American football – not well understood by Freakonomics

This blog post, proposing an NFL consolation game like the World Cup’s, demonstrates a fundamental lack of understanding of American football. I would have commented at the site, but others commented well enough about why having a consolation game would be a bad idea (one person even pointed out that we used to have one).

To summarize why it’s a bad idea:

  1. There are too many injuries in football, and no one would want to risk an injury for a game that doesn’t matter.
  2. The outcome of the NFL playoffs isn’t a stack ranking of teams from best to worst. There is no round-robin or multi-game series’. There is just a winner, and everyone else loses.
  3. Similar to the last point, if we introduced the concept of a stack ranking (even if it’s 1-4) that in some respects diminishes the value of the Superbowl, which is the game, seperated by two weeks from all other games, determining one winner.
  4. Numerous people don’t even think it’s a good idea in soccer.