x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

More not necessarily better in NFL play-off expansion talk

How rewarding would it be to waste six more hours this season watching the barely watchable New York Jets (6-8) pursuing the No 7 or No 8 AFC seed, asks Mike Tierney.

Expanded play-offs would mean more teams would make the NFL post-season show, but does anyone really want to see struggling New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez stumble into a first-round loss in the play-offs, asks Mike Tierney.
Expanded play-offs would mean more teams would make the NFL post-season show, but does anyone really want to see struggling New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez stumble into a first-round loss in the play-offs, asks Mike Tierney.

If the league takes the odious step of expanding its play-off cast to an unwieldy 14 or 16, as it is considering, brace yourself to hear this flimsy excuse: more teams will remain competitive down the stretch, which heightens interest.

For starters, any such plan would bring a trade-off as a consequence.

Additional post-season berths means more teams qualifying earlier, thus reducing suspense in some jurisdictions.

Playing for a higher seed does not carry the same ado as scrambling to get into the play-offs.

It may come as a shock (not really) that the underlying motivation is money - although, in a sports rarity, the NFL's would be for a good cause. Most parties want to cut the four-game pre-season schedule in half, and the resulting loss of revenue must be made up somewhere.

Two or four extra games in January would suffice. But do we really want 8-8 entrants dragging down the quality of the field?

How rewarding would it be to waste six more hours this season watching the barely watchable New York Jets (6-8) pursuing the No 7 or No 8 AFC seed?

And what a disappointment it would be if the Jets (or the Miami Dolphins or the St Louis Rams for that matter) got lucky in their play-off opener and ousted an actual Super Bowl contender.

The smart guys should put their heads together - those not concussed, anyway - and figure out how to whack the exhibition schedule and keep the post-season intact.

sports@thenational.ae

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