Due to the very nature of writing a sports article that will be posted on Christmas Day, I have been thinking since Monday night about how special it is to watch meaningful, winter football games. When the 49ers were in a slump I, like many of you, would watch every game. No matter what. Even when the season was already over. And there was nothing quite so much of a bummer as watching meaningless games in December. It's such a pleasure to be watching games in December, knowing that they are just leading into the playoffs.
This got me thinking about Arizona Cardinal fans. They are watching meaningful games this month; they are watching a team that is playing good football and a team that is winning; and, they might watch their team's last game of the season this week.
This is, of course, a rare occurrence: most teams that win in meaningful December games are postseason-bound. Naturally, this has caused a bit of controversy, which has manifested itself in chatter about reforming the playoff structure. One common argument is that the playoffs should just include the top-six teams by wins and losses.
I'm not particularly fond of this idea, and it's not just because I don't want the Cardinals to go to the post-season. I will say, though, that I want to Cardinals to miss out on the playoffs. First off, they are good. Secondly, I still have some bitter "rivalry" feelings from a while back. While the Seahawks rivalry has recently taken center stage (and for good reason), the 49ers and the Cardinals still have some latent animosity from the Kurt Warner and post-Warner days.
And thirdly, Carson Palmer's feet smell like multi-interception games.
No, I'm not fond of the reform ideas proposed because I dislike the Cardinals. My desire to keep the current system intact (for the most part - I might be amenable to the idea of re-seeding the No. 3-6 teams based upon record so that a superior wild card team doesn't have to go on the road) has more to do with the conditions which created my distaste for the Cardinals than the distaste itself.
I like the rivalry we had / have with the Cardinals and the rivalry we have with the Seahawks. And, these rivalries are as strong as they are because of the current divisional break-up. If we stop rewarding teams that win their division with a playoff spot, then the divisional rivalries would likely lose their potency.