Scott Novak: NFL needs another playoff format

The National Football League needs to rethink its playoff format.

NovakheadIt seem ridiculous to me to have divisions if your record in your division doesn’t really matter when it comes to winning it.

Let’s look at the NFC North for instance.

The Detroit Lions are 4-2 in the division after Sunday’s regular season finale loss to Minnesota.

Yet the Lions are not the North Division champs. Heck, they aren’t even in the playoffs.

I understand their overall record is 7-9, but again, they are 4-2 in the division. The Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears, who played for the division title and a spot in the playoffs, both .500 records in the division heading into the final game of the regular season.

The division record as it stands now is only used as a tiebreaker. That’s just silly because there are plenty of other ways to break a tie should there be one.

And it is not like the Bears and the Packers have great overall records. Chicago finished at 8-8 and Green Bay thanks to its win Sunday night finished the regular season at 8-7-1.

If the NFL is going to keep its division format, then make the division record mean something. Use the overall record to seed the teams once you have your four division champions and two wild card teams in each conference.

If you are not going to take into account the division records, then do away with them and then just take the best six teams in the conference and seed them based on their overall record.

This season, it would mean the Arizona Cardinals would make the playoffs with a 10-6 record instead of the Packers in the National Football Conference.

In the American Football Conference the teams with the best records qualified for the playoffs. That happened just by chance, not because of the current format.

I just want to see the best teams get into the playoffs and then get some competitive match ups in the post season.

Despite the Packers’ record, I think their first round game against San Francisco is intriguing. Heck, there are several great match ups in the opening round of the playoffs and I cannot wait for this coming weekend.


Scott Novak is sports editor for Leader Publications. He can be reached at


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