Saturday, January 14, 2017

18 NFL Games is a Bad Idea

Added Thoughts: So, I had intended on finishing this back when an 18-game NFL season was being seriously debated.  Obviously, that never happened, but given my reaching back into unfinished work, I had (once again) intended on finishing this in the near future.

But then the San Diego Chargers announced that they were moving to Los Angeles, and I officially no longer give a single diarrhetic shit from a rabid dog about the National Football League.

So, here's the draft... just imagine how I would've ended it... you're probably not far off.

18 NFL Games is a Bad Idea

Theoretically, under the current system, it's possible for a team to win its division with a 3-13 (.188) record. Under an 18-game season, provided that the number of division games stays the same, it'll be possible to win a division with a 3-15 (.167) record. Remember the uproar caused by the Seattle Seahawks winning the NFC West with a 7-9 record in 2010 (which left both the 10-6 New York Giants and 10-6 Tampa Bay Buccaneers out of the playoffs)? Well, guess what... sub-.500 teams winning divisions will become more commonplace in an 18-game season. It's called math.

Unless the NFL realigns to two divisions per conference (8 teams each, 14 division games), which would only leave 4 games for interdivision or interconference contests, the math alone suggests 18 games is bad for the sport.

Some might argue that 18 games supports expansion. Well, no, it doesn't. In order to maintain equality, the NFL would have to aim for a league of 36 teams and, as such, would have to return to a 6-division league (3 per conference), with each division having 6 teams. That would, to be fair, result in 10 division games, making it possible to win a division with a 5-13 (.278) record, which would make each division more competitive.

To put things in perspective, back in the days of the 30-team NFL (6 divisions, 5 teams each), the worst record a divisional winner could have was 4-12 (.250) record, so 36 teams, 18 games would be an improvement on that.

However, the current scheduling is about as perfect as it's ever been. Each team plays 16 games, 6 of which are divisional, 4 are interdivision against another division, 2 are interdivision against the same-placed teams (1st, 2nd, etc). from the prior season in the division not being played completely, and 4 are interconference.

18 games would obviously just add 2 more interdivision.

But, it's all about the money, isn't it?

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