December 2, 2022

KC Chiefs help prove NFL’s extended playoff format is bad for the game


When the National Football League first announced plans to add a seventh playoff team from each conference in the future, it sounded like any other such announcement in the league, like a cash grab.

Much like the recently added 17th regular season game (and upcoming 18th game), everyone involved knows it’s bad for the game of football. This is (even more) dangerous for players. This creates lame competition. It’s meant to do one thing: line the pockets of those wealthy enough to already own and operate an NFL franchise.

The Kansas City Chiefs helped prove that over the weekend.

Instead of allowing the second-seeded Chiefs to relax for an extra week with the first-round bye that was previously available to the top two teams in each conference, the Chiefs were forced to play. The results were predictable. The game was one-sided. The Chiefs were lucky not to come away with new major injuries.

The NFL is watering down its product to make more money.

It might even be that Ben Roethlisberger described, providing an odd quote Wednesday to Pittsburgh reporters:

The talking heads tried to twist Big Ben’s words into some kind of joke or reverse psychology – and maybe it was this weirdly motivational material for the Steelers – but maybe it’s as simple as it sounds . Maybe the longtime Steelers quarterback admitted the competition just wasn’t there. Maybe it was a version of, “Everyone knows what the outcome will be, but the NFL forced this on all of us, so let’s have fun.”

The Chiefs had already shaken the Steelers at Arrowhead three weeks prior by 26 points. No one needed or even wanted a repeat of this one-sided affair. The Chiefs didn’t even have a tight end Travis Kelce or linebacker Nick Bolton in this previous game. Even Vegas bettors had the Chiefs listed as 13-point favorites, a playoff record for the biggest spread.

The reason the odds were stacked against the Steelers in the playoffs stemmed from the reality that the Steelers should never have made the playoffs. That’s not to say they were lucky at number seven (although they did). Instead, he says that no team should occupy a #7 seed. It’s just bad for the game.

In case it looks like we’re magnifying the results of just one game – a 21-point win for the Chiefs, by the way, in a game that wasn’t even that close until Pittsburgh won a few points awful weather – the NFC came out the same way. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers hosted the Philadelphia Eagles for a real beatdown. They were up 31 points going into the fourth quarter before the Eagles put up 15 in the last 15 to make the score seem closer than it was.

None of the Chiefs or Bucs opponents provided any real competition. Both games were over long before they were officially over, and it’s not like any team learned that much about themselves in the process. Great teams take care of average teams and that’s what many of us watched during the NFL Wild Card weekend.

Some fans might be okay with this arrangement – this overloaded menu of football offerings. It’s easy to hear the lines here, “Don’t watch it if you don’t like it.” But that’s not the point. The reality is that Patrick Mahomes and company were not only forced to play an extra 17th regular season game in 2021, they also had to play an extra playoff game. Imagine the answer if Tom Brady or Patrick Mahomes had been injured this weekend.

Modern gaming tends to pressure players more than ever to make more money, and it doesn’t matter if the product is quality or not. The emphasis is on quantity. The NFL had a big thing going. Its popularity has usurped every other sport to become the true national pastime. The saying is true that one person can have “too much of a good thing,” and the new NFL playoff format is proof positive.

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