Football - American
National Football League (NFL)
Football Rules and Regulations

How do NFL wildcards work?

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2011-09-12 22:39:55

The wildcards are the two teams from each conference (4 teams

across the NFL) that didnt finish first in their divsion, but still

get to go to the playoffs. Usually, but not always, they are the

5th and 6th best teams of the conference (though even if one of the

teams is 4th best in the conference, they are still given the #5

seed). These teams are given huge disadvantages by having to play

in extra rounds and given no home playoff games (unless the two

wildcards face each other in the round that decides who gets to go

to the superbowl, something that has still yet to happen.) The

wildcards are given the 5 and 6 seeds, even if the 4 seed, which is

always a team which won their division, had a worse record. No 5

seed has ever won a superbowl, and only 1 team has ever been to the

Superbowl (1985 New England Patriots). Until the 2006 playoffs, for

the 2005 season, no 6 seed had ever beaten a 1 seed. Also no 6 seed

has ever been to a superbowl though this may change in 4 days, as

in that amount of time, a 6 seed will play a game for the right to

go to the superbowl; the same team that is the first 6 seed to beat

a 1 seed (2005 Pittsburgh Steelers). Before the 2002 realigment,

there were fewer divsions, only 3 in each conference (for a total

of 6 across the NFL) (instead of the 4 now, for a total of 8 across

the NFL). At that time the 4 seed WAS a wildcard. Wildcard teams

have won the superbowl, but all of them were 4 seeds, when that

seeding was still a wildcard, which is no longer the case.

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