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Thread: The NFL needs to eliminate the "first round bye".

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    Administrator/ The Real Jay ChicagoJ's Avatar
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    Default The NFL needs to eliminate the "first round bye".

    How many years in a row has a top-seeded team "gotten rusty" and lost (or barely beaten) a team it should be able to beat?

    This year, it was patently obvious just how bad the first round bye is for teams - the two top-seeded NFC teams won close games (Chicago in overtime), the two top-seeded AFC teams lost.

    Last year, Chicago and Indy lost at home in the second round, but a #1 (Seattle) got to the SuperBowl.

    The year before, Pittsburgh needed overtime (and a missed Jets FG at the end of regulation) to escape (with a 15-1 regular season record). The Patriots and the NFC teams did blow out their Wild Card weekend visitors, however.

    The year before that, the Patriots needed a late field goal to beat Tennessee, and the Colts upset the Chiefs; in the NFC the Rams, at home, went to a second overtime and lost, and the Eagles had to go to overtime to win.

    And on and on...

    That's my opinion. Your thoughts?

    But I don't know how to implement it. My preference would be to make the playoffs for the eight division champs only. But "Wild Card" weekend is a big money maker, so that will never happen. I guess the NFL will need to further dilute its playoffs (a la NBA/NHL) and add four more playoff teams. I still think that with only a sixteen game season, that the regular season would still mean something in football, unlike the nearly-meaningless 82-game warmup in the NBA that, prior to recent expanion, only eliminated a handful of teams from the playoffs.
    Why do the things that we treasure most, slip away in time
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    Why do the things that connect us slowly pull us apart?
    Till we fall away in our own darkness, a stranger to our own hearts
    And life itself, rushing over me
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    Release Psycho T pwee31's Avatar
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    Default Re: The NFL needs to eliminate the "first round bye".

    Well they're going to be close games, b/c you're playing a good playoff team, who's got momentum after a Wild Card win. I think one is over confidence from both the media, fans and the teams themselves. You're the favorite to win, everyone is expecting you to win, and you're thinking you SHOULD win. This motivates the team coming in b/c they have heart and want to prove the doubters wrong. This all puts a lot of pressure on the home teams and a lot of them get caught off guard early, or play tight.. and that comes back to bite them late. You throw in experience and turnovers and anything can happen!

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    Banned Destined4Greatness's Avatar
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    Default Re: The NFL needs to eliminate the "first round bye".

    Its not that the first round bye is bad its just that the AFC is so damn tough, so many good teams.

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    Default Re: The NFL needs to eliminate the "first round bye".

    I don't like the idea of 16 playoff teams. You already had 8-8 teams in the playoffs and there have been 1 or 2 7-9 teams in the past. Until another rd of expansion, I'd hold the number at 12. Otherwise you'll end up with a 6-10 team making it one of these days.

    And expecting them to go to just the 8 division winners is, as you said, not gonna happen.
    The poster formerly known as Rimfire

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    Administrator/ The Real Jay ChicagoJ's Avatar
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    Default Re: The NFL needs to eliminate the "first round bye".

    Quote Originally Posted by pwee31 View Post
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    Well they're going to be close games, b/c you're playing a good playoff team, who's got momentum after a Wild Card win.
    But why don't the #1 and #2 seeds have momentum? Because the NFL makes them take a week off.

    Smart coaches have learned to live with the risk of playing their starters *even after* clinching home field or the bye, so that momentum is only interrupted for one week, not longer. Resting your starters in weeks #16 and #17 of the regular season just compounds the problem.

    Football - especially offensive and defensive line play (and remember, football games are won in the trenches) is very much about "being in a rhythm." Bye weeks destroy that rhythm, momentum.

    Its not a reward to the teams with the best regular season records, its a punishment.
    Why do the things that we treasure most, slip away in time
    Till to the music we grow deaf, to God's beauty blind
    Why do the things that connect us slowly pull us apart?
    Till we fall away in our own darkness, a stranger to our own hearts
    And life itself, rushing over me
    Life itself, the wind in black elms,
    Life itself in your heart and in your eyes, I can't make it without you


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    Banned Destined4Greatness's Avatar
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    Default Re: The NFL needs to eliminate the "first round bye".

    Oh please every head coach in teh game would want a bye if they could have one. Or else after a team won their division they would just stop winning so they wouldn't get stuck with it.

    Ask the Pats if they would have liked a bye this year, my guess yes, since they have only won a superbowl in years they have had a bye.

    In 04-05, The 1st and 2nd seeds in both AFC and NFC advanced to the Conference Championships. Looks like the Bye helped.

    Last year, Denver won after their bye, so did Seattle

    And of course the bears and saints held serve this year.

    So in the last 3 Years, the 12 teams with a bye had 8 win their first game.

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    Administrator Unclebuck's Avatar
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    Default Re: The NFL needs to eliminate the "first round bye".

