WHERE WILL ALL the regulation-writers and rule-drafters and other assorted Talmudists go if Ronald Reagan really gives them the gate? Will they just swell the rolls of the unemployed? Ever looking to be constructive, we have an idea. Next to government, surely professional football is the most receptive field for such scholars.
Consider what the footballers have already managed to do without expert Washington help. Right now, there are 28 teams in the National Football League. The league itself is divided into two 14-team conferences. The two conferences are further divided into six divisions: four divisions of five teams and two divisions of four teams. The 1980 National Football League champion will be the winner of the Super Bowl, which will not be played until 1981. Ten teams are admitted to post-season competition, but only two teams make it to the Super Bowl.
Here is how the 10 teams are selected: First, the team with the best record of wins and losses in each of the six divisions goes to the playoffs. Of the remaining 22 teams that did not win their division, two from each conference with the best won/loss record are allowed to compete. These teams are called "wild card" teams.
Of course, teams within a division can finish the 16-game season with the same number of victories and defeats, in a tie. But without coaching -- at least from the Feds -- pro football has thought of everything. Here is how any tie would be resolved or broken in nine easy steps:
1) Head-to-head competition. In the two games the two teams played with each other, if one team won both games, that team would be the division champ. If not, then go directly to --
2) Which team had the better record of victories over losses of games played within the division. If that fails --
3) Which team had the better record of victories and defeats in conference games. Still no winner? Then on to --
4) Which team had the better record of wins and losses against common opponents. If the tie remains unbroken, then --
5) Which team scored more points than it surrendered in games within the division. Still no resolution? Try --
6) Same standard as No. 5, except including games in the conference. If the tie remains, then --
7) Something called Strength of Schedule, followed by --
8) Which team scored more touchdowns than its opponents scored over the entire season.
Now if there is a tie, the wise persons of pro ball finally give up: No. 9 is a simple toss of a coin. It is here that they need help, a federal recomplication program perhaps. How about leaving Nos. 9 to 19 up to a special team from Washington?