Ruminations, etc..

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Posts Tagged ‘Mike and Mike in the Morning

I Solved the NFL’s Playoff Problem (WARNING: SPORTS CONTENT!)

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If you listen to sports talk radio, you’d know the biggest problem this nation faces is that a team from the NFC West will host a playoff game.  In the 90 years the NFL has existed, no team with a losing record has ever hosted a playoff team and this is putting a lot of people’s panties in a bunch.  Apparently, it’s too much to ask of the Saints to travel to Seattle or St. Louis to kick the shit out of the Seahawks or Rams before going on to another playoff game.   Maybe these people are concerned that a 7-9 team might beat a 12-4 team and knock the 12-4 team out of the playoffs.  To them I say if, for instance, the Saints can’t beat the Seahawks, do Saints deserve to be in the playoffs?  This kind of thinking usually ends with me in a bar fight.

Anyway, because the people that write and talk about football are a calm, collected bunch, many are calling for the NFL to change its rules to prevent a team with a losing record from hosting a playoff game.  An event that has not yet occurred, and if it did, would have occurred once in the 90 years of pro football in America.

Eli Manning does not like my plan

There are two popular proposals: 1) to not allow a division winner with a losing record into the playoffs or 2) to allow them in but reseed according to record.  Frankly, both of those proposals suck.  If you’re not going to allow a division winner in with a losing record, or if you’re going to reseed, with the current divisions intact, why have divisions at all?  Just split the league in half, take the six best teams and be done with it.

Now, if the NFL wants to do away with divisions and take the six best in each conference, I’d be fine with that.  It would take some realignment, but that’s totally cool with me.  The current divisions in the NFL are retarded anyway, and they should be abolished.

And how would these new divisions be created?  I’m glad you asked.  Here’s my proposal.

Given where the teams are located, it doesn’t make sense to split the league into East and West divisions like basketball and hockey.  It makes the most sense to divvy them up between the north and south.  As an added benefit, since the best of the North and the best of the South will be fighting again, each year the Superbowl won’t just be another championship game, it will also be a metaphor for the Civil War. And who wouldn’t want to relive that experience through the majesty of sport?

After dividing between the north and south, the two conferences would be further subdivided into meaningless divisions, like in Basketball and Hockey.  It would look something like this:

Northern Conference Southern Conference
North West Division South West Division
Seattle Oakland
Minneapolis San Francisco
Green Bay San Diego
Chicago Arizona
Detroit Denver
Indianapolis Kansas City
Cincinnati Dallas
Cleveland Houston
North East Division South East Division
Pittsburgh St. Louis
Buffalo New Orleans
New York Jets Tennessee
New York Giants Atlanta
New England Carolina
Philadelphia Jacksonville
Baltimore Tampa Bay
Washington D.C. Miami

There will be some objections to the new alignment.  I’m sure there are people who don’t like that I destroyed the whole NFC/ AFC thing.  To them I say: get over it.  The NFL and AFL merged back in the 1970.  That was like, 40 years ago, man.  Back then nobody lived past the age of 15 and the only place with in-door plumbing was New York City (and even then it was just a pipe that came out of your apartment and dumped your crap in the street). The AFL is dead, the NFL killed it, and it’s time we stopped dividing the league in an antiquated fashion.

Of course, this does away with some of the traditional “rivalry” games, like the Giants vs. the Eagles, Dolphins vs. the Jets, or Dallas Fans vs. Personal Hygiene (actually, that one will never go away).  To that I say: who cares.  Really, no one gives a damn.  I know the NFL owners like saying they need these rivalry games for added revenue, that if the Browns don’t come to Cincinnati, the fans won’t show up, and then the owners will lose money.

That is, in a word, bullshit.

Seriously, it’s a dumb argument.  Attendance, while down at some stadiums, is fairly steady across the league.  In fact, it’s only a news event if an NFL team doesn’t have a sell-out game (e.g. Jacksonville), and quite a few teams have a long (in some cases at least a decade) waiting list for season tickets.  So if some relic  who used to watch the Pottsville Maroons play can ‘t handle the fact that the old rivalries are dead, let him leave and give some sad sack on the waiting list a chance to drop ten large for the privilege of watching an NFL game in-person.  Honestly guys — change is good.

So there you have it.  A plan for divisions that makes sense and prevents a division winner with a losing record.  Plus, it reduces travel costs since most of the teams are near each other.  Easy peesy, as they say.

