In order to protect the shield, we must prevent the horror that has enveloped the NFL's postseason and damaged the brand: mediocre teams getting to the NFL brand's crown jewel, the Super Bowl. Fortunately, there is already a solution to the plague of 9-7 teams -- mostly the New York Giants -- defacing the shield with their mediocrity. The shield: it must be defended.*
*Adult men actually use this phrase seriously. They exist, and are real.
That solution is obvious: a NFL bowl system. No more will your team have to endure the travesty of a 13-3 season ruined because your kicker cannot make a simple 30-yard field goal, or because your franchise quarterback picked the worst day imaginable to throw four interceptions to a hapless 7-9 team's secondary. The regular season, a marginally important series of play-in games now, will carry real significance. The postseason, now more arbitrary and frustrating than ever, will spark debate and anger for decades to come.