2014 NFL Bracketology: Day 1

Christian Petersen

The NFL Playoffs are about to begin. Before they do, let's all vote together on an imaginary champion in a NCAA March Madness style tournament.

Last year I ran this same imaginary playoffs during March Madness as a way to combat the doldrums of the NFL offseason. The series ran with mixed results; the Texans did end up winning because this is a Texans website, but hopefully we can tap into new markets for this year's edition and get a true end result.

If you are someone who drunkenly stumbled into the opaque alley way that is Battle Red Blog, here is last year's edition and thank you for stopping by to voice your opinion. If you don't feel like reading last year's post, I will provide a Spark Notes edition to either refresh the brain or get the newcomers up to speed. I would prefer you read last year's post since it is stuffed with wit, knowledge and jokes, but it's fine if you skip out on it. Just like when you decided not to read Animal Farm in 8th grade, you aren't hurting my feelings; you are just cheating yourself.

Reasons Why The March Madness System Needs To Happen

  • I understand that the current format is the best way to have a "true champion." Where is the fun in that? Imagine waking up next Saturday with eight playoff games and eight more the following day. It would be the greatest weekend of the year and there would be unfathomable upsets. Imagine the Manning Face looks on in disgust as Matt Schaub takes a knee to kill the clock in an impossible upset. How incredible would it be to see the Schiano-led Bucs upset the Bengals as Marvin Lewis exits the first round of the playoffs again? It would be a beautiful gorging of NFL football. We all thought the first two days of March Madness, the Divisional Round, and the World Cup were the best sporting events of all time, but this would obliterate it.
  • It would also help eliminate tanking. It would not completely neutralize it because there will be teams who would give up on any thought of playoff success, but it would still give them something to play for. Also, it would be difficult for teams to explain to their fan base that they are benching everyone for a higher draft pick when they have a chance to improve their seeding and increase their chances of advancing in the tournament.
  • This format would remove situations like what we saw yesterday where the Arizona Cardinals and their top ranked defense failed to make the playoffs while the Chargers snuck in because they beat the Chiefs' J.V squad. Every team would get in. It would end the nonsense of seeing 7-9 and 8-8 playoff teams getting in the playoffs instead of better teams in a different conference.
  • There are currently 32 NFL teams, which creates a perfect round number for a playoff bracket. Additionally, it currently takes 19 or 20 games to win a championship. In this new March Madness system with the current regular season, it would take 21 games. We can remove the two extra games were teams play the teams in their conference that finish in at the same division rank as them. For example, since the Patriots won the AFC East, they would play the Broncos, Bengals, and Colts next year. However, in this system, teams will play every divisional team twice, play an AFC division, and play a NFC division; that comes out to fourteen games a year. Yes, we will miss out on some classic rivalry games, but the opportunity cost is worth it in this situation. The perfect round number allows an even bracket and the schedule is already set up to be able to run a playoff system like this. So every argument with this format would only be "I like the current system" or "This is the way we have always done it," which is the worst argument against change.

The Process

  • Every division winner will automatically get either a #1 or #2 seed to fill in the first eight spots. Who gets a #1 seed or a #2 seed would be determined by a selection committee that would be a collection of NFL stat and film experts who would use strength of schedule, DVOA, one possession record, point differential and Pythagorean wins to measure teams. After the division winners are locked down into the top two seeds, the rest of the teams field out the #3-#8 seeds in each region. Of those #3-#8 seeds, they will also be ranked 1-4 within their current regions. That way we can add an even larger to benefit to the teams that are losing homefield advantage and a first round bye. So the overall #1 seed would get placed against the 4th ranked #3-#8 seeds, and the overall #2 seed would get the 3rd ranked #3-#8 seeds, and so on until the divisions are filled. John Madden will be the spokesperson because... BOOM!--we all need some John Madden in our lives.
  • Every team will play at a neutral field like the NCAA basketball tournament. Just like March Madness, the #1 seeds get to play at the neutral stadium closest to home. Speaking of neutral fields, the current stadiums are the following until certain cities get to rob the tax payers to build new stadiums for the tournament:
  • San Antonio (South Division): The hipsterville known as Austin, TX does not deserve a playoff game, so the South Region will play at the Alamodome. It fits 72,000 people and it's four hours away from major larger areas like Dallas and Houston. Additionally, the city has held the NCAA Championships with success, there are plenty of hotels to go around, and for some strange reason, tourists enjoy going to the River Walk.
  • Columbus (North Division): Columbus is a cool place, it's outside, snow is always awesome football weather, and their stadium can handle 102,329.
  • Pasadena (West Division): I have never been to the Rose Bowl, but from multiple sources I have heard that it is their favorite place to watch a football game. A place that is supposedly the best venue to see a football game needs to be utilized more than seven times a year. It also adds to the diversity of different weather conditions.
  • University Park (East Division): This a toss up between Ann Harbor and Happy Valley. Penn State's location is farther East so it gets the nod. I would rather have this location in a larger town, but all the big Northeast cities, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and parts of New Jersey are too close to NFL teams. So #Beaverland will be the location of choice until Hartford builds a NFL stadium that could be used four weeks a year.
  • The last four teams will be known as Lombardi's Last Four. Las Vegas will build a billion dollar stadium to host the semi finals and the Super Bowl. It would be the greatest event of all time. The NFL could even squeeze the Super Bowl to greater exhaustion.

Without further ado, here is the tournament in bracket form for those who want to see the full picture. The matchups are below. Underneath there is the link to the survey to cast your votes. Lastly, when you do vote, pick your teams based on who you think will win, not because you went to Miami and had to fight off a homeless man before he ate off your hand.

West Division (Pasadena)

1.) Seattle Seahawks (#1 Overall Seed)

8.) Houston Texans

4.) Pittsburgh Steelers

5.) St. Louis Rams

3.) Arizona Cardinals

6.) New York Giants

2.) Indianapolis Colts

7.) Cleveland Browns

North Division (Columbus)

1.) Denver Broncos (#2 Overall Seed)

8.) Washington Redskins

4.) Dallas Cowboys

5.) Miami Dolphins

3.) Kansas City Chiefs

6.) Tennessee Titans

2.) Green Bay Packers

7.) Minnesota Vikings

South Division (San Antonio)

1.) Carolina Panthers

8.) Oakland Raiders

4.) San Diego Chargers

5.) Detroit Lions

3.) New Orleans Saints

6.) New York Jets

2.) Philadelphia Eagles

7.) Atlanta Falcons

East Division (University Park)

1.) New England Patriots

8.) Jacksonville Jaguars

4.) Chicago Bears

5.) Baltimore Ravens

3.) San Francisco 49ers

6.) Buffalo Bills

2.) Cincinnati Bengals

7.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Here is the link to the bracket. The seeds are wrong due to the limitations with the site, so pay no attention to them. Someday I will hit the big time where I can get a graphic artist to update the bracket every day using photoshop wizardry.

Here is the links to the survey

Part I

Part II

Have fun voting. Check back again tomorrow at the same time for the results and the second round.

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