American sports and their endless playoffs / by kevin murray

America, proves virtually every day that it is a country that is all about maximizing profit and revenue, of which, this is seen quite obviously in the sporting world, in which despite having a regular season, which in the scheme of things, should actually decide who the best team is over the course of that regular season, this is really just the preliminary means towards deciding who the champion is, which is accomplished via the postseason.  That is to say, in any of the top four American sports, whatever team has the best regular season record, ultimately represents a whole lot of nothing, for the champion is not decided upon the team with the best regular season record, though, one ignorant of these rules, might question as to what the regular season is actually for, but instead is decided via a postseason playoff format.


It would be one thing if the postseason really just had the best teams that have proven themselves over the course of a long season, but instead, the major American sports, make it their point to occasionally let in even teams what have winning records of less than .500, because when a sport decides that sixteen of the thirty teams are worthy of being in the postseason, inevitably that will occur from time-to-time. 


Compounding that error, is the stupidity of having four team divisions, in which the fewer the teams in any division, the greater the chance that the division winner will have a sub-adequate record, so that the results of the regular season are compromised by the unworthiness of certain division winners.


While the executives of these major league sports indicate that everything that they do, is really because the fans demand it, especially, in order to make late season games more interesting, or in order to allow Cinderella teams to progress deeply within the playoffs, the reality of it is that the more teams that are in the postseason and the more games and rounds that are played in the postseason the less relevant the results of the regular season are, except in the qualifying for the postseason.


The truth of why there are so many playoff teams and why the rounds of the playoffs are often so long, really comes down to revenue, money, and profits, of which, for the owners of these sports franchises, this is what it is all about.  The fact that the postseason is more about making money then having the best teams play exclusively against the best is a reflection that money means more than the integrity of the sporting competition, itself.


In modern times playoffs have gotten much longer along with having more qualifying teams, and it doesn't seem that the ownership has the gumption to ever reduce such, especially since the money is too good to walk away from.  This seems to indicate that the regular season for all intents and purposes is becoming more akin to just a warm-up to the postseason, in which, there isn't any point in a given player giving their all, till the games really count, and therein lays the crux of the matter.