Horse Tracks: What's all the fuss about NFL playoff expansion?

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

While tabled for this year, it looks like the NFL is looking to expand the playoff pool to seven teams per conference in 2015. I hear a lot of resistance to this idea, but why?

Diluted Competition?

Season

AFC 7th Seed

NFC 7th Seed

2013

Pittsburgh 8-8

Arizona 10-6

2012

Pittsburgh 8-8

Chicago 10-6

2011

Tennessee 9-7

Chicago 8-8

2010

San Diego 9-7

NY Giants 10-6

2009

Houston 9-7

Atlanta 9-7

2008

New England 11-5

Tampa Bay 9-7

2007

Cleveland 10-6

Minnesota 8-8

2006

Denver 9-7

Green Bay 8-8

2005

Kansas City 10-6

Minnesota 9-7

2004

Jacksonville 9-7

New Orleans 8-8

2003

Miami 10-6

Minnesota 9-7

From 2003-2013 there would have been an additional 22 teams joining the tournament (11 from each conference, 1 per conference per league year).  In that time the #7 seed has NEVER compiled a losing record.  In fact the #7 seed has compiled 9 or more wins 16 times (72.7%).  Meanwhile only six extra .500 teams would have qualified (27.3%).

The only casualty from adding one team per conference is the 1st round bye for the #2 seed.  Wild-Card weekend would now feature three games per conference with the top seed earning the week off.

I don't see any problem with a #2 seed having a home playoff game against (a more often than not) winning team.  Bring on expansion!

Minnesota awarded Super Bowl LII

No surprise here, new venue, closed roof, inside game.  Look at the bright side, after the Broncos win the Super Bowl this season, perhaps Pat Bowlen and the city can work out a deal to retro-fit Sports Authority Field with a retractable roof.  I could guarantee a Denver hosted Super Bowl then.

Why keep 3 QB's?

Roster spots are so valuable.  In the era of Peyton Manning when you can almost ensure a 16-game season from him, why in the world would you take 3 QB's to the active roster?  Your feelings about Bryn Renner or Zac Dysert aside, neither is worth that spot just because you might lose that player.

I know the Broncos are more than likely to carry three when the final cutdown to 53 is made.  They have done it every season in the John Fox era.  This is one of those times I wished they would buck the trend.

Is a KR/PR worth a spot on the roster?

Kickoffs are now made from the 35 yard-line and that aspect of the return game has been severely limited.  Why keep a guy with limited impact, on a team with a historic offense, when someone like Emmanuel Sanders can (and has) filled that role before? Versatility before specialization, especially in this case.

Why the LS?

I've been asked this question many times, and I never have a good rebuttal for it.  Why keep a LS when you could teach a backup lineman or position player to do the same thing?  There must be some coaches or former Long Snappers out there that can justify that role?  Please enlighten us.  If I were an NFL coach, one of the first things I would do is teach one of my reserve depth players this duty.  They don't even line up or hit this player in today's game for crying out loud.

Quinton Carter ready to go?

After missing the last couple of seasons due to nagging knee and hamstring issues, it appears as if Quinton Carter has given himself a clean bill of health.  This can be potentially very good for the Broncos safety situation.  Depth behind the starters is a huge questionmark, and out of all the position groups on the team (except for RB) is probably one of the weakest.  I will remain skeptical until I see production on the field, but a healthy Q could mean a huge boost to the Broncos D.

Horse Tracks

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Burse Could Fill an Immediate Need
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Roger Goodell expects playoff expansion in 2015 - NFL.com
NFL owners will not vote on 2014 playoff expansion at Tuesday's Spring League Meeting. Commissioner Roger Goodell said he believes it will be approved for the 2015 season, however.

Mark Davis: Talks for Raiders' new stadium in 11th hour - NFL.com
Mark Davis and the Oakland Raiders continue to work toward securing a new stadium. However, the Raiders haven't had much luck in talks with the City of Oakland thus far.

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