Reporting Paul Gallant
Does the regular season matter anymore?
Think about it. Our last two Super Bowl Champions had NINE wins going into the playoffs. The NBA, a league where over half the teams make the big dance, sees teams rest their big names down the stretch for the post-season. Meanwhile, the MLB has taken even more meaning out of its 162-game death march by adding two more Wild-Card teams for 2012.
It’s even become irrelevant at the collegiate level. College hoops sees bad teams like Georgia in 2008 stink through the regular season, yet sneak into the Big Dance by winning the conference tournament. And on the college gridiron – the only place where the regular season is EVERYTHING – we are seeing a push for a four team playoff.
Let’s face it. If it’s not football, it’s tough to sit through an 82 or 162 game season. As the post-season approaches, you grow bored, anticipating the games that really matter.
It’s a shame. Because if the right changes were made to these leagues, we’d be able to see drama like we saw yesterday in the English Premiere League.
You heard what I said. When it comes to making every game matter, SOCCER has its figured out. Watch why:
Down 2-1 in stoppage time, Manchester City rallied for two goals to win 3-2. The victory helped them edge arch-rival Manchester United in the EPL standings for the league crown. If you watched the game live like myself, you couldn’t help but get caught up into the spectacular finish – even if you had no rooting interest.
Unfortunately, not a lot of us care about soccer. So how can we apply what happened yesterday to our own sports?
The NFL and college football (even with the BCS) have it correct. But here are my suggestions for improving our other favorite pastimes:
Ironically, a sport that values its own history over just about everything knew what it was doing in the past. Even more bizarre, the most dramatic ending we’ve seen in years to the regular season inspired baseball to add MORE playoff teams. Let’s be honest. Heading into each baseball season, we have a damn good idea who the league’s top ten teams are.
It’s time to jump in the Delorean and go back in time. Bye-bye Wild Card. Hello old-school pennant race. Two divisions, two winners, and one playoff series in each league. Quit trying to create drama when it came naturally last year:
Do we really need 8 teams from each conference? Let’s be honest, very often the 7 and 8 seeds are sacrificial lambs waiting to be swept. By reducing playoff teams from eight to four in each conference, you’ll see dogfights down the stretch to make the cut. No longer will teams like the Spurs and Celtics play their JV teams while waiting for the real games to start.
Fact: Turd sandwiches like Georgia in 2008 have NO business being in the NCAA tournament. Throw conference tourneys in the trash to get rid of awkward situations like that, and give your automatic bids to the teams that proved for 30+ games they belong in the Big Dance.
Agree or Disagree? Post a comment below.