Monday, February 6, 2012

how it should be

The New York Giants secured a wild-card spot after finishing the regular season with a 10-6 record in 2007. They went on to beat the New England Partriots in the Super Bowl, 17-14.

The Arizona Cardinals finished the 2008 regular season at 9-7, and were only the second team to make it to the Super Bowl with only 9 regular season wins. They lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers, 27-23.

The Green Bay Packers finished the 2010 regular season at 10-6, and became only the second #6-seeded team to reach the Super Bowl, where they beat the Pittsburgh Steelers, 31-25.

The Giants went 9-7 in the 2011 regular season, but beat the Patriots, 21-17 in the Super Bowl.

The NFL Playoffs is everything that the bowl system in college football is not. All of these were close games, but none of these match-ups would have happened under a BCS-style system. In the pros, a great regular season gets you into the playoffs, and can give you home-field advantage. But you still have to win in the playoffs to earn a spot in the Super Bowl. Upsets abound. The team that everyone thinks is the best team is not always a team that makes it to the Super Bowl -- or wins it.

In the NFL, every playoff game matters.

In college, only one post-season game matters. There is no true champion; there's only a "paper champion," because the particpants in the title game are decided on paper, not on the field.

This season, I enjoyed following college football during the regular season. And the conference championship games were interesting. But once that was over and the bowl season started, I completely lost interest in college football.

On the flip side, the NFL became more and more interesting as the regular season went on, then became more and more interesting during the playoffs, culminating in an intriguing match-up for the championship and a game that went down to the final play.

That's how championships should be decided. Isn't it?

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