Jeff Reinebold: I don’t see any negatives to NFL playoff expansion
Increased drama and added interest – Jeff Reinebold is fully on board with the NFL’s first playoff expansion since 1990.
Team owners voted unanimously on Tuesday in favour of approving the new structure that had been set out in the new collective bargaining agreement last month.
The postseason period will now include one extra team from each conference to take the total number of playoff sides from 12 to 14, creating six wildcard games and meaning there will be just one first-round bye up for grabs in both the NFC and AFC.
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“I think it’s fantastic, I really do,” Reinebold said on Inside The Huddle.
“Here’s why. Because we’re talking about single elimination football, this is a whole different deal. This isn’t aggregate points, it isn’t the best of seven, it isn’t the best of five, it’s not three sets, it’s one time you play and it’s sudden elimination.
“I think that this adds more drama to the game, it creates obviously more interest for a bigger pool of fans. I don’t really see any negative to it.
“Who’s to say one of these teams doesn’t make a run? You know how it is. You get hot, you get healthy, you’re on a run and away you go.”
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Concerns over the expansion among NFL fans include the potential reward for mediocrity if teams with single-digit wins are able to carve a route to the playoffs.
Last season would have seen the 8-8 Pittsburgh Steelers progress from the AFC and the 9-7 Los Angeles Rams advance in the NFC, had the 14-team layout been in place.
That’s a reality Sky Sports‘ Neil Reynolds would be open to.
“The Tennessee Titans last year were only one game above 8-8 and they rolled into New England and they beat the Patriots,” Reynolds explained. “They rolled into Baltimore and they beat the Ravens and they were up by 10 twice in the AFC Championship game (against the Kansas City Chiefs).
“Go back a few years the (New York) Giants were a 9-7 team that won the Super Bowl.
“Last year, we would have had Pittsburgh in at 8-8 and the Rams in at 9-7. I can live with that. I’d rather have that than a good 10-6 team that misses out for some reason which has happened in the past.”
The new measures mean approximately 44 percent of teams will qualify for the playoffs, compared to 33 percent in MLB, 52 percent in NHL and 53 percent in NBA.
They also promise to amplify the contrast in regular season and postseason football, namely the unpredictability and intensity.
Reinebold experienced that first-hand last season while serving as special teams coach of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, who lost to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the Canadian Football League’s Grey Cup final despite having boasted the best record among all sides.
“Last year we’re 15-3 and by far the best team in the league,” said Reinebold. “We get to the championship game, we don’t play well that day and we get beat. We aren’t the champions. Again, that’s the beauty of it.
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