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Sports Thoughts and Personal Finance Links

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I hope your holidays have been good so far. Outside of the outcome of some sporting events they've been great for me. Nothing specific, just spending good family time.

My wife and I went to the Celtics game against the Golden State Warriors on the 26th. We love to go to any Boston sporting event as its a way for us to in touch with what we consider our home, Boston. We hoped to see the Celtics bounce back from losing to the Lakers on Christmas. Unfortunately they blew a 14 point lead to the Warriors and lost. I have watched 3 Celtics games this year and they are 1-2 in those games. The rest of the games they are 28-1.

Yesterday's football games went no better for fans of Boston sports. The football playoff scenario I described a few weeks ago where the Patriots could be 11-5 and not make the playoffs came true yesterday. Since the league moved to it's current format of allowing 6 playoff teams in 1990, no 11-5 team has not made the playoffs - until yesterday. The odd occurrence left the 7-8 Chargers a chance to play in prime time for a home field playoff spot. They capitalized on the opportunity and will not only play a playoff game, but host one with an 8-8 record.

I've talked with some people around the nation, not just Patriots fans, and they feel like it's a disservice to the NFL for an 11-5 team to be at home while an 8-8 team plays in the playoffs. They said that the NFL should want to promote it's best product come playoff time. The NFL got very lucky this year that the 8-8 team is playing great football. If divisions were aligned differently a team like Buffalo who haven't played well since the beginning of the year could have had a chance to sneak into the playoffs with just a little better play.

I was chatting with Five Cent Nickel last night and he proposed a solution that allows division battles to mean something - as well as wild cards. He suggested that the NFL go back to the three division format, but keep the 6 playoff teams - three division winners and three wild cards. If divisions had 6 teams, there would be less of a chance of someone winning one with an 8-8 record. This would have saved the 1985 Broncos, the other 11-5 team not to make the playoffs. Sadly, when you look at the teams, even this probably wouldn't have saved the Patriots this year. The natural alignment would be to go with a East, Central, and West to be leaders and there weren't any teams that I'd put in the West division that would have taken the title with a good record. You'd probably still have 6 teams with 11 wins or more fighting for 5 playoff spots.

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Posted on December 29, 2008.

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8 Responses to “Sports Thoughts and Personal Finance Links”

  1. Stu says:

    Could be worse. Could be the 0-16 Lions.

  2. Could be worse – could’ve gone 18-0 and then lost the Super Bowl. ;)

  3. Lazy Man says:

    I will take an 18-0 team playing in the Super Bowl any day of the week. I don’t know anyone else who has won 18 from the start of the season.

    I suppose I could be a coach who got fired this morning after having burnt all his bridges around the league by being a rat. I hope he put a lot of money in a nice safe CD.

  4. JW says:

    There are 32 NFL teams–how do you divide that into six divisions? That was the whole reason why the NFL went to the current alignment.

  5. Lazy Man says:

    Baseball does it…

  6. kosmo says:

    The NFL could contract a couple of teams and have six divisions of five teams each. I propose that the Bears and Packers be eliminated :)

    My suggestion would be to split into four divisions of eight teams each. Within each conference (two divisions make up a conference) the division winners and two wild cards make the playoffs. That’s eight total teams. I think twelve playoffs teams is a bit much.

  7. Lazy Man says:

    I think the NFL likes having more teams in the races. It’s more cities rooting at the end of the season and more tickets sold. I don’t think you’d get by with the 8 playoff format.

  8. kosmo says:

    Yeah, that’s a good point. From my perspective, it just takes away some of the luster of being a playoff team, since 3/8 of the league makes the playoffs. I like the rarity of playoff appearances in baseball.

    Don’t many of the teams sell out all their games in advance? Maybe that’s not the case in some markets, but it seems to be the case in the midwest (well, maybe not Detroit so much)

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