x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

NFL should say ‘bye’ to play-off expansion

Opening the play-off door wider would be creeping too close to the watered-down NBA format, where most teams qualify. The better solution is inserting a second bye week for everybody in the schedule.

Commissioner Roger Goodell and the NFL team owners are considering eliminating the fourth pre-season game but also are taking into consideration expanding the play-offs. A better use of that extra week would be teams receiving two byes a season, not just one. Ann Heisenfelt / AP Photo
Commissioner Roger Goodell and the NFL team owners are considering eliminating the fourth pre-season game but also are taking into consideration expanding the play-offs. A better use of that extra week would be teams receiving two byes a season, not just one. Ann Heisenfelt / AP Photo

High-fives to the NFL for weighing a proposal to shave one week from the exhibition schedule.

For most teams, the fourth game serves no purpose other than determining the bottom players on rosters.

Starters, if they play at all, could get by without post-game showers, as little as they sweat.

Forcing fans to pay full freight for tickets is akin to highway robbery.

Being a profit-making operation, the league would want to compensate for the lost revenue from axing the exhibitions.

Gratefully, it has backed away from adding a 17th regular season game for every team.

Regrettably, it is now pondering an expansion of the play-off field from 12 to 14– that would create two extra wild-card games on the schedule.

Stop. Opening the play-off door wider would be creeping too close to the watered-down NBA format, where most teams qualify.

Mediocrity should not be rewarded with a post-season invitation, and the NFL surely would see 8-8 teams — or, worse, even 7-9 — included.

The better solution is inserting a second bye week for everybody in the schedule.

Games would be spread over 18 weeks, one more than the existing system, that would replace the revenue sacrificed by a shortened pre-season schedule. Players would be afforded an extra week to heal.

As they say in the business world, it is a win-win.

Just do it.

sports@thenational.ae