OT: Great Super Bowl follows fairly meaningless regular season.

Submitted by wolverine1987 on February 5th, 2012 at 10:33 PM

While I freely admit I am not a Giants fan and was rooting for our boy Tom and the Pats to win, this game also reminded me why college football is IMO superior. Specifically, the fact that in the NFL a 9-7 regular season gets you a chance to be crowned World Champs. When people talk about not wanting a broad playoff in the top level of college football because it would detract from the meaning of the regular season, this is what they mean.

I am NOT against a playoff in college football, let that be stated (I like Brian's proposal or various 4 team proposals). But contrary to the opinion of most that a playoff is always more fair, I think it can be less fair--the Giants played like crap most of the year (much like Arizona a few years back and others) slip in at 9-7 and then get hot and win it all. If the regular season is a warmup to get ready to qualify for the playoffs that's fine and all, but I prefer a system where every loss is a potential killer. That's just me, I'm not dismissing anyone's contrary opinion, (many love the fact that a low ranked team gets hot and wins it all) but I prefer a system where the best teams in the regular seaon are rewarded with more than playing a game at home (sometimes not even that, see 12-4 Pittsburgh this year playing at 8-8 Denver in the playoffs).  


Space Coyote

February 5th, 2012 at 10:41 PM ^

For the most part, just win.  You have no excuses if you lose a game.  As much as I wanted Michigan in the MNC in '06, you know what, if they don't lose they have a shot.  Is that always fair?  No.  But it's pretty much the truth.

And a 4-team playoff would pretty much take care of the years when there are a few undefeated teams without something like this happening.  Those teams you listed can hypothetically disagree all they want, but for most of them if they just would have won it wouldn't have been an issue.

Stephen Hawking

February 5th, 2012 at 10:54 PM ^

I think that sums up the problem right there. I agree with that statement. That's why the NY Giants just won the Super Bowl. Auburn went undefeated a few years ago and didn't even get a chance at the national championship. A playoff in any form is preferable to what college football has going on now.

And I completely disagree that college football is more superior. More passionate? Possibly. But definitely not superior. The ability of athletes between the two sports is obviously different, and I enjoy the NFL more because the quality is so much higher.

Space Coyote

February 6th, 2012 at 12:56 AM ^

They were 7-7, they lost just as many as they won, which makes that much less meaningful than what college football is, which is essentially lose a single game and you have no reason to bitch.

And you're barking up the wrong tree on this blog saying the NFL is a more enjoyable game to watch.  Obviously the talent is superior in the NFL (honestly not even sure why you brought this point up) but to most around here the college game in general is much more fun to watch.  For my reasons it is because of the diversity, traditions, and probably most importantly, as you point out, the passion.  I like the NFL, but I think most around these parts, including myself, find the college game superior in enjoyment value.  You can use the amount of fans that fill the stands on Saturdays as evidence that many agree with this line of thinking.


February 6th, 2012 at 1:29 AM ^

Be careful with the evidence you choose to cite. Jusyt as the stands are filled at the college game, the TV ratings for the pro game blow those of the college game out of the water and it's not even close.


This isn't a Bama or an Auburn blog. Many contributors here are hardcore pro football fans in addition to being fans of Michigan. So to say someone is barking up the wrong tree with those comments isn't entirely true.


February 6th, 2012 at 12:01 PM ^

I don't think you're correct. Take a look at the number of pageviews and comments in the "9/14 NFL Open Thread" or whatever, and take a look at the same numbers for the Fiesta and Orange Bowl threads; my guess is a substantially higher interest in the Fiesta and Orange, even though it's been a decade since an M team has played in either.

Also, a lot of the tone of this blog was set by Brian (who, in the beginning probably attracted mostly like-minded people, who are now our big-point users) who watches, for all intents and purposes, no pro football and would definitely argue the college game is superior. I'd argue that it's a very rare poster here that would take NFL over NCAA.


February 6th, 2012 at 11:20 AM ^

The only team that the Giants beat with a winning record was the Patriots, so you're kind of counting that one twice. Had the Pats gone 16-0 again, they would have had exactly 1 win over a team with a winning record. Don't get me wrong, it's a stupid idea, but using wins against teams with winning records as a measuring stick in the NFL is kind of stupid.

the bee train

February 6th, 2012 at 11:33 AM ^

The point is the Giants had a much more difficult schedule than NE and made the playoffs. As many have already pointed out in this thread, NY was ravaged by injuries which very possibly could have been the difference in games lost against winning teams like @SF (27-20) and GB (38-35). My point is that awarding teams points based on victories against anything other than common opponents is an absolutely horrible idea. In fact, it's a horrible idea to award points for victories against common opponents as well. You may not have dug my example, but you seem to have missed the point of my post.


