NFL Expanded Playoffs Now would’ve Been No Help to Decade of Cowboys
FRISCO - NFL owners are getting their way and America is getting more football as Tuesday saw the 2020 expansion from 12 to 14 playoff teams.
One would think that more playoff opportunity would mean better for the Dallas Cowboys. And while that is true strictly by the numbers (as it will be for every team in the league), the truth about what would’ve meant for a Dallas franchise that for the last decade has generally been considered a “semi-contender” is ... a bit disturbing.
The reason for the change (which will mean that one team each in the NFC and AFC gets a bye and that Wild-Card Weekend will three playoff games each on Jan 9 and 10) is of course revenue.
One league-wise result of the change: It makes more regular-season games more important.
With an increase to 14 playoff teams, nearly 44 percent of the teams in the league will make the playoffs. It will also greatly increase the number of teams with sub-.500 records to keep playing hard, because they're now more likely to remain in contention longer.
All of which brings us to the Cowboys. Notably, not in any of the last 10 seasons would the Cowboys have benefitted from being "the seventh-best team” in the conference. That’s right: even had the NFL expanded to 14 playoff teams a decade ago, Dallas’ number of playoff entries would not have changed a bit.
It’s fun and encouraging to look at this NFL change as, "The Cowboys' chances of making the NFC Playoffs will increase by 10 percent!'' But in reality, every team's chances increase by 10 percent ... and Dallas' 10-year history gives no indication that the Cowboys have been good enough to take advantage.