Thumbs down on NFL playoff system

TED WYMAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:42 PM ET

The NFL is widely considered the greatest and most successful professional sports league in North America but its playoff system reeks.

Not only did the 7-9 Seattle Seahawks make the playoffs while the 10-6 Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New York Giants were eliminated, but the Seahawks got a home playoff game and upset the defending champion New Orleans Saints.

Even more amazingly, the Seahawks could conceivably host the NFC Championship game, if they upset Chicago and the Green Bay Packers topple the top-seeded Atlanta Falcons.

There’s way too much emphasis placed on divisional rankings and its an embarrassment waiting to happen for the NFL. That league is simply too smart to have such a stupid system.

BITS AND PIECES: You have to give the Seahawks credit for knocking off the Saints (congrats to all the smart people out there who took the no-brainer bet on an 11-point underdog at home) and you can be sure Marshawn Lynch’s 67-yard steamrolling touchdown will be considered among the greatest playoff runs of all-time ... Monday’s BCS Championship game between the Oregon Ducks and Auburn Tigers featured two teams that had not played football in more than a month. This is akin to the NHL starting the Stanley Cup final right after the Olympic break ... The NHL’s supposed crackdown on head shots has been proven to be toothless after David Steckel’s concussion-inducing shoulder to Sidney Crosby’s noggin during the Winter Classic went unpunished by referees and the league. If a guy can get away with knocking out the game’s biggest star on the game’s biggest stage, it might as well be a free-for-all ... Winnipeg’s Cody Eakin is a fine player, but it’s hard to believe the Kootenay Ice would give up potentially eight players in order to employ Eakin, who could miss one or two weeks with a wrist injury suffered during the world junior, for 30 games plus playoffs. If all of those players pan out for the Swift Current Broncos, they could play over 1,000 games ... Then there’s Brayden Schenn, who was dealt from the Brandon Wheat Kings to his hometown Saskatoon Blades for two first-round draft picks, a second-rounder, a first-round European draft pick and two top 15-year-old prospects. All for a superstar forward, albeit one with a bum shoulder. Of course, that didn’t slow him down in the world junior, did it ... The new top dog in the NHL Central Scouting rankings is Swedish power forwar Gabriel Landeskog of the OHL’s Kitchener Rangers. He has moved slightly ahead of Canadian junior team player Sean Couturier of the QMJHL’s Drummondville Voltigeurs. Winnipeg’s Michael St. Croix, a centre with the Edmonton Oil Kings of the WHL is the top-ranked Manitoban at No. 36 among North American skaters ... The Denver Nuggets, New Jersey Nets and Detroit Pistons are working on the biggest deal in NBA history, a three-team, 18-player trade that would see Carmelo Anthony wind up in New Jersey ... Strong Canadian connection to this Sunday’s Bears-Seahawks matchup: Brandon’s Israel Idonije starting on the defensive line for the Bears and Regina’s Jon Ryan, the former Blue Bomber, punting for the Seahawks ... Enjoy your Tuesday.

ted.wyman@sunmedia.ca


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