The NFL has been embroiled in controversy since the launch of their new national anthem policy. Critics have called it unfair to players and un-American while supporters say they are taking a stand against Donald Trump’s “divisive rhetoric.” The league is evidently digging itself into a hole, but what can be done?
The “nfl standings” is a weekly report that tells you every Thursday night the Lousy 2-7 Playoff Game Isn’t Going Anywhere.
Troy Aikman wasn’t the only one who hoped he didn’t have to attend Sunday’s game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
In Kansas City on Sunday night, Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth were presumably thinking the same thing.
If you were looking for six nail-biting, dramatic football games, the Super Wild Card Weekend didn’t deliver.
Only two of the five games played on Saturday and Sunday were worth watching: the Cincinnati Bengals-Las Vegas Raiders game on Saturday and the frantic conclusion in the Dallas Cowboys-San Francisco 49ers game on Sunday, which left Aikman wishing for a change of assignments.
Both of those entertaining games featured matches in the 4-5 and 3-6 positions, which should come as no surprise to anybody. While the 3-6 AFC showdown on Saturday night was a gigantic blowout, it was at least entertaining for Buffalo Bills supporters and New England Patriots detractors.
On Sunday, both 2-7 games were dreadful. Three of the four games between the No. 2 seed and the No. 7 seed have been terrible in the two years of the seven-team system. But when it comes to making money, the NFL has never cared about the quality of a game.
Sorry for the inconvenience. The playoff format isn’t going away anytime soon.
Getty Images/Kyle Juszczyk | Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire
For more than a decade, the NFL has given you its take on quantity vs. quality. The Thursday Night Football brand, which started with a handful of end-of-season games in 2006, has now been a season-long entity for a decade, with television and streaming rights expanding with each new deal.
Fans despise Thursday games because the quality has been consistently poor, just as players and coaches despise Thursday games after playing on Sunday. The three-day window, rather than a full week, restricts a team’s capacity to train, lowers the amount of time for injured players to completely recover before the following game, and puts a team’s game plan implementation timetable out of sync.
When the games are played concurrently, they tend to be sloppy affairs. Even the announcers despise having to call the Thursday game. There was a problem when NBC had the Thursday night rights because Al Michaels, at his senior age, refused to announce both Thursday and Sunday night games due to the rapid turnaround and travel required.
All of those concerns, however, pale in contrast to the amount of rights money generated by the Thursday night package. The ratings are also available. Despite all of the criticism, people continue to watch the games. The NFL is well aware of this. This autumn, the entire slate of Thursday games will begin a second decade.
On Sunday, the Nickelodeon simulcast was a gold mine for CBS and the NFL.
And if the NFL is ready to put up with the backlash that comes with playing 17 Thursday night games every season, they’re not going to lose any sleep over a few of blowouts over a three-day, six-game playoff marathon that suffocates the rest of the sports world.
The wisdom of adding two more Wild Card Round games to the schedule was allowing the networks to compete for the rights to the two more games. CBS paid $70 million for the rights to a second game this weekend, notably in the desirable late Sunday afternoon time slot, and the league rewarded them by giving them the greatest game on paper, which happened to be an NFC game.
So, while Troy Aikman and Joe Buck moaned from the booth during the Eagles-Buccaneers rout, Jim Nantz and Tony Romo got to broadcast the premier Cowboys-49ers matchup, which paid off for everyone involved in the frenetic, contentious closing seconds.
The game’s simulcast on Nickelodeon, a children’s network, was the major marketing triumph for CBS and the NFL. While Major League Baseball is locked out and has no marketing appeal to younger fans, the NFL was able to sell its product to a nation of children in their own visuals and language for $70 million, undoubtedly planting a flag of enthusiasm and excitement for the next generation of content consumers.
Oh, the Chiefs-Steelers game, which lasted beyond most East Coast kids’ Sunday night bedtimes, wasn’t even close? That’s a real pity.
The league would happily trade a couple of bad playoff games for the drama of Week 18
The NFL had already gotten what it wanted out of Pittsburgh by the time Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers were down 35-7 on Sunday night. All eyes were on the Steelers’ destiny a week ago, as the Raiders and Chargers faced off in the regular-season finale on Sunday night.
With everyone knowing that a tie between the Chargers and Raiders would ensure postseason places for both teams at the cost of the Steelers, it became a subject that couldn’t be ignored. The Steelers’ overtime win against the Baltimore Ravens earlier in the day added to the day’s drama, raising the stakes for the night game.
The overtime game between the 49ers and the Rams was similarly exciting and crucial to the playoff picture. Would there have been as much drama if just six teams from each conference qualified? Would there have been the same level of enthusiasm in a 17-week season? We’ll never know, but the events of last weekend played out as they did, with the Raiders bringing the regular season to a close with a last-second overtime win. Roger Goodell couldn’t have planned it any more perfectly.
However, it caused the Eagles-Bucs and Steelers-Chiefs to play a pair of clunkers between the No. 2 and No. 7 seeds, irritated one of their best commentators, and sparked disparaging remarks on Twitter.
And we’ll all be back to do it all over again next year. It’s something the league is banking on.
RELATED: Troy Aikman Was Angry That He Didn’t Call the Cowboys-49ers Game on Sunday, and He Wasn’t Humble About It
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The “nfl playoffs seeding 2022” is a blog post that the NFL released on Thursday night, which tells you every Thursday night the lousy 2-7 playoff game isn’t going anywhere.
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