If the modern NFL Playoff Format was used back then

SabresRule

SatelliteGuys Master
Apr 15, 2008
12,883
5
Wisconsin
There have been a lot of instances where playoff formats hurt teams and helped them.

The 1990-91 NFL season was the first one with 6 playoff teams, 3 Wild Card teams, and 2 Wild Card Games per conference.

By looking at old NFL season standings, I put together how the playoffs would have been in the previous years (1970-71 to 1989-90) after the AFL-NFL merger:

1970-71

(1) Baltimore Colts, (2) Oakland Raiders- First-Round Byes
(1) Minnesota Vikings, (2) San Francisco 49ers- First-Round Byes

NFC Wild Card Games- (6) NY Giants at (3) Dallas, (5) LA Rams at (4) Detroit
AFC Wild Card Games- (6) Cleveland at (3) Cincinnati, (5) Kansas City at (4) Miami

1971-72

(1) Kansas City Chiefs, (2) Miami Dolphins- First-Round Byes
(1) Minnesota Vikings, (2) Dallas Cowboys- First-Round Byes

AFC Wild Card Games- (6) New England at (3) Cleveland, (5) Oakland at (4) Baltimore
NFC Wild Card Games- (6) Detroit at (3) San Francisco, (5) LA Rams at (4) Washington


1972-73

(1) Miami Dolphins, (2) Pittsburgh Steelers- First-Round Byes
(1) Washington Redskins, (2) Green Bay Packers- First-Round Byes

NFC Wild Card Games- (6) NY Giants at (3) San Francisco, (5) Detroit at (4) Dallas
AFC Wild Card Games- (6) Kansas City at (3) Oakland, (5) Cincinnati at (4) Cleveland


1973-74

(1) Miami Dolphins, (2) Cincinnati Bengals- First-Round Byes
(1) Minnesota Vikings, (2) Los Angeles Rams- First-Round Byes

AFC Wild Card Games- (6) Denver at (3) Oakland, (5) Buffalo at (4) Pittsburgh
NFC Wild Card Games- (6) Detroit at (3) Dallas, (5) Atlanta at (4) Washington


1974-75

(1) Oakland Raiders, (2) Miami Dolphins- First-Round Byes
(1) Minnesota Vikings, (2) St. Louis Cardinals- First-Round Byes

AFC Wild Card Games- (6) Houston at (3) Pittsburgh, (5) Denver at (4) Buffalo
NFC Wild Card Games- (6) Philadelphia at (3) LA Rams, (5) Dallas at (4) Washington


1975-76, the first year in real life we had playoff seeding

(1) Pittsburgh and (2) Oakland would have first-round byes.
AFC Wild Card Games- (6) Miami at (3) Baltimore, (5) Houston at (4) Cincinnati

(1) Minnesota and (2) LA Rams would have first-round byes.
NFC Wild Card Games- (6) Detroit at (3) St. Louis, (5) Washington at (4) Dallas


1976-77

(1) Oakland and (2) Baltimore would have first-round byes.
AFC Wild Card Games- (6) Denver at (3) Pittsburgh, (5) Cincinnati at (4) New England

(1) Minnesota and (2) Dallas would have first-round byes.
NFC Wild Card Games- (6) San Francisco at (3) LA Rams, (5) St. Louis at (4) Washington



1977-78

(1) Denver and (2) Baltimore would have first-round byes.
AFC Wild Card Games- (6) New England at (3) Pittsburgh, (5) Miami at (4) Oakland


(1) Dallas and (2) LA Rams would have first-round byes.
NFC Wild Card Games- (6) St. Louis at (3) Minnesota, (5) Washington at (4) Chicago

1978-79. A Wild Card Game was added to each conference. The first-round byes would not be affected, but the #3 seed ( worst record of the three division winners) would have gotten to host a playoff game instead of playing one of the top seeds on the road.

AFC
(1) Pittsburgh and (2) New England still have first-round byes.
(5) Houston at (4) Miami AFC Wild Card Game.
The second AFC Wild Card Game would have been (6) Oakland at (3) Denver

NFC
(1) LA Rams and (2) Dallas still have first-round byes.
(5) Philadelphia at (4) Atlanta NFC Wild Card Game.
The second NFC Wild Card Game would have been (6) Green Bay at (3) Minnesota


1979-80
AFC
(1) San Diego and (2) Pittsburgh still have first-round byes.
(5) Denver at (4) Houston AFC Wild Card Game.
The second AFC Wild Card Game would have been (6) New England at (3) Miami
NFC
(1) Dallas and (2) Tampa Bay still have first-round byes.
(5) Chicago at (4) Philadelphia NFC Wild Card Game.
The second NFC Wild Card Game would have been (6) Washington at (3) LA Rams


1980-81
AFC
(1) San Diego and (2) Cleveland still have first-round byes.
(5) Houston at (4) Oakland AFC Wild Card Game.
The second AFC Wild Card Game would have been (6) New England at (3) Buffalo
NFC
(1) Atlanta and (2) Philadelphia still have first-round byes.
(5) LA Rams at (4) Dallas NFC Wild Card Game.
The second NFC Wild Card Game would have been (6) Detroit at (3) Minnesota

1981-82
AFC
(1) Cincinnati and (2) Miami still have first-round byes.
(5) Buffalo at (4) NY Jets AFC Wild Card Game.
The second AFC Wild Card Game would have been (6) Denver at (3) San Diego

NFC
(1) San Francisco and (2) Dallas still have first-round byes.
(5) NY Giants at (4) Philadelphia NFC Wild Card Game
The second NFC Wild Card Game would have been (6) Washington at (3) Tampa Bay


1982-83- The one-year 8 team per conference format screwed up the divisional standings, but the top 6 seeds per conference would have look like this divisionally:
AFC
(1) LA Raiders and (2) Miami Dolphins have first-round byes.

