Welcome to the finale of Bad Takes Week, where MMQB staffers were asked to expand upon some of their worst football takes. These are columns on the ideas they believe in strongly, even if it makes the rest of the room groan during our pitch meetings. Check out all our takes from the week.
I live my life according to a set of values put forth by “No Fear” t-shirts from the 1990s. It’s why, when I forgot to Christmas last year and my preschooler woke up to no gifts, I looked him right in the eye and told him: “He who dies with the most toys—still dies. No fear!”
But for this particular exercise, we turn to another classic from NF (as those of us looking to save keystrokes call it—“it” referring to the “No Fear” brand, to be clear): “Second place is the first loser. NO FEAR” Eliminate the wild-card spots in the NFL playoffs.
There’s a 16-game season to determine the best team in each division. If you failed to prove you were one of the best teams among the eight(!) divisions, in which teams play schedules that are 87.5% similar, what right do you have to play for a league-wide championship? The answer: None. (Though you probably already assumed so because it was clearly a rhetorical question.)
However, while wild cards should no longer exist, the league can still get its fill of hot play-in action with tiebreaker games. If two teams have an identical record atop a division, settle it on the field. Before the season, the NFL would book eight neutral fields in the event of division title tiebreaker games, to be played the first Sunday after the regular season. (Thus, there could be as many as eight games on Tiebreaker Sunday.) However, for instance, last year, there would have been only one: The Chiefs and Chargers would have met at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Neb. to determine the AFC West champion and No. 1 seed in the AFC. (Tiebreakers would still be used to determine seeding among the division champions, so the Chiefs-Chargers winner would be the AFC’s 1-seed, the Patriots 2, the Texans 3, and the Ravens 4.)
This system is even better once you’ve added four expansion teams and split the NFL into four nine-team divisions (combine the AFC East and NFC East, AFC North and NFC North, etc., then add one team from The MMQB's list of approved expansion cities). Every team plays a home-and-home against the eight other teams in their division—it’s a fully balanced schedule, just like your god intended! (It doesn't matter which god you worship, because all the gods intend this.) Tiebreaker Sunday, followed by Conference Championship Sunday, followed by the bye week, and the Super Bowl is in January again. On the first Sunday of February, go spend some time with loved ones for once.
Note From the Author: To be clear, I do genuinely believe that wild-card playoff teams are fundamentally stupid across all sports, though they are the most palatable in football.
Additional Note From the Author: Also to be clear, my children received more than enough gifts during the holidays. My wife and I purchased so many LEGO sets that we might not be able to pay the mortgage, but we can build a replica of our house out of the aforementioned purchased LEGOs. However, indoor plumbing is an issue. “LEGO House” sounds cool until you consider it’s more like “LEGO and Human Waste House.”
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