Tonight’s Monday Night Football game is a great matchup. The Chiefs and Eagles faced off in the Super Bowl 9 months ago, and this year they once again are two of the top teams in the league. This is the type of game that’s deserving of a primetime slot.
Too bad it doesn’t matter.
That’s because the NFL made the horrible decision to make conference wins the top tiebreaker for teams who don’t play each other. It does make sense on the surface, it maintains a bit of separation between the conferences like in the old days before the merger and emphasizes games within the conference. But in a league where teams only play 17 games, tiebreakers are extremely important, and by making conference games the top tie breaker it makes interconference games nearly meaningless.
Ok yes it is better for the Chiefs if they win than if they lose, but only slightly. Right now the biggest threat for the top seed in the AFC is the Ravens. The Chiefs currently have the tiebreaker because one of our losses was to the NFC Lions while all 3 of the Ravens losses were to AFC teams. But if the Chiefs win this game (and beat the Packers in a couple weeks, which is very likely) then the Ravens literally get a free game against their toughest remaining opponent, the San Francisco 49ers. A loss there gives them another loss, but it also gives them the tiebreaker, exactly canceling out the loss. And since that’s their most likely loss, the Chiefs would then earn the tiebreaker back by losing to the Eagles, which then makes this game meaningless.
This is all so silly, and for no reason. Instead of emphasizing a tiebreaker that makes games meaningless, why not emphasize tiebreakers that make the games more exciting? For example, further down the tiebreaker list is point differential. If this was instead the top tiebreaker, you would no longer have garbage time. Every single second of every single game would matter and teams would no longer put in backups in blowouts.
But no. Instead we’ll go into one of the best games of the season knowing it doesn’t really matter.