The Pittsburgh Steelers are now into the offseason, following a year in which they had high hopes for Super Bowl success, but ultimately fell short of even reaching the postseason at 8-8. It was a tumultuous season, both on the field and within the roster, and the months to follow figure to have some drama as well, especially in light of the team’s failure to improve upon the year before.
The team made some bold moves over the course of the past year, and some areas of the roster look quite a bit different than they did a year ago, or even at the start of the regular season. Whether due to injuries or otherwise, a lot has transpired, and we’re left to wonder how much more will change prior to September.
How will Ben Roethlisberger’s rehab progress as he winds toward recovery from an elbow injury that cost him almost the entire season? What about some of the key young players, some of whom have already impressed, others still needing quite a bit of growth? Will there be changes to the coaching staff? The front office? Who will they not retain in free agency, and whom might they bring in?
These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.
Question: Do you believe the proposed changes to the playoff structure is good or bad for the game?
Chances are the playoffs are about to look somewhat different. The plan is to expand the postseason to seven teams per conference, with three wildcard teams, and thus three games per conference, in the opening round.
As you’ve probably seen by now, nobody would have benefited from this new rule more than the Steelers over the past decade. It’s also true that they would have been hurt a few times by the other change, which is to eliminate the bye week for the second seed. They were the second seed in 2016. They were also the second seed when they reached the Super Bowl in 2008 and 2010.
I’ve seen a lot of people voice displeasure over the expansion of the postseason to 14 teams, presenting a variety of arguments, including the contention that it is diluting the game. Personally, I’ve thought for a while that 12 teams in a 32-team league is not enough. I would be fine with a 16-team postseason. The NHL and NBA, with fewer teams, already have 16-team postseasons.
Under the proposed format, it would help to make the end of the season that much more competitive, since it would keep more teams in the playoff race, and it would also make the top seed much more valuable. From that standpoint, it’s clearly a good thing.