Cincinnati Bengals executive vice president Katie Blackburn pushed back hard on the NFL’s proposed solutions to the AFC playoff seeding drama and will seek to whip up “no” votes before Friday’s vote.
The proposal, which means the Bengals could lose out on hosting a playoff game despite being AFC North champions, is a mid-season rule change.
Those hardly ever happen and Blackburn argued to the competition committee that voting on a rule change could introduce bias into the process, as captured by ESPN’s Ben Baby:
Bengals executive vice president Katie Blackburn is on the competition committee, which approved the scenarios Thursday. In a memo obtained by ESPN’s Seth Wickersham, Blackburn urged the committee members to vote against the scenarios. Her reasoning stemmed from the timing of a rule change away from the standard of winning percentages used in this scenario.
“The proper process for making rule change (sic) is in the off-season,” Blackburn wrote. “It is not appropriate to put teams in a position to vote for something that may introduce bias, favor one team over another or impact their own situation when the vote takes place immediately before the playoffs.”
Not only is this sound logic other teams might agree with, the Bengals certainly have right to feel they’re being treated unfairly in the proposal. If they lose to the Ravens in Week 18 and match them again in the wild card round (likely), a coin flip will decide which team gets to host the playoff game despite the Bengals being the AFC North champions (which gives them a harder schedule and a worse draft pick next year, too).
The proposal needs 24 of 32 owners to pass, with the Bengals attempting to whip up “no” votes, joining them in shooting down a mid-season rule change.