item 1 >>> I Hate “Double Issues” of Magazines…Yet here is a double issue of DFHC, more or less…can’t be helped. It’s a Football Special in honor of the Super Bowl, intended to stretch over Friday and Saturday…
item 2 >>> 204-Yard Wonder…Super Bowl XXII…which is to say Super Bowl 22…the 1987 Super Bowl…for the 1987 season…played in 1988…BTW, isn’t it strange the NFL doesn’t care to make it any clearer, like “1987 World Series”…now that’s crystal clear…no muss, no fuss, no danged Roman Numerals. Anyway, in the “1987 Super Bowl,” Redskin rookie Timmy Smith rushed for 204 yards, breaking Marcus Allen’s record of 191 from 4 years earlier. That included 2 TD, the longest 58 yards. He had just 29 carries for 126 yards that whole season, but he was subbing for a hobbled George Rogers, who saw limited action in the final game. And due to injuries, Timmy lasted just 2 more seasons…gaining 470 for the Skins in 1988, and just 6 on 6 carries in 1 game for the Cowboys in 1990.
item 3 >>> So Crazy It Just Might Work…To limit injuries, here are the new shoulder-ma-pads they’ll be wearing Sunday…
item 4 >>> A Brave New Post-Season…I got to thinnin’, me and Whisky Whiskerdo, about how, among the major team sports, only football has a post-season that’s sudden death…one loss and home you go. In baseball, hockey, basketball, its 2/3, 3/5, 4/7. Due to the nature of the game, this wouldn’t be feasible for the NFL. Or would it? I decided to sketch out an idea…just to see how far-fetched it really was…and discovered to my amazement that it isn’t all that crazy after all. Now granted…granted…there can be 101 objections to every step of this proposal, but it’s a starting point. I’m thinking outside the stadium on this…at least give a look…
The fundamental issue is this: how many football games can you ask a team to play in a season? As it now stands, it’s 4 exhibition games, a 16 game regular season, then 1, 2, 3, or 4 post-season games. And altho individual players can no longer participate in both the Super Bowl and the Pro Bowl, up until the 2008 season they could. That’s a maximum of 25 games, so let’s play with that.
(1) No exhibition games. Scrimmages in July, season starts in August. Not that much of a stretch, since fans pay full prices to attend pre-season games now, and they are televised. So in a very real sense, the season already does start in August.
(2) The regular season consists of 18 games, which is to say, every team is guaranteed stadium revenues from 9 home dates and a piece of 9 road games. There are 2 Conferences and no Divisions, and the first 15 regular season games are for post-season qualification. Every team plays every other team in its Conference once. After 15 games, 8 teams in each Conference are now in the playoffs.
(3) These 8 teams are matched for a 3-game series, the first round of the Post Season Series. They will be home and away, with a tiebreaker to determine who hosts the 3rd game, if necessary. Now at this stage, if all 4 series in a Conference go 3 games, these 8 teams will have played their guaranteed 18 games. A team that is knocked out 2-games-to-none would have played only 17, so in this instance only, there would be some sort of monetary compensation from the league for the losing team. A team winning a 2-0 series plays on, so it gets its 18 games and more.
(4) The 4 remaining teams are matched for another 3-game series, the second round of the Post Season Series. The winners would then meet in a 3-game Conference Final Series, then a 1-game Super Bowl. To sum up, the Super Bowl teams would play in a minimum of 15 + (3×2) + 1 = 22 games, up to a maximum of 15 + (3×3) + 1 = 25 games.
(5) But wait! The 8 teams in each Conference that don’t qualify for the playoffs have only played 15 games. Correct, so to fill out their guaranteed 18 game schedule, they would play 3 games among themselves, in a pre-determined format and based on their ranking after 15 games. And to make it interesting, the top 3 finishers from the non-qualifiers in each Conference would get 1 extra pick in the first round of the next college draft, these bonus picks to come after all the 32 regular picks. Thus, Weeks 16, 17, and 18 would be a combination of the first round of the Post Season Series, played on Saturdays and Sundays…and a 3-round Draft Pick Series, on Mondays, Thursday and Fridays.
After Week 15’s games are completed, we come to the all important Final Rankings: top 8 teams are the Post Season Series, the other 8 in the Draft Pick Series. Here’s where the beauty of this system starts to shine through. When 2 teams have identical records, you’re in tiebreaker heaven…just ask: which team won the game they played together? Simple as that…fair, straightforward, and easy to understand…what’s called today “transparency.” Heck, fans could even figure it out themselves without any arcane formulas form the league office eggheads. It goes without saying that no regular season games will end in a tie…play it out to a win, and perhaps with slightly tweaked overtime procedures.
When 3 or more teams are tied in the standings, you have what could be called a de facto “division,” consisting of the games these teams played against each other, “common games.” Here again, breaking the tie could be child’s play, if say 3 teams had records of 2-0, 1-1, and 0-2 in their “division.” If all 3 were 1-1 of course, you’d need to go to something like point differential in the “division,” followed I suppose by point differential in the Conference. Ties with more than 3 teams would sort out in a similar way…rank them by common games…if ties still exist, by head to head record, then point differential. Here’s what a typical Final Ranking for the AFC might look like. (This is not based on last season, just a sample season I made up…)
The first 2 columns are Wins and Losses. The next column is common games used as tiebreakers…and of course, common games between only 2 teams consist of just one game. The 4th column is a second level of tie-breakers, all these head to head. And the 5th column, final tie-breakers based on point differential of common games. ‘
Again, what I like about this setup is how clear-cut and “transparent” the tie-breakers are…there for all the world to see and verify. It’s so easy because in a Conference, every team plays every other team once in the first 15 games…and thus the outcome of every game is significant, because a positional tie-breaker may ride on it.
These teams never made it to the Super Bowl…in fact, they never made it to anything. The top 3 were candidates for the 2 expansions slots eventually given to Jacksonville and Carolina. The Tennessee Copperheads were a fan proposal to give the then Tennessee Oilers their own identity, while acknowledging their past. And Senors was the original nickname of the Raiders.
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