By Eric Zanzucchi (@ericzanzucchi)
February 3rd 2008 Glendale, Arizona: Plaxico Burress catches a 13-yard touchdown pass from Eli Manning. The Giants won the Superbowl and the Coin Toss Era was born.
The Hall of Fame Game has just passed us by and new NFL season is coming quickly. Due to that I’ve got football on my mind. I’ll soak up every minute I can of the season, but it’s become a harsh reality that NFL’s regular season doesn’t matter that much. It’s become a league, like many others, where the goal is to simply get into the playoffs and hopefully get hot. Playoff seeding does not matter anymore. I took a look at the playoff results over that past five years and the team with the better regular season record in playoff games is 23-27.
The better regular season team actually loses more than it wins in the playoffs.
It’s hard to say this trend really matters because league’s popularity continues to grow and it does give fanbases hope late in the season that their 6-6 team can go on a run and still win it all. But it’s sucked all the magic out of the once rare late season runs. When the 2001 Patriots were sitting at 5-5 and no one was talking about them their run to win the Superbowl seemed pretty special. (They were even 17 point underdogs to the Rams in that game. There’s no such thing as a 17 point playoff underdog anymore. No one would take that bet.) In fact, three of the last five Superbowl champions have come out of the wild-card round. There’s simply no scarcity to this anymore.
I got to thinking what I wanted to see this season. I’m a Chargers fan and I’d love to see them have a great year. But what would be the most interesting outcome of this season? I think it would be the Giants going 10-6 and winning the Superbowl again. It would redefine what we consider to be an NFL dynasty. Typically they’re grouped as teams that with their core of players won at least three championships (i.e. the 1960’s Packers, 1970’s Steelers, 1980’s 49ers, 1990’s Cowboys, 2000’s Patriots). I don’t think anyone would include the 2007-2012 Giants in that group. In fact, over the course of the past five years I can’t remember a time when Giants were ever in the discussion for who’s the best team in the league. I’m hoping against hope that this happens so football fans get to have some of the most confusing football conversations of all time.