Hey, the hockey playoffs start today! And if you’re like some of the other hockey fans I see online, you’re probably sitting around right now being like DURRRR THE NHL PLAYOFFS ARE THE BEST PLAYOFFS LEBRON WOULDN’T LAST A SECOND ON THE ICE BECAUSE HE AIN’T A REAL MAN DURRRR (drops shot of maple syrup into a glass of Molson).
Let me just go ahead and throw some cold water on that stance. The NHL playoffs are NOT the best playoffs. They are fucking endless, and they are usually won by the team that suffered the least number of traumatic head injuries on the way to the Stanley Cup. Oh, you only had 726 collective concussions? HERE’S YOUR TROPHY.
So, with the NBA and NHL playoff slogs slated to begin, I thought I would take a moment to rank all the important sporting playoffs properly for you, the reader at home. Please note that major tourneys (like golf and tennis) and international competitions will not be found here, since they aren’t really playoffs. This only concerns sports that feature a grueling regular season death march followed by a remarkably unsatisfying and often wildly randomized playoff tournament result. Ready? Let’s go:
1. College Football. So new and shiny! I love it. It’s like March Madness, only if they cut out the middle weekend and just left the championship and the first weekend sports bukkake.
2. College Basketball. Everyone loves the tournament despite the fact that 2015 was a watershed year in terms of people looking at college basketball and saying, “Jesus Christ! This game’s a mess!” When they cut down the shot clock and hire referees who aren’t auditioning to play Daredevil, March Madness will ascend back to its rightful place on top of this list.
3. NFL. There are few things worse than a dud NFL playoff game because there are no other football games to change over to and then bitch about. Still, when NFL playoffs games are good, they are fucking crazy good. And the tournament is still relatively hard to get into compared to the NBA and the NHL (NOTE: this statement will be rendered untrue once the playoffs are expanded and ruined), two leagues where a playoff spot is essentially a meaningless accomplishment. The bye weeks ensure that the best teams get SOME advantage, but not so much of an advantage that upsets can’t happen in a one-and-done format.
Also, I like football better than other sports.
4. Baseball. I think diehard baseball fans are probably the people who LEAST enjoy the current playoff setup, with the stupid rule about the All Star Game deciding home field advantage in the World Series and the one-and-done wild card play-in game. But for extremely casual viewers such as myself, it’s perfect. Any team can win for any reason (or for no reason at all!), and compared to other sports, the MLB playoffs are conducted at lightning speed. God forbid any other sport stage two games of a playoff series on consecutive evenings. I genuinely enjoy the baseball playoffs, especially when the Cardinals are eliminated from them.
5. Champions League. I’m told this is very exciting, but it’s soccer, and it’s on during the workday, so I have no clue. Still probably better than the ones listed below anyway.
6. NHL. Fucking endless.
7. NBA. Somehow even more fucking endless. And I’m gonna tell you something else: You know how everyone loves the Warriors, and many people think that they’ll win it all? NOPE. Not happening. These are the NBA playoffs, which means that the fun teams always end up getting victimized by a more experienced, plodding, ghastly team like San Antonio. The seven-game format in every round essentially renders big underdog runs impossible. You have to spend eight years losing in the playoffs, paying your dues, before maybe securing your first title and becoming one of those few franchises that holds a death grip on the Larry O’Brien trophy for an extended period of time, leaving no room at all for fresh blood to come in and take the prize. The NBA playoffs should be kicked in the face.
8. Fighting off a bee and losing your stroller and then watching your babies get swept away in a canal.
9. Whatever it is NASCAR does.
Art by Sam Woolley