    Jay the stats over the years show that the teams with a week off win 80% of the time. However the trend is much different as the past few seasons it is much different more like 50%. I think about 4 years ago 85% of the time the team with a bye won. Also there used to be a lot more blowouts - but not in the past few seasons.

    Not sure what it all means.

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    Get well soon PG! Believe_in_blue's Avatar
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    Default Re: The NFL needs to eliminate the "first round bye".

    I think that there is more parity in the NFL and thats why there are more upsets and close games. The first round bye is good for some teams aned bad for others. When you look at the Steelers last year they went into the playoffs as the hottest team in the the league and didnt stop rolling. If they would have had a bye they might have cooled off and perhaps not gone all the way. There are other teams who are banged up that really needed the bye. For the most part I like the system. And wildcard weekend makes alot more meaningful late season game. Jay i'm supprised you of anybody would want to elimate wildcard weekend, if we didnt have it the Steelers wouldn't have even had a chance to win it all last year!

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    Administrator/ The Real Jay ChicagoJ's Avatar
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    Default Re: The NFL needs to eliminate the "first round bye".

    But "Wild card weekend" cost us momentum the year before, when we were 15-1.

    I'm raising the issue in a year the Steelers aren't even in the playoffs. I have no vested interest (at least for this year) in the outcome of this discussion...

    Several times in the Cowher era, we were left with a great regular season record, a bye week, and dud in the playoffs.

    It was a long-running joke among Steelers fans that we were looking forward NOT having home field advantage (and *that's* what the coaches really want, not the bye that comes with it) because HFA hadn't done us any good in the last decade (because we never played the same after the bye week, even if we happened to win the second round game.)

    The Colts, this year, are now in an excellent position to repeat the precedent the Steelers set - a great regular season record (what were you, 14-2 last year?) and early playoff exit, followed by a less impressive regular season record and better playoff performance. Not that either team was losing regular season games "on purpose" - the Steelers battled injuries at OL, QB, RB and on defense; the Colts run defense had a late season slump. Most importantly, each team was able to keep its late-season momentum in place, without interruption.

    The "best" seeds are #3 and #4: to be a division champion, but without one of the two best records in the conference.

    Is it parity, or is the system designed to penalize the top-performing regular season teams, and that's why the games are close/ competitive?

    Obviously, the close games are good for ratings and fan interest. And the difference between a playoff contender and a team sitting at home is often just one or two possessions over a 16-game season.

    "Any given Sunday."
    Why do the things that we treasure most, slip away in time
    Till to the music we grow deaf, to God's beauty blind
    Why do the things that connect us slowly pull us apart?
    Till we fall away in our own darkness, a stranger to our own hearts
    And life itself, rushing over me
    Life itself, the wind in black elms,
    Life itself in your heart and in your eyes, I can't make it without you


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    Banned Destined4Greatness's Avatar
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    Default Re: The NFL needs to eliminate the "first round bye".

    You need to quit looking at the last few years. Besides the last few years the Steelers they had the bye, and they ended up losing to the other team that had the bye. Seems like the system works.

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    Banned Big Smooth's Avatar
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    Default Re: The NFL needs to eliminate the "first round bye".

    Quote Originally Posted by DisplacedKnick View Post
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    I don't like the idea of 16 playoff teams. You already had 8-8 teams in the playoffs and there have been 1 or 2 7-9 teams in the past. Until another rd of expansion, I'd hold the number at 12. Otherwise you'll end up with a 6-10 team making it one of these days.

    And expecting them to go to just the 8 division winners is, as you said, not gonna happen.
    I could be wrong but I'm pretty certain that a 7-9 team has never made the NFL playoffs.

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    Default Re: The NFL needs to eliminate the "first round bye".

    Quote Originally Posted by Big Smooth View Post
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    I could be wrong but I'm pretty certain that a 7-9 team has never made the NFL playoffs.
    You are correct. The Giants were almost the first this year, but they finished 8-8. There have been other teams who have already wrapped up the division title and were one game under 0.500 going into the last regular season game, but they have always managed to win that game to finish at 0.500 and spare the NFL a bit of embarassment for having a losing team advancing. That only happened in the strike-shortened season.

    http://www.usatoday.com/sports/footb...playoffs_x.htm

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    Default Re: The NFL needs to eliminate the "first round bye".

    I think that the lack of advantage for the bye week team is going along with a lack of advantage for the home team in the playoffs in general. Parity rules. With free agency, fast-changing rosters and severe financial constaints the difference between the middle-of-the-pack teams and the top teams is very slight even when the top team has home field.

    100% of coaches and players prefer the bye week due to injury recovery and added preparation. Having a "full" first round with everyone playing would just assure that even fewer of the best teams are able to survive a subpar performance that obliterates their tiny talent edge over their opponent.

