I’ll admit I was one of the many Bengals fans who participated in the collective grumble over the lousy Browns giving up 2 TD’s in the final minute in their loss to the Patriots, which would have given the Bengals the #2 with three weeks to go.
But, is the playoff bye week really worth it?
Looking at the previous Super Bowl participants:
2012 ... BAL (wild-card) defeated SF (bye)
2011 ... NYG (wild-card) defeated NE (bye)
2010 ... GB (wild-card) defeated PIT (bye)
2009 ... NO (bye) defeated IND (bye)
2008 ... PIT (bye) defeated ARI (wild-card)
2007 ... NYG (wild-card) defeated NE (bye)
2006 ... IND (wild-card) defeated CHI (bye)
2006 ... PIT (wild-card) defeated SEA (bye)
Six of the last Eight Super Bowls have been won by a team who did not have a bye, but had to play on the opening weekend of the playoffs in the wild-card game.
Only One of the last Eight Super bowls featured two teams who both had bye weeks.
The moral of the story is that it is very possible to not only reach the Super Bowl, but to win the Super Bowl despite not receiving the round 1 bye.
So while it would be nice to get that first round bye, it doesn’t really seem necessary, but our likelihood to reach (and win) the Super Bowl seems just as good if we have to host a wild-card team in week 1.