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NFL should expand playoffs

December 16, 2012
By CRAIG?REMSBURG - Senior Staff Writer ( , The Mining Journal

A series of ups and downs has marked the NFL this season.

Peyton Manning's return has been stunning; Adrian Peterson may gain the league's Comeback Player of the Year award; the Indianapolis Colts behind Andrew Luck have been the feel-good story of the year; and the league's parity has made each week of play most interesting.

But the NFL has also struggled with the New Orleans Saints' bounty controversy; Kansas City Chiefs player Jovan Belcher committing murder and suicide; numerous players being fined for illegal hits to the head; and Josh Brent of the Dallas Cowboys being charged with causing a teammate's death in a traffic crash.

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Let's hope the remainder of the regular season - and the playoffs culminating with the Super Bowl - bring more of the good and less of the bad in the league.

Meanwhile, in the next few months, the NFL can do something to improve the league and make a lot of people happy.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said this past week the league is exploring the possibility of expanding the the playoffs.

Now, 12 teams - the eight division winners and two wild card teams in each conference - qualify for postseason play.

The NFL is considering adding two, and as many as four, teams to the playoff picture.

Bring it on. It's the way to go, especially if it will mean one less preseason game played.

Critics will no doubt say the move will reward mediocrity and dilute the quality of playoff games.

But playoff expansion will do at least three things:

1. Shorten an already meaningless preseason.

2. Make regular season games more meaningful with a couple of additional playoff spots on the line.

3. Give the fans of the teams that make the playoffs under the expanded format something extra to cheer about.

The NFL could even go one step further. It could get rid of the first round bye games and have the top teams host the lowest seeds.

It would still make the regular season important while creating the possibility of a major upset.

Imagine if a mediocre team manages to beat one of the top seeds. It would be great, just like it is when it happens during NCAA basketball's March Madness.

Think of the buzz it would create around the pro football world.

The league committee responsible for making a playoff expansion proposal should do so as soon as possible.

But the NFL Players' Association will probably block its implementation, anyway.

Craig Remsburg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 251. His email address is



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