The Seattle Seahawks won the NFC West Division with a record of 7-9 and host the Saints in a wild-card playoff game this weekend, while teams like the NY Giants (10-6) and the Tampa Bay Bucs (9-7) sit at home roasting their chestnuts, steaming just about every pundit outside of the Emerald City.
To that I say: Boo. Hoo.
To the New York Giants and Tampa Bucs in particular, I say: win your division. Thems the rules. The noted philosopher William Laird Cowher made winning the division his priority every year. Everything after that was gravy.
Still, the notion of a good team (Giants, presumably and although I remain unconvinced that they're really good, they are no doubt better than the Seachickens) sitting at home while a bad team (Seattle) plays on in the rarified air of the NFL playoffs strikes some as unmeritorious, causing a great hue and cry for the League to junk the current divisional system and simply advance the six best teams (based on record) to the post-season tournament.
I'd hate to see that happen because I love divisional rivalries. I love Steelers versus the Ravens, the Bears and the Pack, the Eagles and the Giants. Sure those teams hate each other based on familiarity, geography and history as much as anything else, but I believe that the post-season gravity of the intra-divisional games adds a bucket of kerosene to some already raging fires of spite and contempt.
There's no such thing as too much enmity in football.
So the Seahawks stink. So what? They won their division and are just as entitled to be in the playoffs as the Eagles or the Chiefs or the Colts.
However, hosting a playoff game is another matter altogether.
It seems to me that the franchise makes money by hosting a game - gate, concessions, etc. - and a team that can't be so bothered as to win just eight freaking games should not be lining its pockets with playoff booty.
What I suggest is a slight tweaking to the current NFL playoff system. Division winners are in, regardless of record. So, yes, a team could conceivably win the putrid NFC West with a record of 6-10 while some other team, from some other far off halfway decent division, sits at home with the inverted record, but the playoffs could be re-seeded after determining the participants.
By my system, re-seeding for the playoffs this weekend,
New Orleans (11-5) would host the Seahawks (7-9) -- and --
Green Bay (10-6) would host the Eagles (10-6) [based on head-to-head results -- the Pack beat Philly early in the season.]
Meanwhile, over in the AFC,
The Jets (11-5) would host Indy (10-6) -- and --
Baltimore (12-4) would host the Chiefs (10-6).
You win more games, your franchise (and by extension your city) earns the right to make more bank in the post-season.