ARTICLE OF THE DAY

Change the Channel
by Dan Eberhard
5/5/05

The playoffs are the most spectacular time of any sports season, and if you’re a general sports fan, it doesn’t matter who’s playing: you are probably going to watch.  But, the one exception in my book is the NBA Playoffs.

The first round games are about as exciting as an old Matlock rerun.  How can you be interested in watching legit playoff teams like the Heat go out and dominate a Nets team that scrambled just to finish the season two games over .500?

To top it off, the league has expanded the first round to a best-of-seven series.  It seemed so much easier when the pretenders were eliminated in a best-of-five series, and we could move on with our lives.

Here’s an idea.  Get rid of the first round altogether.  Instead of letting half of the league in the playoffs, actually make it mean something to get there.  Shorten the NBA season, and the regular season games will be a little more meaningful.  Who knows? Maybe teams will start playing defense.  At the end of the year, take the top four in both conferences, and play the games out. 

The NBA Playoffs are obviously on the bottom of my list as far as postseason excitement is concerned; here’s a look at a few other sporting events that are worth watching.

NFL Playoffs-  16 regular-season games to grind it out, and then it comes down to four weekends in January.  The NFL Playoffs have the perfect number of teams.  You actually have to be decent to make the postseason, which makes the games more interesting.  60,000 fans tailgating and then showing up to the game with their shirts off in sub-freezing temperatures, sums up the importance of a playoff game.

MLB Postseason-  Our national pastime.  What’s more American than the World Series (except when the Blue Jays make it)?  The divisional playoffs rival the excitement of the NBA, but once you get to the league championship series, it’s on.  Hidden behind 300 million dollars worth of player salaries was one of the greatest postseasons in MLB history, in 2004.  Even if you don’t like baseball, you had to appreciate the Red Sox-Yankees series.

NHL-  N/A

College Football-  oops.  Wait a minute.  This could without a doubt be at the top of the list if the NCAA would just tell the BCS to go to $%#@.  Instead, the Laptop Computer Bowl warms us up for an anti-climatic ending most years.

NCAA Tournament-  Hands down, the cream of the crop.  64 or 65 teams (depending on if you count the play-in game) cut down to one national champion in three weeks.  Every game has drama, thanks to the single-elimination format.  Every night in March, college kids are jumping through bonfires celebrating upset wins and buzzer beaters.

Dan Eberhard