As we approach the kickoff of the NFL’s Thanksgiving tripleheader, which will air on SiriusXM NFL Radio, the NFL finds itself in an interesting position. If the NFL postseason were to begin today, the 7-4 Detroit Lions and 7-4 San Francisco 49ers would be on the outside looking in. The 4-7 Atlanta Falcons, meanwhile, would be hosting a playoff game against the 8-3 Dallas Cowboys.

A little twisted, right?

Let’s get a little bit more twisted: the winner of the NFC South could very well wind up with a 6-10 record, and keep a team with double-digit wins out of the postseason. And that division winner could be the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a team that currently has the worst record in the NFC and the third-worst record in all of football at 2-9.


SiriusXM NFL Radio’s Pat Kirwan presented a solution to fix what appears to be a problem with the NFL’s postseason format earlier this week. The tl;dr version? Abolish NFL divisions.

If we send a team to the playoffs with six wins, and another team goes home with 11 or 12 wins, there’s something wrong with that. …

I’ll make my pitch, I make it every year. The division thing is cute and it’s nice and all that other business, but I don’t know that we get the best six teams in the playoffs. The reward for the division is too big in my mind. Conference play. Play everyone in your conference once. That’s 15 games. Cross over in Week 1 with the NFC and the AFC. Crossover. Natural rivalries. Jets-Giants, open it up every year the same way. And then, play 15 games in your conference. Believe me, those conference games down the stretch will mean something. …

If you play everyone once, two things would happen. No. 1: You’d play everyone once, so there wouldn’t be any of this, “Well, this year you had this weak division, and next year, you had that strong division.” No, you play everybody once, and that’s pretty much gonna guarantee the six best teams will come out, because they’ll have the best records against the exact same opponents. That’s the first reason to do it. And the second reason I’d do it is you’d have a much less likely chance of a Super Bowl rematch. There’s a chance the Packers and Patriots are gonna make the Super Bowl. If you have conference play for 15 games, the Super Bowl’s going to be against two teams that didn’t play during the year, which I think is way more intriguing than a rematch.

Agree or disagree with Kirwan? Tweet your thoughts @SiriusXMNFL.

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