I just finished watching one of the most exciting Super Bowls I have ever seen. The Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Arizona Cardinals in the final seconds of Super Bowl 43â€”a contest that will surely go down as a game for the ages.
Even though it was a great game, I have a complaint to make. Tonight’s game brought this NFL season to a far too definitive conclusion. It’s the same problem every year. The NFL ends the season by requiring the teams with the best records to play one another in a single elimination playoff. Only the winners advance, and the final game always features the champions of the two conferences: the NFC and the AFC. By the end of the Super Bowl, there is no question in anyone’s mind as to which team is the champion of the National Football League.
Am I the only one who can see how ridiculous it is to end the season with such ironclad certainty? The whole season is decided by the players on the field. No one else gets a say as to who should be the champion. Neither the coaches nor the media get to vote on the matter. There are no computers to help determine who should come out on top in the end. The current NFL system is intolerably oppressive and imperialistic. Fans and players are forced to recognize as champion the one team that wins out in the playoffs. The whole system smacks of the outmoded “certainties” of modernism. We can do better than this.
The NFL needs to remedy this situation by abolishing the Super Bowl and the playoff that precedes it. In its place, the NFL should implement an inconclusive Bowl system in which all the best teams (and a great many mediocre teams) get to play in a single honorific game after the conclusion of their regular season. We’ll let coaches and sports reporters vote on who the best teams are, match them in bowl games, and call one of the bowls the championship game. The two best teams will not necessarily play each other at the end of the season. Sometimes they will, and sometimes they won’t.
The advantages of implementing a bowl system in the NFL are obvious. The NFL season would be much shorter (we could probably bring it to a close in January). No one would be obligated to recognize the team that is declared to be champion at the end of the season. Instead, fans and players and coaches could make arguments as to why their favorite team should be recognized as the champions. The season would end far less conclusively than it currently does. More than one team would have a shot at the “championship,” and no one would feel oppressed by an imperialist playoff model. Every team that wins a bowl could have a trophy.
So who will join me in petitioning the NFL to abandon its playoff in favor of an inconclusive bowl series? Doesn’t it make sense to you? Isn’t it about time that we abolish once and for all this sham that is called the “Super Bowl”?