On Trial: Expanded Playoffs

“Player safety first…tell me you like my hat.” Source: Pittsburghmagazine.com

As you may have heard, Roger Goodell is considering expanding the playoff field from 12 to 14 or 16, an announcement that has been met with widespread criticism. Like most decisions in pro sports, this will come down to the money and if it is profitable enough many expect this change to go through in the next few seasons. But before the owners officially vote on it, we’d like to put the potential change on trial in our prestigious court of football law. Ben Van Iten will be handling the prosecution, while Nate Raby will be taking care of the defense.

* * * *

Some of Ben’s assistants wheel out a large easel, which is currently being covered by a cloth. After they scurry off, the prosecuting attorney rises from his chair and casually walks towards the jury.

Ben: Good morning, members of the jury and haters of mediocrity. I want to take a moment to talk about myself, so you can get to know the man behind the brilliant closing statement.

In order to preside over cases like this, you have to have nerves of steel. You have to be able to look another fake attorney in the eye and say, “not today, bub.” But still, I am human. Much like all of you, I have fears. One of them is bees. The other one…IS THIS!

He takes the cloth off the easel with a certain dramatic flair, revealing a poorly photo shopped image of Sam Bradford holding up a Super Bowl trophy. One of the jurors actually vomits.

I know, I know. The first time I saw this image I was scared too. To cope with it I drank 26 beers, blacked out, and apparently sent Nate a priority mail package of my cat’s feces with a note that said “haha, this is poop”.

Nate shudders.

The NFL, moreso than any other pro sport, is ripe with parity. While it is exciting to have such wide open playoffs, letting more and more teams insures one of two equally shitty outcomes. Either the first round is going to get less and less exciting as dominant teams are matched up with 8-8 train wrecks and beat the ever loving shit out of them, or a team that played an entire season of borderline lousy football is going to win a Lombardi trophy. The Giants won the world title last year after a 9-7 regular season, but at least they won their freakin’ division!

Because the playoffs are one and done, because there is no 5 or 7 game series to hash out who the better team actually is…the invite to the postseason should be exclusive. Otherwise why are these players putting their bodies on the line in such a violent game for a 16 game season if you are going to let half the league in anyway? The league would like to tell you that it will cause more drama for the last week of the season, and that may be true for some games…but others in the middle will be just as content to rest their starters as teams have all along. The current system has been in place for basically twenty years, and has anyone complained ever? If so, I haven’t heard it.

This is not about keeping fans interested, or the good of the game…this is a cash grab, plain and simple.

Ben straightens his tie.

The prosecution rests.

Before returning to his seat , Ben executes some kind of karate kick on the Bradford picture, sending it tumbling to the ground.

Nate steps over the Bradford picture like Allen Iverson stepped over Tyronn Lue, then points at Ben.

Nate: I had an orange belt in judo, and you’re no Bruce Lee.

Okay. Ben has made some good points. It certainly points to the hypocrisy of Goodell, of preaching player safety while getting more chances for revenue. It extends what the season of a sport that is popular partly because of its lack of length compared to baseball, basketball, and…that other sport with skates. The name escapes me. I have a condition where I only remember relevant things.

A man with glasses and a shirt reading OMGITSHOCKEY.COM throws a lobster at Nate and leaves the room. The lobster misses and hits a jury member.

Yes, those are good points. But let’s think about another sport for a minute. Let’s think about March Madness. 65 teams. Isn’t that ridiculous? Why the hell would they have that many teams? The biggest and best schools usually win out anyway.

But a crazy thing happens every few years in college basketball’s biggest tournament. A big upset happens. 15 over 2, 13 over 4…some unknown team beats a powerhouse, and fans go nuts. And then, sometimes that team will make it to the semifinals, or even the Final Four. Remember how crazy people went over George Mason? When Butler got to the championship two years in a row?

Football is missing the true underdog story. Sure, there’s parity, but only in the sense of “That team sucked ass last year, and now they’re in the playoffs!” By the time January rolls around, we’ve been able to see what these teams are capable of. And what football really needs is for one of those teams that has played poorly all year to take everyone by surprise…

Nate suddenly stops and sighs.

Fuck this. I can’t do this.

THIS IS BULLSHIT, GOODELL! HOW COULD ANYONE DEFEND THIS? I’ve been racking my brain ALL FUCKING DAY trying to come up with a good argument. Cinderella story? It’s cute, but do we really want to hurt the league by having a 7-9 champion? It’s bad enough the Tampa Bay Bucs won once!

Nate throws his tie off and begins stomping on it in anger.

Maybe only having one team have a bye would make the end of seasons more interesting? Sure, until star players get hurt in the last game of the season and ruin their postseason. And that’s another hypocrisy by the league. Want to insure player safety? Make sure they don’t have to play hard for any unnecessary amount of games.

And my only other argument. “Who doesn’t love more football?” But it’s not the same, and we all know it. THIS PLAN IS DUMB. IT IS DUMB DUMB DUMB. AND I AM DUMB FOR TRYING TO DEFEND IT.

Nate looks over at Ben and shakes his head.

You win, Ben. The jury is as useless as they always are. No one could possibly agree with Goodell here. The defense rests, grabs a shotgun at the foot of the bed, and blows its brains out.

Nate leaves the court room crying.


Does anyone think they can make a better case for the defense? Let us know in the comments section!

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One response to “On Trial: Expanded Playoffs

  1. Bob

    Worst public defender ever…