People love to grandstand and finger-wag when it’s the NBA, as if, the NFL has some type of perfect system.
So when people beat the drum that the NBA should take the top 16 teams for the playoffs, why not require the same for the NFL? Why should teams risk missing the playoffs when they could have a better record with whatever scrub team wins the NFC East? If anything, it should be much easier for the NFL to do it than the NBA because there are no playoff series. That means travel should be simpler for the NFL than the NBA.
As of today, here would be the team that would make the playoffs:
Division Leaders: New England, Baltimore, Houston, Kansas City, Dallas, Green Bay, New Orleans, and Seattle
Wild Card Teams: Buffalo, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Minnesota
If the league would take the top 12 teams. The top four teams would have byes. The remaining eight teams would have to play a first round game.
Top 4 Teams: New England, Baltimore, New Orleans, Seattle
Remaining 8 teams: San Francisco, Green Bay, Buffalo, Minnesota, Houston, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, LA Rams
The only difference in teams is Dallas would be out and the Rams would be in but the impact becomes in the match-ups.
Under the current system your games would be:
Pittsburgh at Houston, Buffalo at Kansas City, Minnesota at Green Bay, and San Francisco at Dallas
How many of these games get you excited? Minnesota and Green Bay is a fan’s delight for obvious reasons but there’s nothing beyond that.
San Francisco and Dallas have history but the Cowboys have no business being near the playoffs. Pittsburgh-Houston and Buffalo-Kansas City are “meh” games.
Under the system of the best records no matter the conference, fans would get better games.
Wild Card Under Suggested System:
Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco, Pittsburgh at Green Bay, Minnesota at Buffalo, and Kansas City at Houston
Under this system, you get natural rivals in the Rams and 49ers. Pittsburgh-Green Bay is a dream playoff match-up that could be played in the snow. The Chiefs-Texans gives us Pat Mahomes vs Deshaun Watson.
Furthermore, Buffalo and San Francisco would host games while Kansas City would go on the road.
The next round would be re-seeded based on the Wild Card winners giving us even better match-ups.
This also motivates teams to continue to jockey for position hence not as many teams would sit out starters in the last week. Since the concern would be the entire NFL and not the conference, the fans would be guaranteed more intense games and, for the owners, better attendance in weeks 16 and 17.