Of course, if you still want meaningless divisions, I have a plan for you too.  And frankly, this plan is long overdue.

As I mentioned above, the current divisions in the NFL are retarded.   Why, for instance, is Dallas in the NFC East when A) Dallas is further west than St. Louis (a member of the NFC West), and B) the other members in the NFC East are, basically, in the North East of the country.  I know, I know, tradition, right?  Well screw tradition, it makes no damn sense.

So, here are the new divisions, as I see them.  And because I think preserving the whole NFL/AFL divide 40 years after the merger is stupid, I did away with the NFC/AFC split.  You now have eight divisions, divided into two arbitrary conferences.

This Conference That Conference
Marxist Division Liberal Elites Division
Seattle Buffalo
Oakland New York Giants
San Francisco New York Jets
San Diego New England
Jesus Land Division Crab Cake Division
Arizona Philadelphia
Denver Baltimore
Dallas Washington D.C.
Houston Carolina
Tundra Division BBQ Division
Green Bay Kansas City
Minneapolis St. Louis
Chicago Tennessee
Indianapolis Atlanta
Rust Belt Division Trailer Park Division
Pittsburgh New Orleans
Detroit Tampa Bay
Cincinnati Jacksonville
Cleveland Miami

That’s much better, isn’t it?  Now I can already hear some of you saying, “Hey, those division names are mean.” To you I say: you’re right.

See?  Problem solved.  Of course, it’s possible just to leave everything the way it is since everyone’s making money hand over fist in the NFL (seriously, even the beer guy pulls down at least a 1.5m a year), but that might be a rational reaction to a one-time event, and who wants that?

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It’s Never too Early to go to Doucet

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This morning while driving around, I heard Mike and Mike on ESPN radio dissecting the AZ Cardinals upcoming season.  It was a mostly fair assessment, with both guys agreeing on a 8-8 record for the 2010-2011 season.  I think that’s a reasonable conclusion, considering the amount of questions the Cardinals have going into this season.  In fact, I could see as bad as 4-12. But I digress…

One thing that did stick in my craw was Golic’s assessment of WR Early Doucet. Doucet is expected fill in for Anquan Boldin as a tough receiver that goes across the middle. Golic doesn’t buy that — at least not yet.  He said that Doucet’s 31 receptions his first two years in the league were not a good sign, considering that Boldin had 157 catches his first two years in the league.  However, that is not a fair comparison.

Doucet, after his amazing reception for a touch down in the nutty playoff game against the Packers

When Boldin was drafted by Arizona in 2003, Arizona had the following WRs on its roster:

  • Larry Foster
  • Bryan Gilmore
  • Bryant Johnson
  • Kevin Kasper
  • Jason McAddley
  • Nate Poole

Recognize any of those names?  Me neither.  And I’ve been following the Cardinals since 1993.

In Boldin’s first game against Detroit, he had 187 yards receiving.  That shocked the Cardinals and their fan base.  It became pretty clear over the next few weeks that this guy was something special.  So he became the focus of the passing attack, which is why he had 157 receptions in his first two years.

Now, when Doucet came aboard in 2008, Arizona had the following WRs on its roster:

  • Larry Fitzgerald
  • Anquan Boldin
  • Steve Breaston
  • Jerheme Urban
  • Ed Gant
  • Michael Ray Garvin
  • Onrea Jones
  • Lance Long
  • Sean Morey
  • Steve Sanders

You see the difference?  Arizona had two of the best WRs in the league (and Fitzgerald might be one of the best ever), and Steve Breaston was no slouch either.  This was the year that Arizona had three 1000+ yard WRs on its roster.  In that kind of situation, a rookie WR won’t be anywhere near the ball (if memory serves, Doucet was 5th on the depth chart, just after Jerheme Urban).  The year after, Doucet moved up, but Arizona still had Fitz, Boldin and Breaston catching the ball.  It would be hard for anyone new to compete with those three.

It’s not a fair to Doucet to draw a conclusion about his abilities by comparing Boldin’s first two years to Doucet’s.  The situation on the team was wildly different when Boldin came aboard to when Doucet did.  Golic may still be right in his ultimate analysis (that Doucet will not be a suitable replacement for Boldin), but how he got there, I think, is wrong.

Written by B. Michael Krol

August 18, 2010 at 11:12 am