What if the NFL followed MLS' asinine playoff system and let more than half of its team into the playoffs?
Of course, the NFL playoffs are no joke. Teams that make the playoffs are there because they deserve to be there, not because they weren't as bad as the really bad teams.
But what if it was like MLS, where teams can mess around for three-fourths of the season and still have a legitimate shot of playing for the league title?
New England went 16-0 this year and had the best regular season in NFL history. Their reward: a bye week and no travel during the AFC portion of the playoffs. But under the MLS system, they'd play away against the Denver Broncos, who finished 7-9 and had a forgettable regular season.
The Indianapolis Colts, who won their division for the fifth consecutive season, would begin their title defense at Buffalo, who like Denver went a lousy 7-9.
The NFL, though, does it right. The NFL playoffs are a reward, not a consequence. Cleveland went 10-6 and still did not make the postseason. An MLS team will never finish their season with a .625 winning percentage and fail to make the playoffs.
I loathe the MLS playoff system. I think it's outdated, pathetic and rewards mediocrity. It hinders the league a great deal. Whatever team is top-of-table in June and July, it won't really matter because it will be canceled out by a team that's barely treading water come playoff time.
There will be 14 teams in the league this year. What makes most sense is to let six teams into the postseason, give the conference winners byes and let the second and third seeds duke it out in a one-off match at the second seed. Winner goes to number one for a conference final and winners meet in MLS Cup. Or, better yet, do away with the conferences, give the top two teams byes and have 3-6 and 4-5 meet in the playoffs.
But that makes too much sense. You'd only see that kind of sense in a league like the NFL.