The postseason football playoff, which was introduced in 1974, has forever changed the face of the game in Illinois in dramatic fashion--for the good and for the not-so-good. Folks who have only watched high school football for the past 35 years probably aren't aware of the way it was. But old-timers are.
"The state playoffs have ruined conferences and rivalries and common opponents," said Kankakee Bishop McNamara coach Rich Zinanni, who won state championships in 1982, 1985, 1986 and 1987 and settled for seconds in 1978 and 1981.
"Nobody wants to play anybody (good) for fear of losing. It forces you to find wins on your open dates (so you will qualify for the playoff). The way the system is set is you are in if you are 6-3 but if you are 5-4 it depends on points. The reality is you don't get anything for strength of schedule."