NJSIAA votes in favor of HS football playoff revamp

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New Jersey high school football is on the verge of a getting a makeover.

The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association on Monday voted overwhelmingly in favor of a proposal to revamp the state's football playoff structure.

The NJSIAA says that the ultimate goal of the proposal is to add an extra round of championship "bowl games" that pit sectional champions against one another. It would move the state playoffs up one week earlier and also alter the formulas used by teams to qualify for the postseason.

“It’s 100 percent a game-changer,” says Montclair High School head football coach John Fiore. "You're getting the cream of the crop and that's going to help us out.  You're not going to have a 6 and 2 team looking at a playoff system when a 3 and 5 team made it and that was one of our goals."

The Montclair Mounties were undefeated this season. Fiore lead the team to their fourth North 1, Group 5 state title last Saturday. Fiore is a member of the North Jersey Football Conference, which provided the NJSIAA advice about the proposal. He says that it is big step in ultimately getting to an ultimate state champion in each group.

New Jersey is the only state that does not conclude with true state champions.

“The constitution still says we can't play down to a state champ, which we're not,” he says. “But we're going to have 10 unbelievable bowl games for public school football."

The details of the proposal will be finalized by various football committees over the next few months with the goal of bringing a plan to the NJSIAA executive committee in April. If approved the new structure would go into effect for the 2018 football season.

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