On Tuesday's show, we were discussing the way our sports crown their champions every year. The discussion started with Dan talking about how nice it is that the NBA generally has form hold in high seeds beating lower seeds. More than in other sports, it seems like the NBA Finals generally has heavyweights squaring off, rather than odd Cinderella stories like the NHL, MLB, and even occasionally the NFL.
I agree with his premise, but as a fan of many sports through-out the world, I have grown to desire a landscape where the history books show worthy champions every year. I just don't like a system where chance is a greater indicator than skill for determining who gets the trophy at the end of the year.
Is this a horrible view? John think so:
Love you and the show, but I gotta take exception to a topic from the past few days.
Most recently, your talk about "quality" in the playoffs is just all wrong. Do you really want to see only the Red Sox or the Yankees in the World Series every year? I don't. The regular season is important, but the playoffs is when it's on the line and good teams shine. That's what the Marlins did, they put it together when they had to and played great baseball. Why diminish that effort, even if they didn't sustain it for years? The Yankees are "quality" because they can buy anyone they want, but I don't think that makes them any more deserving than any other team. They get enough kudos and rings, just like the Red Wings. Don't diminish the 7th and 8th seed teams just because they have risen above the challenges placed before them.
One of the many John's in Plano
Let me be clear: I don't want to see the Red Sox and the Yankees winning the title every year...unless they are the best team.
My desire is that we provide a top-level challenge to our team's in each sport every year. And we have that - it is called the regular season. In baseball, we have a 162 game regular season. It takes 6 months and requires every imaginable aspect of a baseball organization to win a title. Then, the playoffs start, and if you are a wildcard team taking on a 1-seed, all you need to do is win 3 games out of 5 to take down their 6 months of hard work. Winning 3 out of 5 games is not a test of skill. It is a test of chance compared to the 6 month test that was just completed.
I understand that money is the root of all evil, and the playoffs make huge amounts of money. But it is not the most righteous way to find a champion. I suppose that is what makes us really admire the 1990's Chicago Bulls - they could win the regular season and then also win the playoffs. They could pass any test.
But, I just don't like how in the United States, we have cheapened the entire concept of the regular season to a point where none of us are really sure why we have 82 basketball or hockey games before April.
Despite the fact that many of you will recoil, I would request you consider how most countries in the world determine their soccer champion. Very simple. There are 20 teams in the league. So, the season consists of everyone playing the other 19 teams both home and away - (38 total games). At the end of the 38 matches, we add up the point totals and there is your champion with the most points. It is a totally and completely fair schedule. It is a regular season where every single game means something.
And where are the playoffs to determine the champion of the league? There are none.
And you know something? Never, in the history of the English Premiership, has there ever been a less-than-great champion. It is impossible. It is impossible to limp through the season, make the playoffs, and "get hot". The 2007 NY Giants would not have a chance. The 2010 Boston Celtics, neither. Nor, the 2003 Florida Marlins.
You might be wondering why we would get rid of the intense, amazing, and dramatic action that constitutes our playoffs? You wouldn't be getting rid of them. You would be moving intensity to the regular season. Yes, we would once again have meaningful seasons.
So, meaningful seasons? Check
No more games when they charge you silly amounts of money and then go through the motions? Check
A proper champion? Check
Will it ever happen? Of course not.
Nor will the awesomeness of relegation.
But, a boy can dream.