NFL Playoffs 2018
January can be a confusing time for NFL fans. Should they be happy that only the best teams of the season will be playing for the next month? Or should they be sad because there are only a handful of NFL games left in the season? Either way, some of the best football of the year is always played in January and February.
The field is not yet set for the 2018 NFL Playoffs. The playoff picture will begin to take shape late in the NFL regular season, with the bracket guaranteed to be set after the final week of the regular season wraps up on December 31.
How do I get NFL Playoff Tickets?
Like the regular season, the majority of NFL Playoff tickets are sold to the home team's season ticket holders (with the Super Bowl being an exception). This has traditionally made things a bit more challenging for fans who want to witness the excitement of playoff football, but do not hold season tickets. The secondary ticket market is often the best place to turn in this case as it provides fans with an opportunity to purchase seats.
History of the NFL Playoffs
The format of the NFL Playoffs has undergone many changes over the years. There hasn’t always been a Wild Card round or a Divisional one followed by the Conference Championships and the Super Bowl. From 1933 to 1966, the playoffs consisted of only the NFL Championship Game played between the two division winners.
Prior to 1933, the league champion was the team with the best record at the end of the season. But in 1932, there was a tie atop the rankings so an additional game was played. The following year a championship game between the winner of the two divisions was added—and the NFL Playoffs were born.
The Super Bowl was added to the mix in 1966; a game between the champions of the two professional football leagues, the NFL and the AFL. Teams were not divided into four divisions until 1967 which gave birth to the Divisional round.
The NFL format as we now know it did not begin to take shape until the merger in 1970. At that point, the playoffs expanded to eight teams, the six division winners (three per conference) and a wild card team (team with the best record that didn’t win a division) from each conference.
It was at that time the league started having the Divisional round followed by the Conference Championship games, and the Super Bowl.
From 1970-74 home field advantage rotated among the division winners. It wasn’t until 1975 that the league instituted a seeding system (based on record). But teams from the same division could not meet before the conference championships which meant there were times the No. 1 seed played the No. 3 rather than the No. 4.
The format changed once again in 1978 when the schedule increased from 14 to 16 games. Another wild card team was added to each conference bringing the total number of playoff teams to ten. Thus, the Wild Card round was created and the basis of the current format established (Wild Card, Division, Conference Championship, and Super Bowl).
The 10-team playoff system remained in place until 1990 when a third wild card team in each conference was added. The division winner with the worst record played in the Wild Card round. The NFL finally ditched the rule against division opponents meeting in the early rounds as well.
The current system was established in 2002 when the league expanded to 32 teams. Each conference was reorganized into four divisions of four teams. Division winners earned a spot along with two wild cards per conference with the two lowest seeded division winners playing the wild card teams in the first round.
2017 NFL Playoff Results
Last season’s NFL Playoffs saw the Oakland Raiders make their long-awaited return to the postseason, but since they were a wild card team (12-4), they had to travel to Houston to play the 9-7 Texans. A similar situation occurred in the NFC with the 11-5 New York Giants traveling to Green Bay to take on the 10-6 Packers.
In the end, the division winners were all victorious.
- Houston Texans 27 Oakland Raiders 14
- Pittsburgh Steelers 30 Miami Dolphins 12
- Green Bay Packers 38 New York Giants 13
- Seattle Seahawks 26 Detroit Lions 6
The Divisional Round was a bit more competitive, but the results were not overly shocking.
- New England Patriots 34 Houston Texans 16
- Pittsburgh Steelers 18 Kansas City Chiefs 16
- Green Bay Packers 34 Dallas Cowboys 31
- Atlanta Falcons 36 Seattle Seahawks 20
The Conference Championship games were not terribly competitive, but they did set the stage for a great Super Bowl.
- NFC Championship: Atlanta Falcons 44 Green Bay Packers 21
AFC Championship: New England Patriots 36 Pittsburgh Steelers 17
The Super Bowl appeared to belong to the Atlanta Falcons for three quarters, but they saw a 28-3 lead disappear in the fourth quarter as the Patriots forced an overtime period for the first time in Super Bowl history. New England won the game 34-28.
NFL Playoffs Schedule
The 2018 NFL Playoffs begin on January 6, 2018.
NFL Playoffs Schedule
|Wild Card Round||January 6 and 7, 2018||TBD|
|Divisional Round||January 13 and 14, 2018||TBD|
|Conference Championships||January 21, 2018||TBD|
|Super Bowl||February 4, 2018||TBD|