The NFL should revert back their regular season, playoffs rule change

Aniket Biswal

As an avid football fan, I can tell you that this past NFL postseason was one of the most interesting ones I’ve seen, with many games decided on the final play or drive. And with Super Bowl 56 last week, the long NFL offseason has started. So, what a better time than this to reflect on the season that was. 

Of all the events that happened this year, one of them was a change from a traditional 16-game regular season to a 17-game one. The main reason? More money and more viewership for the NFL around the world. A change that occurred in 2020 and continued to this past season was a shift from 12 teams in the playoffs to 14. The reason here? More money and more viewership of the playoff games. Economically, it makes sense. Why wouldn’t the NFL want to get more money and expand their “business?”

But those changes don’t come without concerns. For one, having a 17-game season disrupts the parity that was there previously. Instead of every team having eight home and eight away games, now half the league has nine home games while the other half only has eight. Because of the advantage of playing on your home field, this unevenness now poses an unfair leverage toward the teams who have nine home games. 

Not only that, because the regular season is now longer, the NFL decided to shorten the preseason from four to three weeks. This gives players less time to warm up for the regular season and therefore we have seen more injuries this year than average. While the 2021 season didn’t have as many injuries as the 2020 season did, it certainly racked up plenty, which could be attributed to the shortened preseason. 

With these problems in mind, the NFL should revert back to a 16-game season to restore evenness to the league, to add importance to the regular season games and to give players more time to warm up for the season in the preseason.

The other major rule change I think should be reverted or fixed in some way is the transition from 12 to 14 teams in the playoffs. By now having seven teams in each conference make the playoffs, there are indeed more games during the first week of action and so more entertainment. 

However, in the past two years, not only have the seventh seeds not won, three of the four games they played in were blowouts. Thus, their presence isn’t felt in the playoffs and now the second seeds are forced to play another week of football where in the past they would’ve received a bye. Although the NFL is trying to add spice to the traditional playoff schedule, they aren’t adding any true value to the postseason and should revert back to only having six teams make it.

The views in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of the HiLite staff. Reach Aniket Biswal at [email protected]

Ali Persinger