If you are an NFL fan, you have probably heard the term “wild card” thrown around during the playoffs. But what exactly does it mean?
What Are NFL Wild Card Games?
The NFL playoffs consist of 12 teams, six from each conference (AFC and NFC). The top four teams from each conference, based on regular season record, receive a bye for the first round of playoffs. This means they automatically advance to the divisional round.
The remaining eight teams play in the wild card round. This is where the term “wild card” comes into play. The four teams with the best records in each conference that did not win their respective divisions qualify for the wild card round.
Format of Wild Card Games
In each conference, two wild card teams are matched up against two division winners. The team with the better record hosts the game, which means that a wild card team can potentially host a playoff game if they have a better record than a division winner.
The Benefits of Winning a Wild Card Game
The ultimate goal for any NFL team is to win the Super Bowl. However, winning a wild card game can be an important stepping stone towards achieving that goal.
Firstly, it means advancing to the next round of playoffs – the divisional round – where they will face one of the top four teams in their conference. Secondly, it gives them momentum and confidence going into that game.
Notable Wild Card Game Moments
Over the years, there have been many memorable moments in wild card games.
– In 1999, Tennessee Titans wide receiver Kevin Dyson caught a lateral pass from quarterback Steve McNair and ran it in for a touchdown on the final play of their game against Buffalo Bills to win 22-16.
– In 2005, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antwaan Randle El threw a touchdown pass to Hines Ward in their game against the Indianapolis Colts, helping the Steelers win 21-18.
– In 2010, Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch broke multiple tackles on a 67-yard touchdown run in their game against the New Orleans Saints, which became known as the “Beast Quake.”
In conclusion, wild card games are an important part of the NFL playoffs. They give teams that did not win their division a chance to advance to the next round and potentially make a deep playoff run. With exciting moments like those mentioned above, wild card games are always worth watching for any NFL fan.