For NFL fans around the country the playoffs are supposed to be the fruits reaped from the labor of a 16-game NFL season. It’s a grind, even for Patriots fans I’d imagine, and we’re supposed to be rewarded with the best of the best going head-to-head for 60 minutes, with constant, heart-wrenching drama and lead changes and plays we’ll tell stories about for generations to come.
But the two blowouts in the conference championship round may have sealed the deal; this postseason might have been the worst one we’ve ever seen… at least in quite a while.
So, uh, what happened in 2017?
Well, there was roughly one game that was well above average and that was the Packers-Cowboys division-round game. That’s about it. Pretty much every other game was either boring as dirt for the vast majority of its 60 minutes, or it was a complete blowout.
Let’s reflect on a postseason worth forgetting and see how it stacks up compared to awful postseasons of yesteryear.
First, the Wild Card round.
This year’s Wild Card weekend was the most lopsided one since 1981 in terms of average margin of victory for the teams that participated.
Back in 1981, the league only played one Wild Card game per conference, but the average margin of victory for the two teams involved was 20.5.
This year, the Packers beat the Giants 38-13, the Texans beat the Raiders 27-14, the Seahawks beat the Lions 26-6, and the Steelers beat the Dolphins 30-12, giving the winning teams a total margin of victory over their opponents of 76 points between the four games, that’s good for an average of 19 points per game.
‘But hey,’ we all thought… ‘Now that the Wild Card round is over, it’s all uphill from here. The divisional round is going to be great!’
Again, not so much.
All told, we got one good game and one boring game that at least turned into an interesting one in the dying minutes in Kansas City between the Chiefs and the Steelers.
Still, a quick look through the annals of NFL history show that there were a few divisional rounds that were more disappointing than this year’s.
In 2009-10, the only game that was decided by one score or less was the Jets-Chargers game, which the Jets won 17-14 en route to their first of two consecutive AFC Championship berths.
Here were the other games that weekend:
Colts 20, Ravens 3
Saints 45, Cardinals 14
Vikings 34, Cowboys 3
The Jets did upset the No. 2-seeded Chargers, which was a worthwhile watch, but the Packers-Cowboys thriller was, objectively, better, and the Chiefs’ late-game TD to cut the Steelers’ lead to two points makes this year’s divisional round better than 2009-10’s.
In 2009-10, we also got dealt a pretty non-competitive Wild Card round. It went as follows:
Jets 24, Bengals 14
Ravens 33, Patriots 14
Cowboys 34, Eagles 14
Cardinals 51, Packers 45
While the Packers-Cardinals game was an incredible one, and the only game of note from the 2009-10 Wild Card Weekend, it’s clearly better than any game we got this year on Wild Card Weekend.
But, at the very least, we got two good, arguably great, games in the conference championship round. There was the legendary Saints-Vikings “Bountygate” game, and a decent game — certainly a competitive first half — between the Jets and the Colts.
So, that puts 2009-10 ahead of this year’s disaster of a postseason in my book.
After a quick look back through history — especially since 1990 when the league expanded the Wild Card round — I’m hard pressed to find a worse batch of games than this year’s in terms of competitiveness.
Even in the championship round, when we got the matchups that most of America wanted to see, they fell horribly flat.
Could Super Bowl LI between the Falcons and Patriots salvage this wreck? Sure, I can see it, but as of now, this year’s postseason stands alone in the hallowed halls of NFL history.
What do you think, America: Was this the worst postseason you remember seeing?
My vote is yes, but let me know what you think.
Bryan Altman is, for some reason, an unabashed fan of the Rangers, Jets and Mets. If he absolutely had to pick a basketball team it would be the Knicks, but he’d gladly trade them for a championship for any of his other three teams.