The National Football League is bracing for open rebellion by its fan base today, after the Seattle Seahawks' stunning, 41-36 upset of the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints in Saturday's opening round of the playoffs.
The Seahawks entered the postseason with a 7-9 record, facing a heavily favored New Orleans squad that boasted an 11-5 regular-season mark. But Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck threw four touchdown passes, before Marshawn Lynch iced the victory with a 67-yard run with just 3:22 remaining.
The upset revealed a longstanding flaw in the NFL's playoff system, which allows teams that fail to dominate during the regular season to experience undeserved postseason success and -- in isolated cases -- even contend for the Super Bowl championship. The win has prompted calls from fans around the league for a new playoff format; one that prohibits teams from "stroking" during the regular season only to peak come playoff time.
"It's a joke," complained NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Director Wayne Auton, a lifelong fan of the New Orleans Saints. "My team had a WAY better record through the first 16 games, and the NFL took it all away! We led our division every step of the way, then got beat by a team that clearly wasn't even trying until today. It's not fair!"
Auton said he will demand that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell immediately vacate Seattle's victory and advance New Orleans into next weekend League Championship Series, based on the Saints' better overall won-loss record. In addition, fans have inundated Sirius NFL Radio with demands that the league immediately begin keeping two sets of postseason statistics; one based on the current playoff system and another based on the league's original, 10-game schedule.
"It's the only fair way to do it," argued a listener identifying himself as `Hank in Texas' Saturday evening. "Under the NFL's original 1948 playoff system, the New England Patriots would have accumulated enough wins to clinch the championship three weeks ago. Unfortunately, NASCAR... er... the NFL keeps changing the system, over and over again. And now, the championship has become completely illegitimate."
Commissioner Goodell has declined to comment, but is reportedly planning to add 15 additional teams to the playoff bracket next season in an attempt to ensure that the Cincinnati Bengals make the cut.