NFL expanded playoffs? This isn’t just a Jerry Jones push
DALLAS — Jerry Jones is on-record as saying he supports the expansion of the NFL Playoffs in order to add two more wild-card teams. As a result, the response has centered on the idea that the Dallas Cowboys owner is thinking selfishly of ways to help his own club finally re-enter the postseason.
And then the joke is, no matter how bloated the number of playoff berths get, Dallas will still, no matter what, finish one game out.
"From the standpoint of looking at how exciting it is for a city or a community to be involved in the playoffs,” Jones said, "that makes a big case for adding a couple of more cities or communities that have NFL teams to the playoffs.”
But in fact, it is myopic and naÃ¯ve to think this is a Cowboys project. It’s driven by commissioner Roger Goodell, it’s been discussed in league circles for the last year, and while it’s not yet officially on the agenda for the March owners meetings, it likely will be.
And the financial bonanza being what it is, the NFL will quite likely be adding a seventh seed to each the playoff field in each conference beginning in 2015.
Traditionalists and purists will moan. Probably just like they did after 1968, when Major League Baseball first introduced the idea of "playoffs” into its postseason — rather than just the American and National League champions advancing directly to the World Series.
That seems to have worked out.
Really, it’s humorous to hear "purists” complain about the "cheapness” of this likely advancement in football while at the same time admitting to be thrilled that recent editions of the Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals — two very "traditional” MLB franchises — have won World Series as wild-card entrants.
The truth is, a few years after this change, those who protested will have forgotten their objections and will join the country in watching more teams remain in the December hunt, and then two more teams gain entry into the tournament.
As it relates to the recent-edition Cowboys? Had there been a No. 7 slot in 2011, the perpetually 8-8 Cowboys would’ve finished out of it in 10th. In 2012 they would have been out of it in ninth. And this year’s 8-8 team would’ve been out of it in ninth again.
Nevertheless, Jones said, "It just creates that much more excitement and that much more interest for people in those communities. So I fall on the side of the ledger that would increase the playoffs."
Jones is a loud voice here. But this isn’t a Cowboys desire or a Cowboys push or, in a sense, even just a Cowboys story.
This is an NFL movement. And it’s coming.