AFL cookie monster
Our thoughts on the AFL’s proposed Wildcard Round are best summarised by Titus O’Reily. His article is reproduced below.

Not even finals safe from AFL’s money monsters
The AFL administration that introduced AFLX and rule changes to increase scoring — which actually lowered scoring — might have a new gift for fans: wildcard round. Titus O’Reily asks if this terrible new idea could have anything to do with money?

The AFL’s Minister for Terrible Ideas, Steve Hocking, has announced the wildcard round is back on the competition’s agenda.

For those of you unaware, a wildcard game is when teams that just made the finals play teams that just missed out in an elimination game. It’s big in America, hence the AFL is all giddy about it.

The AFL’s proposal is to have 7th play 10th and 8th play 9th in the current bye week before the finals, with the winner going through into the finals proper.

Just what an already too long season needs, more games.

So why would anyone want to do this?

There are three reasons, and the first is money.

The AFL loves money like the Cookie Monster loves cookies. In fact, there were banking executives at the Royal Commission who didn’t lust after money as much the AFL.

Two more “finals” mean more money from sponsors, ticket sales and broadcasters. If the AFL could, and they’re probably working on it, they would have everyone playing finals.

The second reason is not just the AFL’s problem but society’s, the continuing lowering of the bar to make everyone feel good about themselves.

When more teams are making the finals than not, we have a problem.

It’s not the first time the AFL has tried to maximise the winners and minimise the losers. Previously they’ve told junior football competitions not to keep score, resulting in the kids improving their mental arithmetic by keeping count in their heads anyway.

When 10 teams essentially make the finals, and only eight don’t, we’ve just taken something that was tough to do and made it slightly easier, diluting the accomplishment.

It’s like Pass the Parcel now sees every child get a prize. No wonder the Chinese are going to eat us alive.

The final reason is boredom. The AFL says it’s because it wants to make games later in the season less boring.

These days, people are terrified of boredom. We don’t worry anymore about being hungry or cold. With so many of our basic needs met, we fret about being bored with the same level of fear our ancestors used to reserve for being eaten by lions.

Boredom is fine. I’ve sat through lots of boring things, it gives you time to think, to talk to other people. Being bored builds resilience, allows you to use your imagination. That’s what’s wrong with our society, people get bored and lose their minds.

Can we even defeat boredom? Adding more teams to the finals makes it less interesting not more, and Carlton v North Melbourne is going to be boring no matter what you do. Even continuous fireworks wouldn’t distract from the mind-numbing pointlessness of that match-up.

Plus, the fact the AFL is doing this to make things more exciting makes it certain it won’t, this was an administration who introduced a raft of rule changes to increase scoring, which lowered scoring.

Let’s stop this bad idea before it starts, like we should have with AFLX.

The AFL loves money like the Cookie Monster loves cookies.
Titus O’Reily

Is it not just another property for the AFL to sell to the broadcasters and say ‘we’ve got another week of finals here, and you can buy it’.
Matt Granland

Not even finals safe from AFL’s money monsters
The AFL reboots prospect of a Wildcard Round