A season in professional sports is played with the intention of winning a championship. That’s basic sport, ain’t it? You play a regular season with the hope of making it to the proverbial second-season: The playoffs. To make it to the post-season, to contend during the marathon of the regular season, is an accomplishment unto itself, and to go further is the dream.
In the NFL with its short 16 game season, only 12 of the league’s 32 teams make it to the playoffs. In Major League Baseball, after the grueling 162 game season, only eight of the league’s 30 teams make it to the second-season. The NBA and NHL are both 82-game regular season leagues, they’re also passing 16 teams to the playoffs each season. The key difference is the NHL has 31 teams (and soon to be 32) while the NBA has 30.
The NFL and MLB formats make the playoffs a divine achievement by itself. The NBA and NHL have an open format to contention… And there’s talk in the NHL about expanding the contender option.
I cringe at the notion. Continue reading