National Football League Playoffs
The National Football League (NFL) playoffs are a single-elimination tournament held after the end of the regular season to determine the NFL champion. Six teams from each of the league's two conferences qualify for the playoffs based on regular season records, and a tie-breaking procedure exists in the case of equal records. The tournament ends with the Super Bowl, the league's championship game, which matches the two conference champions.
NFL post-season history can be traced to the first NFL Championship Game in 1933, though in the early years, qualification for the game was based solely on regular season records. The first true NFL playoff began in 1967, when four teams qualified for the tournament. When the league merged with the American Football League in 1970, the playoffs expanded to eight teams. The playoffs were expanded to ten teams in 1978 and twelve teams in 1990.
The NFL is the only one out of the four major professional sports leagues in the United States to use a single-elimination tournament in all four rounds of its playoffs; Major League Baseball (not including their Wild Card Showdown postseason round), the National Basketball Association and the National Hockey League all use a "best-of" format instead.
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2002 changes have led to two limitations in the playoff system First, several division champions have hosted and defeated wild card teams that had better win-loss records ... have been division champions that have had worse records than teams failing to qualify for the playoffs ... There are two notable examples In the 2008-2009 playoffs, the San Diego Chargers clinched the AFC West championship with only an 8–8 record, and hosted the 12–4 Indianapolis Colts in the Wild ...
... Round as the sixth-seed, the Chiefs began their playoff run in the RCA Dome against the third-seeded Indianapolis Colts ... RB Larry Johnson, one of the league's top rushers, was held to just 32 yards on 13 carries, along with 29 receiving yards on 5 receptions, by the Colts ... Unlike the teams' previous meeting in the playoffs which consisted of an offensive shootout, both teams' defenses were the story of the game ...
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