Fittingly, Jerry Jones Believes NFL Playoff Expansion Would Help His Cowboys

Jerry Jones
Matthew Emmons USA TODAY Sports

Back in January when the notion of the NFL expanding its playoffs surfaced in the midst of a great postseason, I wrote if the system ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Dallas Cowboys do-it-all owner Jerry Jones thinks otherwise.

At the NFL owners’ spring meeting in Atlanta on Monday, Jones stated his reasons why he believes the league needs to make the playoffs a 14-team dance.

The Cowboys have finished 8-8 for three consecutive seasons, becoming the NFL’s quintessential .500 club. They’ve made a habit out of November-December clashes, and the always-dramatic losses in win-and-your-in contests. The Cowboys are seeming always the NFC East’s bridesmaid, never the bride.

So color me surprised that Jones wants more teams to make the playoffs. Perhaps with an expanded field, the typically average Cowboys teams Jones has fielded over the years have a chance to get bounced out in the opening round rather than December. If the Cowboys made it to the postseason, would that take the spotlight away from Jones’ poor general managing skills?

I’m not a proponent of a 14-team playoff, as I stated back in the winter. The move, obviously, would be financially driven because a look at the competitive side of it spoils Jones’ argument.

As it stands today, 37.5 percent of teams (12 of a total 32) make the playoffs. Adding two more teams into the mix would make it 43.75 percent, approaching half of the teams in each conference.

Though it’s not an exact comparison, but the NBA allows half of the teams in the conference to make the playoffs, while still rewarding division winners. While it works out well for the talent-loaded Western Conference with quality teams from top to bottom, the East is a joke when teams like Cleveland and New York have chances to earn spots despite lopsided win-loss marks.

This past season, four AFC teams and two NFC teams, including Dallas, finished 8-8. In a 14-team field, the Pittsburgh Steelers would’ve been the seventh AFC squad to earn a playoff bid. The Arizona Cardinals would’ve been the No. 7 seed in the NFC, and at least Bruce Arians’ team has a bit of case, finishing 10-6 but a 2-4 mark in division contests.

A 12-team playoff race makes sense. It works now; check out the TV ratings. It’s equally competitive and logical, and rewards teams that either won their division or made it a tight race. It’s not intended to be a way to include Jones’ Cowboys when they can’t win in pressure-laden games.

For NFL fans’ sake, let’s hope Jerry is wrong in thinking the majority of owners want to expand the playoffs. Let’s be honest — he’s said some things that have made us shake our heads before, so there’s no guarantee he’s going to be right here.

Let’s hope it’s not a matter of “when, not if” there will be expanded playoffs, but “when, not if” this conversation can come to an end.

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