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    Member BoomBaby31's Avatar
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    Default Re: The NFL needs to eliminate the "first round bye".

    I don't think it is a disadvantage to have a week off. One week off is not going to make a team "rusty." However, when the top seeds make the critical mistake of resting their starting in week 17 and even in week 16 that is when the "rust" sets in. 1 week isn't anything compared to the NCAA when poor Ohio State had to wait near 60 days, 2 freakin months before a championship game. 1 week isn't anything. IMOThen NFL is a very close, in competition game, more then any other sport. It's rare (if ever) you see a team just run over the other teams, all the way to the Superbowl. In baseball and basketball we see it quite often Lakers and Yankees have done it numerous times. I think we forget why there is so many "upsets" in the NFL: it's one and out. There are no re-dues or best of 5/7 series like in the NBA or NFL. The one and out does it more then rust, look at March Madness; it's one and out and there are MANY MANY upsets through the tournament. It's hard to show up every single game especially in football.

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    Default Re: The NFL needs to eliminate the "first round bye".

    Quote Originally Posted by Big Smooth View Post
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    I could be wrong but I'm pretty certain that a 7-9 team has never made the NFL playoffs.
    You're right - could've swore Dallas got in at 7-9 one year but I just checked and they were 8-8 in 1999.
    The poster formerly known as Rimfire

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    Default Re: The NFL needs to eliminate the "first round bye".

    Quote Originally Posted by BoomBaby31 View Post
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    I don't think it is a disadvantage to have a week off. One week off is not going to make a team "rusty." However, when the top seeds make the critical mistake of resting their starting in week 17 and even in week 16 that is when the "rust" sets in. 1 week isn't anything compared to the NCAA when poor Ohio State had to wait near 60 days, 2 freakin months before a championship game. 1 week isn't anything.
    Big difference... both Ohio State and Florida had a long wait before the NC game (or any bowl team and thier opponent). So both teams were rusty. So neither team gains an advantage.

    I disagree strongly that one week is not going to make a team rusty, but agree that resting players prior to that only magnifies the problem.
    Why do the things that we treasure most, slip away in time
    Till to the music we grow deaf, to God's beauty blind
    Why do the things that connect us slowly pull us apart?
    Till we fall away in our own darkness, a stranger to our own hearts
    And life itself, rushing over me
    Life itself, the wind in black elms,
    Life itself in your heart and in your eyes, I can't make it without you


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    Cheeseburger in Paradise Los Angeles's Avatar
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    Default Re: The NFL needs to eliminate the "first round bye".

    Couldn't agree more.

    The playoff format should start with 16 teams. What are they afraid of? Making more money?
    “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” - Winston Churchill

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    Banned Destined4Greatness's Avatar
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    Default Re: The NFL needs to eliminate the "first round bye".

    Quote Originally Posted by Los Angeles View Post
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    Couldn't agree more.

    The playoff format should start with 16 teams. What are they afraid of? Making more money?
    R U being sarcastic.

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    Default Re: The NFL needs to eliminate the "first round bye".

    Interesting article, although it misses the common theme that has only been interrupted by New England, which may or may not be about to extend its "Dynasty"...

    Trial by fire

    Jeffri Chadiha, SI.com

    Indianapolis Colts strong safety Bob Sanders is the inspiration behind today's column. When asked before the playoffs how Indy's defense could overcome its regular season problems, he said the unit would be better because injuries had ruined the team's continuity in the past. Now that the Colts were healthier, their execution would be sharper.

    It sounded like the predictable response of an athlete in obvious denial about the state of his team -- you know, the old "Wait-Until-You-See-Us-This-Time-Around" attitude -- but Sanders was making a valid point that has larger meaning for every team in this postseason. The key to the Colts' playoff success, you see, isn't much different than that of the New Orleans Saints, Chicago Bears or the New England Patriots. It comes down to chemistry and confidence.

    When you look at what's happened in the postseason this decade, it's impossible to overlook that most of the Super Bowl champions had the same formula working for them. Most weren't heavy favorites. Rather, they were the teams that hit their stride at just the right time, usually after overcoming some prolonged stretch of adversity that hardened them. Like this year's NFC and AFC finalists, those Super Bowl winners had a level of mental toughness that couldn't be measured on paper.

    The 2000 Baltimore Ravens developed that tenacity because they went five games with an offense that couldn't score a touchdown. The '01 Patriots had it because they started 0-2, lost their starting quarterback to injury and then discovered that his backup, Tom Brady, had far more magic in him than anyone every imagined. The '04 Patriots? People forget they won their third Super Bowl in four seasons with a makeshift secondary. The '05 Steelers? They were on the brink of missing the playoffs until an eight-game winning streak landed them the Lombardi Trophy.

