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At this Point, does the Regular Season even matter?

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Old 02-04-2008, 12:35 AM   #1
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At this Point, does the Regular Season even matter?

Well, on one hand, of course it does. You have to be in the top 6 in your conference to get into the playoffs, and the first two seeds still get a huge advantage in the playoffs, at least until the Championship round.

But what the Giants did, has to be the most improbable playoff run in the history of the super bowl. They weren't just a team that underachieved their 10-6 record, but they actually were below the average in the regular season, and very possibly undeserving of a playoff birth:

FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS: Football analysis and NFL stats for the Moneyball era - Authors of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

But what they did in the playoffs was outplay three of the five best teams in football in a span of four weeks. Usually, teams that get lucky through their side of the conference bracket have a rude awakening in the SB. Not only did the Giants play more like their playoff selves than their regular season selves, but the defense actually improved a lot in the super bowl bye week.

If we measured the Giants purely on the last 5 games, they would certainly measure out as the legitimate best team in the NFL. They were 5-0, and they excelled in all facets of the game, when throughout the regular season, they were good in pretty much two (rush O, rush D).

That brings us back to the thread title. The way the NFL has it set up, the regular season seems to be losing it's importance, and sliding close to college basketball than to what it used to be. As a football fan, are you OK with this? Is it good that games in September have little to no serious meaning for dominant teams? Is there anything the NFL can do to protect against a team like the 2007 Giants from getting a seventh opportunity to prove they aren't crap?

Or on the contrary, is this great for the game that the champion is now rarely the best team (a team that played in the WC game three years in a row). Do we want the post season to be a truly clean slate? If so, why not let everyone in? 6 teams is pretty arbitrary. To me, it just seems a bit unfair that the 8-8 Vikings are told that they don't deserve another chance in the playoffs because they were the 7th seed, while the 10-6 Giants (who played SF and ATL) get that chance...and play incredibly well.

I now open this up to the people for opinions on both sides. Should we open up the playoff field, close it down a few teams to eliminate the regular season stragglers, or keep it exactly as it is?
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Old 02-04-2008, 12:43 AM   #2
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Re: At this Point, does the Regular Season even matter?

Unrelated note--I'm really diggin' my sig right now.
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Old 02-04-2008, 01:10 AM   #3
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Re: At this Point, does the Regular Season even matter?

The parity has increased to the point that all that seems to matter now is how well a team is playing based on injuries and chemistry. I tend to think this is good because from my perspective unless it is my team I don't want to watch a game or a tournament that I know is basically predetermined because of skill level imbalance. I think this is a micro/macro thing. On a micro level it seems somewhat negative but on the macro it has led to incredible success.
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Old 02-04-2008, 01:14 AM   #4
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Re: At this Point, does the Regular Season even matter?

I stopped predicting games because of the parity 2 years ago. when the skins went to the playoffs in 05, I told the eagles fans the Skins wont finish less than 2nd in the nfc east........well they were last and we went 5-11. So from that point I dont make a prediction for ANY game. I just know if if we execute we can win
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Old 02-04-2008, 01:23 AM   #5
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Re: At this Point, does the Regular Season even matter?

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The parity has increased to the point that all that seems to matter now is how well a team is playing based on injuries and chemistry. I tend to think this is good because from my perspective unless it is my team I don't want to watch a game or a tournament that I know is basically predetermined because of skill level imbalance. I think this is a micro/macro thing. On a micro level it seems somewhat negative but on the macro it has led to incredible success.
With the Giants, this seemed to be more than getting healthy and improved chemistry. This seemed to be the express maturation of a ton of young talent including the Quarterback.

The thing is, that could happen to any team if given enough games. The Giants played just as poorly as a lot of teams who missed the playoffs throughout the entire regular season. Why do the Giants deserve in while other NFC teams like the Vikings do not. Clearly, the Giants couldn't run with the Vikings and the Packers throughout the regular season.

I'm so excited and elated that they beat the Patriots. I'm just kinda miffed that they get to be super bowl champs when there were a ton of teams who were equally as qualified for the regular season as them who never even got the chance...because the way a champion is decided has become a bit arbitrary. Play mediocre for a while...and then improve.

Teams who play well throughout the season are getting punished. The rules are clearly defined, it's just that something seems off about this whole thing.

The New York Giants are super bowl champs. We killed them on their turf only a month and a half ago. Maybe this is the way it's supposed to be. Maybe the only thing that matters is where you end. But if that's the case, they really need to allow more teams in the playoffs, because if the only goal of football is to finish strong, then we are shortening the seasons of a lot of teams who have the potential to go all the way in the playoffs.
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Old 02-04-2008, 01:29 AM   #6
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Re: At this Point, does the Regular Season even matter?

I also think you can make the (seperate) argument that the two teams in the NFC playoffs best suited to challenge the Giants were the two teams they didn't have to play, us and Seattle.
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Old 02-04-2008, 01:50 AM   #7
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Re: At this Point, does the Regular Season even matter?

I don't think it's nearly as bad as B-ball. Look, a team can get hot. That's what happened with the gints here, no doubt. But Indy went pretty much wire-to-wire last season, and I don't think any team that really deserved to be in the playoffs didn't make it. It does show that D is a big deal in the post-season--the Giant D was amazing. Also, a lot of the "underachieving" 10-6 of the gints was over Eli and the offense. The D was good throughout.

