NFL Playoffs: Expansion Breeds Mediocrity

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

As there seem to be every year, rumors are swirling that the NFL is considering adding a seventh Playoff spot to each conference. It certainly would make the league more money,give fans extra Playoff games, and give more fans Playoff excitement. Is this a good idea for football, though?

To me the question is how good the extra team would be. If an excellent football team is being kept out every year, expanding the Playoffs makes sense.

To figure this out, I took inventory of the record of the last team out in each conference in the NFL the past ten years. Here are their records.

8-8:  6

9-7:  8

10-6: 5

11-5: 1

This isn't a perfect example. Teams might have played late season games differently if there were seven Playoff spots these years. Some teams out of it might have still been in the race and either shown more nerves or playerd starters more and young guys less. Those factors would probably not have had a great impact, though.

Ultimately, though, this paints a fairly clear picture. Adding an extra Playoff spot means allowing an average team to make the Playoffs. 70% of the time the last team would have less than 10 wins. A .500 team would have made it slightly more than a team with double digit wins.

The Playoffs are fine as they are.

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