With all the discussion about reseeding playoffs based on record rather than the wildcard/divisional champion system, I thought it would be interesting to see the ideas that people had on BBV to solve this issue (even though Im not sure it really is one). My plan essentially involves a massive restructure of conferences. No divisions, only the NFC and AFC, each with 16 teams. Every team plays the other teams in their conference once and no interconference games, which means that there will be no discrepancy in terms of strength of schedule between conference teams. This will result in a 15 game season, however, I propose that 8 teams from each conference make the playoffs.
This is where it gets more interesting. The top 1-4 seeds of each conference play an opponent from the opposite conference, two 1v4 games and two 2v3 games. The winners of those games, get a bye in Playoff Week Two. The losers are not elimiated, but have to play in the next week. The 5-8 seeds from each conference play eachother in the same way, 5v8 and 6v7. These are elimination playoffs, so the winner moves on and the loser is out. This should create more interesting games in the first week of playoffs, because in theory the more evenly matched teams will be playing. It also gives greater importance to a teams seeding, because if they are in the 1-4 range, the first week of playoffs for them actually arent elimination.
In Playoff Week Two, there will be 4 games, with the losers of the 1-4 seed matches playing the winners of the 5-8 seed matches. This could be done one of two ways, highest seed v lowest seed with intraconference games taking precedence (to ensure there is no is not a case where there is a tie for a game claim), or, the way I prefer, with the teams who were 1-4 seeds CHOOSING their opponent from the 5-8 seeds. This will once again give more importance to a high seeding as even when a team loses in the first week of the playoffs they get an advantage in their second match. It will also create a good storyline going into the game, with the choosing team able to pick the team they view as the weak link, and the chosen team with the ultimate reason to get fired up for the game. Winner advance to Playoff Week Three, losers go home.
In Playoff Week Three, there will once again be four games, with the 1-4 seeds who won in Playoff Week One playing the winners from Playoff Week Two. Once again I propose that the Week One winners choose their opponents, for the same reasons as before. In Playoff Week Four, highest seed would play lowest seed, with an intraconference foe taking precedence (to ensure in the two matches are between opponents who have a clear ranking in terms of seeding). The winners in Playoff Week Four will then go on to the Super Bowl.
Overall, this, I believe, would give better quality matches in the playoffs, remove the dispute in playoff seeding through the conference realingment, give greater importance to a high seed, and also give an extra week of playoff games.
Thoughts, queries, issues or ideas?