The NFL is backwards.
In high school and collegiate athletics, the conference games are the most important. They are what ultimately determine whether or not a team can make postseason tournaments.
But in the NFL, division record has very little determination on overall success.
In fact, you could say finishing second or third in your division equals Super Bowl success.
Take a look at last year’s Super Bowl champion and three from the past five years. The Packers went 4-2 in the NFC North in 2010.
It didn’t stop the Packers from winning it all.
In 2006, the Indianapolis Colts went 3-3 in the AFC South, but won it all. A year later, in 2007, the New York Giants went 3-3 in the NFC East and everyone knows how that Super Bowl turned out. Come to think of it, the Giants went 3-3 in the division this year.
Could it be a foreshadowing of this year’s Super Bowl champion?
But even just talking about it in relative terms, the divisional games do not seem to hold the same weight as the rest.
The Philadelphia Eagles went 5-1 in NFC East play and yet Andy Reid and his bunch watched the playoffs with everyone else.
In 2010, the Oakland Raiders went undefeated in their division play didn’t make the playoffs!
Roger Goodell needs to address this, but playing a team three times in a regular season seems a little like overkill.
Just ask John Tyler, Lufkin, Robert E. Lee and Longview who had to do it in district play in 2002 and 2003.
Really the only surefire way would be to make the divisions bigger. Regardless, something needs to be done to address this loophole in the current NFL.
While I am on the subject of things that are bothering me …
There needs to be a rule that the No. 1 player in the world for golf or tennis has to have won a major. In women’s tennis for example, the former No. 1 player Caroline Wozniacki held that spot for 67 weeks despite having never won a Grand Slam tournament. The best she’s done in her career is reaching the women’s U.S. Open final in 2009.
Take out that magical couple weeks in Flushing Meadows and Wozniacki advanced past the quarterfinals in a major once — and yet she began every tournament last year as the No. 1 overall player.
This year she entered the Australian Open as the reigning No. 1 before being ousted in the quarterfinals. That loss finally dropped her from the top spot.
The silver lining to this is 2012 Australian Champion Victoria Azarenka is now the No. 1 player in the world in women’s tennis.
All is once again put right in the tennis world.
In the World Golf Rankings, Luke Donald currently holds the top spot. The Englishman, like Wozniacki, has never won a major. The best was a tie for third in the 2005 Masters and 2006 PGA Championship. In 2011, the year that his results moved Donald to the lofty perch as world No. 1, Donald finished fourth at the Masters, eighth at the PGA Championship, 45th at the U.S. Open and missed the cut at the British Open.
I guess Tiger is wrong. Major championships do not mean everything.
Last year the single biggest sports moment in my humble opinion did not come in a football stadium or on a baseball diamond or even in a basketball arena (Sorry Mavericks fans).
Nope, the single biggest moment — which also won the 2011 ESPY for top play — was provided by two female soccer players on a pitch in Dresden, Germany. Trailing Brazil 2-1 in the quarterfinals of the FIFA Women’s World Cup and down to seemingly its last minute, the USA pulled off a comeback for the ages. Megan Rapinoe raced down the sideline and let loose with a hopeful cross as the seconds ticked down. USA forward Abby Wambach was there though to head it in and set off an avalanche celebration by Team USA while Brazil was left stunned. America went on to win the match in penalties and reach the final before being outdone by Japan, which provided a few comebacks of its own.
Many of the women playing in those matches are now without a job.
Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) league is stopping operations this year. Who knows if it will come back, but this is the second time a female professional soccer league hasn’t been able to make it in this country. The first was the Women’s United Soccer Association. It lasted three years.
The WPS just completed its third year of operations.