February 5th, 2012 at 10:41 PM ^

OT, but does anyone have a gif of the Patriots linebacker jumping the completely wrong way on that slant TD to Cruz?  It looked like what I do sometimes on NCAA when I push the wrong button and my guy dry humps the air.  

The Tater

February 5th, 2012 at 10:44 PM ^

This argument always strikes me as a bit of a straw man.  The NFL playoffs take 12 out of 32 teams for the playoffs (37.5% of teams).  For a proportionally similar playoff (and thus a proportionally meaningless regular season), college football would have to have a 24 team playoff (and that's if we're limiting it to BCS conferences).  Nobody is actually suggesting that kind of playoff.  Every reasonable suggestion is for somewhere between 4 and 8 teams. 

An 8 team playoff in college football (12% of BCS teams) would be like the NFL having a 4 team playoff.  In that case, the regular season would be incredibly meaningful.


February 5th, 2012 at 11:00 PM ^

"Every reasonable suggestion" is a very subjective thing.  This is not a straw man argument, because there are a lot of people out there insisting on 16 teams.  For example, Dan Wetzel, the loudest and shrillest anti-BCS, pro-playoff voice out there.  And even if nobody is suggesting a 24-team playoff, people are suggesting that "if they do it in all the other divisions, why can't they do it in the highest one?"  And I-AA football is a 20-team playoff.  So even if nobody's insisting on a big, 20-24 team deal right now, playoff opponents are rightly concerned that it would eventually become one.


February 6th, 2012 at 1:30 AM ^

That's a fair point. However, we saw what thee other end of the spectrum, what we currently have, can do this year. From one perspective, worse loss, clearly Alabama was more deserving than OSU. From another perspective, OSU was more deserving because they had better wins. The best conference this year was probably Big 12 or at least that was the perception. The SEC has great defenses but it helps that their offenses are pretty below average. I remember hearing something about Alabama having never faced an offense better than 75.

Anyway, I think a 4-8 team playoff would still have the regular season be meaningful but it would make it fair for deserving undefeateds and potential one loss teams. Who wouldn't have wanted to see LSU vs. Stanford and Alabama vs OSU. If the rematch happened, then great. If not, well that's the point of playoffs. Whoever is best at the end of the season should be the champion. The rationale behind that is this encourages teams to improve over the course of a season, not regress. The Giants did this. Therefore, they are perfectly deserving of winning the Super Bowl.

I know that I would be absolutely livid if Michigan beats Alabama next year, loses one game somewhere down the line, and does not get championship consideration.


February 6th, 2012 at 1:41 AM ^

I would be more in favor of a four-team playoff if two guarantees could be made:

1) there would be no controversy or bitching and moaning about deserving teams that are left out.  We would all sit down and agree that the teams that are in deserve to be in over the teams that are out.

2) it would never expand beyond four.

Unfortunately, not only could no such guarantees ever be made.... the reverse of both would come true.  I guarantee there would continue to be controversy and I guarantee it would expand sooner or later.  First to six, then eight, and so on.  The BCS didn't last five years before people got tired of it and wanted something new, and it will probably finish its life at about fifteen years.  If a four-team playoff is put in place like Mark Emmert wants, how long before people get tired of it and want something new..... again?


February 6th, 2012 at 12:20 PM ^

That are screwed by it.

In a 2-team playoff such as the current BCS, the teams that are screwed by it are the #3 and #4 teams.

In a 4-team playoff, the teams that are screwed by it are the #5 and #6 teams.

In an 8-team playoff, the teams that are screwed by it are the #9 and #10 teams.

So as the size of the playoff increases, the less meaningful the complaining becomes by the teams that are kept out.


February 6th, 2012 at 12:42 PM ^

But as the size of the playoff increases, so does the number of "screwed" teams.  If we had had an 8-team playoff this year, the first five spots would probably not be in doubt, and then there would be a minimum of 8 and probably more like 12 teams with legitimate claims to the last three spots.  It would be much more than just #9 and #10.  It would probably go out to #13 and #14.  This would clearly do nothing to resolve any controversy.  It would probably make it worse by adding more voices. 

Eight teams is a number frequently cited as a number that wouldn't ruin the regular season, but you cannot claim both that, and that an eight-team playoff is sufficient to quell the complaints from teams that missed because they are not "meaningful" complaints.  The NFL, time and again, gives us all the proof we need that anyone that gets in can win, so I don't buy that the teams left out have no legitimate beef, even in a larger playoff.


February 6th, 2012 at 10:05 AM ^

Both of your guarantees are not true about the NCAA basketball tournament. It has expanded throughout its history (albeit many resisted the change) and the last teams out always bitch and complain. The NCAA basketball tournament is doing just fine. While your ideas would be very nice, they aren't necessary to have a better system than we have now.


February 5th, 2012 at 10:51 PM ^

I agree with you OP.  I just think it's unfair that a team that lost 50% of their games get into the playoffs and could win the Super Bowl.  That's just another reason though why I'm a college fan and not a NFL fan.  Every single game is important in college football.

