New Playoff Proposal Gives Hope to More Football Programs

The MIAA voted for a new football proposal earlier this year.

The MIAA voted for a new football proposal earlier this year.

Michael Fortin

The MIAA voted for a new football proposal earlier this year.

As the Walpole football team steamrolled Weymouth High School 48-21 on Thanksgiving day some players came off the field with some disappointment.  This disappointment however was not coming from the result of the game they just played but a game in Framingham in which the players would find out that Natick beat Framingham 26-14 to capture a Division 2A playoff berth from within the Bay State Herget.

This news was upsetting to the team because they had just found out they were another victim of the playoff system–a 10-1 team that dominated just about every game that will not be going to the playoffs.  Walpole nonchalantly rolled through the Bay State averaging about 40 points a game and only allowing 7 points a game.   Even the team they beat on Thanksgiving by 27 points, Weymouth, who is only 8-3 is going to the Division 1 playoffs,  the apparently stronger of the two divisions, even though the two best teams were in the Herget.

So the question is should Walpole be penalized for having one bad game?  Fortunately for teams like Walpole throughout the state, starting next year they will be apart of a new playoff system for the next two years to avoid instances like this.  This new proposal is a pilot program and depending on how it goes, it could extend into the future.  This new proposal, which was passed earlier this year, provides many more opportunities to football teams.  Teams will be divided into 12 team leagues from Divisions 1-5 and will be separated from North, South, Central, and West.  In these 12 team leagues, 66% of the teams will advance to the playoffs compared to this year, where in the Herget, only 1 team out of 6 went to the playoffs.  With this proposal, the playoffs will have more of a “March Madness” feel to it because it includes many more teams in the playoffs and gives teams a much better chance of succeeding.  Additionally, it benefits teams that usually are not very good.  After the 7 game regular season, your team either goes into the playoffs, or if your team does not qualify for them, then your team goes into a pool of teams with similar records as you.  With this system, even though they do not qualify for the playoffs they still have a better chance of succeeding compared to the old system because they will be playing teams with similar skill in weeks 8-10.

Also, another new feature in this proposal is the point system.  This system contrasts from this years system in which you advance to the playoffs depending on your league and overall record.  In the new proposal, for every win within your division you will be rewarded 10 points.  For defeating a team in a higher division you will be awarded 12 points, and you will get 8 points for beating a team in a lower division.  This is actually beneficial to Walpole because when they play teams in the Carey, they will be awarded 12 points for a win since said teams are Division 1. The Rebels dominated the Carey this season going 6-0 while pitching three shutouts in these wins.

This proposal however does not change everything we have in our current system.  One big argument about the proposal is should we keep Thanksgiving games?  The answer is yes because after weeks 8-10 the program goes back to the regular season where you play your traditional Thanksgiving opponent.  There is a lot of controversy in this because some schools find it pointless to have playoffs then go back to the regular season just to keep a tradition going.   But one major accomplishment the proposal establishes is, the 6 State Champions compared to the current 19 State Champions.

As Natick and Weymouth advance to the playoffs people ponder if they are actually the best teams to represent the Bay State League.  Weymouth struggled in their game against Brockton losing 33-7 and was being dominated for just about the whole game.  Natick however did win their game against Plymouth South 38-33 to advance to the Division 2A Superbowl against Beverly.  However their was a controversy over this game as Plymouth South claimed Natick was using an illegal ball but the MIAA still granted Natick the win.

As next year approaches, teams across the state will enter the season a little more confident knowing that they will have a better chance of making the playoffs and succeeding with this new football proposal.