We don’t even question that the team that wins the Super Bowl is the champion. There’s no other team that says, “Oh, we’re better than them. We’re co-champion. If we played the Packers in a week, we’d beat them.”
It’s simply a fact. There’s a playoff system that builds up to a single game, and there is no doubt that the winner of the game is the NFL champion.
In college football, there is considerably more speculation than conviction when it comes to the national champion. This year Auburn won the BSC championship game and was crowned the winner. They were undefeated, and they beat undefeated Oregon. But TCU also went undefeated and won their bowl game, so should they be co-champion? There’s no certainty, and when people spend a considerable amount of time, energy, and money on sport entertainment, we want a definitive winner.
Look back at the NFL. This year the New England Patriots went 14-3, with their third loss coming in the playoffs. The Green Bay Packers finished the season (counting the postseason) 13-6. Any way you look at those numbers, they’re worse than the Patriots. But no one–not a single person–will say tomorrow that the Patriots are the true NFL champions. It literally will not cross anyone’s mind.
There are plenty of stipulations and logistics to make a college football playoff system work. But I don’t think there’s any doubt that it will result in an uncontested champion, which is what people want. It most certainly won’t undermine the value of regular season games. At the very least, let’s try it for a few years. If it doesn’t work, we can always go back to the old system.
Congrats to the Packers, and here’s to the future of sports involving young men pinning each other to the ground while wearing tights.