In the NFL, a wild card team is a team that did not win its division but still qualified for the playoffs.
Who decides who gets in the wild card games?
In the National Football League (NFL), the wild card games are the two annual playoff games that are played by teams that did not win their divisional championship. These games are typically held on the weekend following the regular season.
The NFL is divided into two conferences, the American Football Conference (AFC) and the National Football Conference (NFC). Each conference has four divisions, and each division has four teams. The team with the best record in each division is declared the division champion, and they earn a spot in the playoffs. The two teams with the next best records in each conference are also given playoff berths, for a total of six teams from each conference. These are referred to as "wild card" teams.
The four division champions are seeded first through fourth in their respective conference according to their record. The two wild card teams are seeded fifth and sixth. The first round of the playoffs is known as the Wild Card Round. In this round, the fifth seed plays at home against the fourth seed, while the sixth seed travels to play the third seed. The winners of these two games advance to the Divisional Round of the playoffs.
Why do they exist?
So why do Wild Card teams exist? Because they give teams that didn't quite make it as a top seed another chance to make it to the Super Bowl. In theory, any team can win on any given day, so giving more teams a shot at playoff glory makes sense. Plus, it means more games for fans to enjoy!
NFL wildcard is great news for fans of teams who didn't quite make the cut, as it gives them another opportunity to see their team succeed.