scramble to watch them like it’s Round 1 of March Madness. Because that’s what fans want: games that we can’t watch.
Look, I’m all about greed. I get that Goodell’s just trying to hustle a fast buck anywhere he can. That’s what makes ‘Merica great. But there’s the kind of greed where you charge 11 bucks for a drink, then there’s the greed where you charge 11 bucks for a drink and water them down to the point where people quit coming into your place. The other sports are watered down enough. Goodell needs to keep stinking stinking paws off my playoffs and get back to the business of proving Bountygate is 1,000 times worse than Spygate. @JerryThornton1