Two of the AFC first-round playoff games are AFC Wild Card Games:
(6) NY Jets at (3) Cincinnati, (5) San Diego at (4) Pittsburgh
(7) New England and (8) Cleveland do not make the playoffs.

NFC
(1) Washington and (2) Green Bay have first-round byes.
NFC Wild Card Games:
(6) St. Louis at (3) Atlanta, (5) Minnesota at (4) Dallas
(7) Tampa Bay and (8) Detroit do not make the playoffs.


1983-84
AFC

(1) LA Raiders and (2) Miami still have first-round byes.
(5) Denver at (4) Seattle AFC Wild Card Game.
The second AFC Wild Card Game would have been (6) Cleveland at (3) Pittsburgh

NFC
(1) Washington and (2) San Francisco still have first-round byes.
(5) LA Rams at (4) Dallas AFC Wild Card Game.
The second NFC Wild Card Game would have been (6) St. Louis at (3) Detroit


1984-85

AFC
(1) Miami and (2) Denver still have first-round byes.
(5) LA Raiders at (4) Seattle AFC Wild Card Game.

The second AFC Wild Card Game would have been (6) New England at (3) Pittsburgh


NFC
(1) San Francisco and (2) Washington still have first-round byes.
(5) NY Giants at (4) LA Rams NFC Wild Card Game.

The second NFC Wild Card Game would have been (6) St. Louis at (3) Chicago


1985-86
AFC
(1) LA Raiders and (2) Miami still have first-round byes.
(5) New England at (4) NY Jets AFC Wild Card Game.
The second AFC Wild Card Game would have been (6) Denver at (3) Cleveland
NFC
(1) Chicago and (2) LA Rams still have first-round byes.
(5) San Francisco at (4) NY Giants NFC Wild Card Game.
The second NFC Wild Card Game would have been (6) Washington at (3) Dallas


1986-87

AFC
(1) Cleveland and (2) Denver still have first-round byes.
(5) Kansas City at (4) NY Jets AFC Wild Card Game

The second AFC Wild Card Game would have been (6) Cincinnati at (3) New England


NFC
(1) NY Giants and (2) Chicago still have first-round byes.
(5) LA Rams at (4) Washington NFC Wild Card Game.

The second NFC Wild Card Game would have been (6) Minnesota at (3) San Francisco


1987-88

AFC
(1) Denver and (2) Cleveland still have first-round byes.
(5) Seattle at (4) Houston AFC Wild Card Game.

The second AFC Wild Card Game would have been (6) New England at (3) Indianapolis


NFC
(1) San Francisco and (2) Chicago still have first-round byes.
(5) Minnesota at (4) New Orleans NFC Wild Card Game

The second NFC Wild Card Game would have been (6) Dallas at (3) Washington


1988-89

AFC
(1) Cincinnati and (2) Buffalo still have first-round byes.
(5) Houston at (4) Cleveland AFC Wild Card Game.
The second AFC Wild Card Game would have been (6) Indianapolis at (3) Seattle


NFC

(1) Chicago and (2) San Francisco still have first-round byes.
(5) LA Rams at (4) Minnesota NFC Wild Card Game.
The second NFC Wild Card Game would have been (6) NY Giants at (3) Philadelphia


1989-90

AFC

(1) Denver and (2) Cleveland still have first-round byes.
(5) Pittsburgh at (4) Houston AFC Wild Card Game.
The second AFC Wild Card Game would have been (6) Kansas City at (3) Buffalo

NFC

(1) San Francisco and (2) NY Giants still have first-round byes.
(5) LA Rams at (4) Philadelphia NFC Wild Card Game.
The second NFC Wild Card Game would have been (6) Green Bay at (3) Minnesota
 

Derwin0

Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati
Lifetime Supporter
Aug 16, 2004
38,156
16,619
Griffin, GA
Big problem, when the NFL changed the playoff structure, they also changed the divisions, and who each team played (example, none of the NFC South teams were in the same division prior to the restructure).

So using win-loss for those seasons would be different as their schedule wouldn't be anything like it is now. Not to mention the changing in the number of divisions (3 to 4).
 
Last edited:

Jimbo

SatelliteGuys Master
Lifetime Supporter
Jul 14, 2005
64,452
4,548
NW Ohio - Buckeye Country
Big problem, when the NFL changed the playoff structure, they also changed the divisions, and who each team played (example, none of the NFC South teams were in the same division prior to the restructure).

So using win-loss for those seasons would be different as their schedule wouldn't be anything like it is now. Not to mention the changing in the number of divisions (3 to 4).

agreed ...
 

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