I do think parity means that things are more wide-opened than before, but not that the regular season doesn't matter--heck, it matters more: on any given Sunday, yatta, yatta. Plus, the relatively short season in the NFL (game-wise) makes it exciting every week. Finally, the gints game in week three against us was a big deal, and we were all pretty upset about it at the time, I recall. Seemed relevant then, and it still seems relevant now. So I'm not worried about irrelevance, not in a 16 game season.
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Old 02-04-2008, 01:53 AM   #8
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Re: At this Point, does the Regular Season even matter?

I think in general the regular season does matter with regard to obtaining home field which improves your chances of making it to the show. However, it seems that the gap between #2 and #6 in each conference is much narrower now. I would venture that for those seeds--how you are playing entering the playoffs plays a big role, as well as the draw you get in the playoffs. What makes the Giants run so interesting is they reversed their fortunes around two performances--the win at Buffalo and more importantly, the end of season loss versus the Pats. They got hot and played better each successive week in the playoffs.

I do agree that the Giants were lucky not to draw the Skins or the Hawks. In fact, I think if the Skins were the #5 seed and the Giants were the #6 seed--I have this sick feeling that it would have been the Skins in Glendale and not the Giants. I didn't think either of them were going to get by the Hawks at Qwest. Therefore, I suppose the regular season did have some merit in determining a bit of the fate of these two teams. A week 3 regular season win by the Gmen at the Skins may have dramatically changed the fortune of both teams since the Giants ended up drawing the easier wildcard opponent.
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Old 02-04-2008, 03:54 AM   #9
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Re: At this Point, does the Regular Season even matter?

well, in the SB, it was just about matchups, and that pats OL looked terrible all game.

I mean, the giants fans everywhere i looked thought their team was a cellar dweller this preseason, but... um.... oops.

i guess it really is about getting hot at the right time. the steeler's did something similar a couple years ago, so it can happen.
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Old 02-04-2008, 07:14 AM   #10
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Re: At this Point, does the Regular Season even matter?

I guess what really is irking me is that football is a 60 minute game played in a 16 game season. That's really short. Then you arbitrarily tell some average performing teams that their season is over, while another average performing team goes on and wins the SB.

I'm somewhat in favor of shrinking the playoffs by a round to protect the elite teams from having to play too many games in the playoffs. I still want to see the one v two matchups in the playoffs to decide superiority, I'm just a little tired right now of 9-7/8-8 teams getting a chance to improve that other 9-7/8-8 teams (think Cleveland) aren't getting.

In a lot of seasons, the Giants would have had to wait to next year based on how they played in the season, but for them, the post season was a whole new season, one in which they dominated.
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Old 02-04-2008, 07:18 AM   #11
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Re: At this Point, does the Regular Season even matter?

I love the NFL, I think they have the best playoffs in sports, I thought this playoff was great, and I thought this was one of the best Superbowls I have ever seen. I don't see any problem with an underdog winning.
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Old 02-04-2008, 08:25 AM   #12
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Re: At this Point, does the Regular Season even matter?

The regular season is absolutely meaningful. 32 teams. 12 get in. Top 4 teams get a week to heal and rest. The odds are stacked in the favor of the top regular season teams.
That being said, I like to see an underdog beat the odds and win it all. That's the beauty of a single-elimination tournament. NFL playoffs are the most exciting because the best team doesn't always advance, just the one who plays the better game that day.
Two things to consider about the 2007 Giants:
1) 7-1 on the road and 3-5 at home. Obviously the Giants didn't have an home-field advantage this year and were thus an enigma in football to begin with. Teams traditionally want to play at home and thus home-field advantage helps in the playoffs.
2) If the Super Bowl was played 7 times (as in other pro sport championships) the best teams would win every time. In this scenario, the Pats would have won at least 4 times, probably 5 or 6. Of course, if the playoffs were also series instead of single elimination they probably wouldn't have been in the Super Bowl.
So no, the playoffs don't need to be changed. If you want to remember who the "best" team was for the 2007, it was the Patriots. But the Giants get the ring and are the World Champions.
As for the "quality" of teams getting in (Giants in, Vikings out), this shows even more how important the regular season is. Sure, an easier schedule helps you get a better seed (we could have been 13-3 w/ Tampa's schedule and had a bye with playoffs at home) but unless we expand the season to 31 games with each team playing every other team once, there will always be teams with an easier schedule.
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Old 02-04-2008, 08:52 AM   #13
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Re: At this Point, does the Regular Season even matter?

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Originally Posted by djnemo65 View Post
I love the NFL, I think they have the best playoffs in sports, I thought this playoff was great, and I thought this was one of the best Superbowls I have ever seen. I don't see any problem with an underdog winning.
I don't have any problem with it either.

It was a very entertaining postseason and regular season as well. Keep everything as is.
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Old 02-04-2008, 10:36 AM   #14
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Re: At this Point, does the Regular Season even matter?

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Unrelated note--I'm really diggin' my sig right now.
Lloyd gets a fresh start with the new staff. Let's see if he can get it together and show his potential.
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Old 02-04-2008, 10:49 AM   #15
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Re: At this Point, does the Regular Season even matter?

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Lloyd gets a fresh start with the new staff. Let's see if he can get it together and show his potential.
I think you're confusing his sig with his custom avatar title
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