What is the Dallas Cowboys playoff history
Five wins, ten losses. That is the sad record of the NFL club New York Giants before the last day of the regular season. In the Bundesliga, a club with such results would be a relegation candidate, in the US Football League that is not a great intermediate result, and yet the Giants can still qualify for the playoffs: They are in third place in the NFC East, just barely behind the Dallas Cowboys and the Washington football team, whose balance sheets are just a little better (6: 9 each).
The bizarre situation is due to the sometimes miraculous rules of the NFL, which unfold in all its glory this season. Unlike in European football, there is no promotion and relegation in US sport; the protagonist of the comedy television series Ted Lasso about an American football coach at an English football club, describes the situation for bad teams at the end of regular time as follows: "They play meaningless games in half-full stadiums with no mood - and pretty much everyone thinks that's perfectly fine."
In truth, it is even worse: clubs are rewarded for terrible balance sheets with the fact that they are more likely to vote at the annual talent exchange. This year, for example, Trevor Lawrence from Clemson University is up for election, the quarterback is already being hailed as the savior for the franchise that should pick him first on April 29th. That was also the reason why spectators of the Jacksonville Jaguars frenetically cheered a touchdown of the Chicago Bears in their own stadium last weekend (16791 are allowed): The Jaguars (1:14) are worse than the New York Jets (2 : 13), which, surprisingly and to the displeasure of many Jets fans, recently won twice in a row. Both the supporters of the Jets (with the New England Patriots) and the Jaguars (with the Indianapolis Colts) should now hope for defeat of their club.
The NFL makes sense of all of this
Sounds crazy? It is, and because it is so crazy, there are fans of the New York Giants who would not be unhappy with a loss in a direct duel with the Cowboys on the last day of the game (the winner is qualified for the playoffs if Washington against the Philadelphia Eagles loses). Why? Because they believed that if Washington won, that would be the better result in the long run. However, no Giants fan wants to give up the chance of a playoff participation and the championship, it is more important: If you fail, then with as many defeats as possible.
The background is as follows: The NFL consists of the two conferences AFC and NFC, each of which is divided into four regional divisions. The winners of the eight divisions qualify for the playoffs, plus the three clubs with the best results in a conference since this season. 14 of 32 clubs reach the elimination round, the two with the best record in a conference have a bye in the first round.
It can therefore happen that a team with a weaker record reaches the elimination round. In 2010, the Seattle Seahawks were the first club to qualify with more defeats than wins (7: 9) - the New York Giants (10: 6) were absent at the time. In 2014 the Carolina Panthers were the second and so far last team in NFL history with a negative record (7: 8: 1), the win against the Arizona Cardinals in the first playoff round is still considered the most terrible game in the NFL playoff. History.
These constellations don't happen very often, that's because of the NFL game plan. Each club plays 16 games in the regular season: two against the clubs from their own division (i.e. six games in total), one against all teams from one division in their own and the other conference (a total of eight games) and one game against each a team from the remaining two divisions of their own conference.
There is a new nickname for the NFC East clubs
It sounds complicated, but the NFL sees some point in it. The reason for this is that every franchise plays every three years against all teams in its own conference and at least every four years against all NFL clubs, because of the duels within the divisions, there are bitter rivalries because it is always about the playoffs: Green Bay Packers versus Chicago Bears. Pittsburgh Steelers versus Baltimore Ravens. Cowboys versus Giants. And it means that the division winners usually have a decent balance sheet because they have at least won against regional competitors. This season, however, the NFC East clubs are so bad that they have a nickname: NFC Least - the one with the fewest wins.
Back to the arguments of the Giants fans, hoping for a defeat if Washington wins: The talent exchange is always in reverse order to the result of the previous season; the team with the worst record chooses first, the Super Bowl winner last. However, there are two groups: playoff participants and failed. From the balance sheet, the Giants would be in seventh place according to the current status, a victory could let them slip to twelfth place in all seven draft rounds.
Participation in the playoff would drop the Giants to at least 19th place, but that would be worth it for the chance of winning the title four times in a row; especially since they would then benefit from another peculiarity of the regulations.
The overall record of the NFC East clubs so far this season (21 wins, 38 losses, one draw) is the worst of a division in NFL history. But that doesn't matter at all at the beginning of the elimination round: It's between the three division winners with the worst record (the best team has a bye) and three who qualified with the most wins for a place in the quarter-finals. The division winners have, regardless of their own record or that of the opponent, including the winner of the NFC Least: home right.
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