    My point is that all these teams had to deal with some sort of crisis during the season that forced them to mature into a championship team. That's what we often overlook these days. We live in a time where we make instant judgments on teams without considering their growth potential. But the league is all about transition now. The days when you could look at the Dallas Cowboys, San Francisco 49ers or Pittsburgh Steelers and know they were as good as they were five years ago have long since passed. Every team starts anew in this NFL when a season begins and that means they're constantly evolving as the year progresses.

    If they've been doubted, dogged or denounced at any point of the season, they're doubly motivated to make amends in the playoffs. Look at the Colts, a team that finished the regular season with the league's 32nd-ranked run defense. Their run defense has been sterling in the playoffs. The Bears lost Pro Bowl defenders Tommie Harris and Mike Brown to injury, while their quarterback, Rex Grossman, displayed an incredible capacity for both brilliant and befuddling play during the regular season. They've overcome that and are a victory away from playing in the Super Bowl. I can also promise you that few people thought New England had enough offense to advance this far, and that few even expected the Saints to make the playoffs. But the holdovers from last year's Saints team can recall every negative memory that resulted from their nomadic, post-Katrina season in 2005, and that's been a motivator in their turnaround.

    Conversely, what did San Diego and Baltimore, two squads who rolled through the AFC, have to endure? This isn't to say they lacked the talent or that their seasons were any less impressive. It's just that regular-season dominance means very little in the NFL anymore. With the Chargers falling to New England last week, we've now seen the team with the league's best record fall short in the playoffs for the third straight season (the '04 Steelers and '05 Colts were the others). [Jay's note - only the Steelers even won a single playoff game after amassing the best playoff record and the Steelers needed the Jets to miss a FG at the end of regulation to get into overtime.]

    As any of these teams can tell you now, success in the playoffs goes beyond impressive stats and gaudy won-loss records. The postseason comes down to momentum, heart and a belief that no matter what has happened during the regular season, you've learned enough about yourselves to apply those lessons in January. They didn't reach this point because they were the better teams. They got here because they gained the most from the struggles that today's teams have to endure in order to be called champions.
    And the bye week throws that momentum into disarray.
    Why do the things that we treasure most, slip away in time
    Till to the music we grow deaf, to God's beauty blind
    Why do the things that connect us slowly pull us apart?
    Till we fall away in our own darkness, a stranger to our own hearts
    And life itself, rushing over me
    Life itself, the wind in black elms,
    Life itself in your heart and in your eyes, I can't make it without you


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    NaptownSeth is all feel Naptown_Seth's Avatar
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    Default Re: The NFL needs to eliminate the "first round bye".

    Quote Originally Posted by Unclebuck View Post
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    Jay the stats over the years show that the teams with a week off win 80% of the time. However the trend is much different as the past few seasons it is much different more like 50%. I think about 4 years ago 85% of the time the team with a bye won. Also there used to be a lot more blowouts - but not in the past few seasons.

    Not sure what it all means.
    And the last couple of years we'd seen the ROAD teams winning 3 of the WC games, but then not this year.

    It has nothing to do with the bye and everything to do with a set of teams VERY CLOSELY MATCHED.

    Frankly all 4 games this week were incredible I thought. Great matchups which was reflected in the scoreboard.

    If it was a 14-2 team vs a 10-6 team then I see some questioning. But lets keep in mind that both Indy and NE were in the hunt till the end, NE is still a core of 3 time SB champs and Indy was flipping 9-0 to start the year.


    The NFC has been a mess all year with every team looked badly flawed, including the top 2 seeds. The Bears not only had Rex issues, but also defensive injury problems. New Orleans has been very tough to read and has played worse at home all year.


    None of the outcomes were shockers, nor was the competitiveness of the games.

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    NaptownSeth is all feel Naptown_Seth's Avatar
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    Default Re: The NFL needs to eliminate the "first round bye".

    And let's talk about WC momentum some more...Oh, you know, some MONSTER DESTRUCTION of Denver in Indianapolis.

    How'd that momentum work out? How'd the huge win in KC help build that into a SB appearance? Whoops. Nevermind.

    Half the time momentum isn't momentum till the team actually wins the game momentum is supposed to be helping them win. When they don't win people dismiss it as the rest helping, home field or the bye team being obviously better. They forget to also add in that momentum meant jack squat in the face of all those other reasons.

    Conversely, what did San Diego and Baltimore, two squads who rolled through the AFC, have to endure?
    Errr, rolled? I missed where they played Indy. But very similar squads did play in the last 2 years. How'd that go? End of surprises. NE, SD, Baltimore, Indy, and PIT till this year have been consistantly in the mix the last few seasons (BAL had Lewis issues in the middle but the defense has been elite the whole time). Before that you had TEN as part of it too (including a SB trip).

    Only one of the good teams can go, but that doesn't mean the rest were lacking momentum or "trials by fire" themselves. Just that someone has to win and someone has to lose.

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