Greg McMurtry

February 6th, 2012 at 9:20 AM ^

"every game needs to be important" line.  What about baseball?  They play 162 games.  The "best team" usually loses around 60 games or more. How about during the regular season, if you lose a game you can't play any more games--your season's over.  Then the last undefeated team is the best.  That would make the regular season extremely important would it not?  Oh, but that's unfair.  There is no fair scenario. 

As soon as the Giants put together enough wins to get into the playoffs (based on their regular season) it becomes a whole new ball game.  At that point, every team is well aware that it is one-and-done.  At that point, records don't matter anymore.  But if you had a great regular season, you get perks like home field advantage and bye weeks.  I personally think that having a team with a poor record makes the Super Bowl more exciting because that leads many to believe that the lesser team "has no chance" which makes for an inspiring story.  Why did Oklahoma State lose to a 6-7 Iowa State team?  Because football is not always about who is the better team?  The "better team" doesn't always win.

the bee train

February 6th, 2012 at 11:17 AM ^

You're dealing with a longer schedule, a system in place that allows teams to lose some games and not be totally devastated, and a much more competitive brand of football. The Giants didn't have the luxury of scheduling crappy non-conference games during the weeks 9-14 that included @NE, @SF, PHI, @NO, GB, and @DAL. Still, in spite of that incredibly difficult stretch, they managed to win the NFC East and EARN a playoff spot.

For those of you who are just pissed that a NY team won and are therefore trying to minimize their accomplishment, take a look at their losses. They were swept by Washington, and they lost at home to Philly and Seattle, losses that scream NFL letdown games. If they hadn't been ravaged by injuries early in the season and/or shown up for those games, we wouldn't be having this absolutely ridiculous discussion right now because the 13-3 Giants would have defeated the 13-3 Pats to earn their 4th Super Bowl championship.


February 6th, 2012 at 10:27 AM ^

I like how you were wrong on calling someone out and then just stopped writting additional comments.This is why I really don't like aruging with southern people about football or anything else, their factual information is a bit off. Good effort though I like the concerted effort you just gave. 


February 5th, 2012 at 11:11 PM ^

What football fan wouldn't call the Giants a rushing team? if you don't, then you really don't know football that well. Their running game didn't have the yardage, but their attempts were in the middle half of the league. Also, they were hurt by injuries, and had a record featuring a lot of great run defenses. I understand what RDT means, I'd always classify the Giants as a running football team.


February 5th, 2012 at 11:37 PM ^

The giants had the most passing attempts in the league (666), more than even the superpowers, i.e. the Pats and Saints.

They were 5th in overall passing yardage. Meanwhile, they were 22nd in rushing attempts and, as has already been mentioned, dead last in yards gained. That is not a running football team.

Not only that, but they won this game through the air too. Manning threw for nearly 300 yards.


February 6th, 2012 at 3:17 AM ^

which is what the original argument was about. If the Saints had doubled their offensive production on the ground during the second half of the season, that still wouldn't have made them a "running team." The Giants won the Super Bowl and the AFC championship game through the air. I looked up the stats for their last four games of the regular season too, and the most rushing yards they got in a game was 115. Just because they had two okay rushing games out of four in the playoffs does not mean they are or ever were a running team.


February 5th, 2012 at 10:55 PM ^

so basically, you want no divisions and 15 teams fighting for one title?   As long as teams don't play the exact same schedule who is to say the Steelers 12-4 is better than the Broncos 8-8 (for the record i have no idea who each played).   You break it into divisions so each team plays a comparable schedule, winner take all and then give 2 add'l teams the chance to get in.   Seems pretty fair to me.  

In the playoffs, after winning the division playing the same schedule as everyone else in the NFC east and coming out on top, the Giants beat the Packers and the Niners, thought to be the 2 best teams in the NFC , on the road, before beating the team thought to be the best AFC team.  

Thats the beauty of a playoff, the gauntlet of a schedule they faced, winning when it counts, you can't deny that the Giants deserve the title, regardless of their regular season record.


February 5th, 2012 at 11:03 PM ^

can be made with any of the major sports though.  Just look at the Cardinals this year...very similar story to the Giants.  Both made playoffs on last day of regular season.  Both were last team in.  Fair record (although 90 wins in baseball is probably considered most respectable than 9 wins in the NFL).  Beat 3 better teams to win.  For that matter, the Cardinals of 2006 also fall into that category.


February 5th, 2012 at 11:25 PM ^

The old system, where the two league champs went head to head at the end of the regular season, was better. Now they are adding even more teams to the MLB playoffs. It's a joke. You play 162 games for what, home field advantage? A chance to play a team that might have had a horrendous first half but is now smoking red hot? It's a cliche, but it's truly all about the money. Playoffs bring in the TV $$, and that's all that matters these days.