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NBA Playoffs Provide Another Example of NFL's Superiority

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NBA Playoffs Provide Another Example of NFL's Superiority

As we're sitting here in between Packers OTAs and with little football news to come in the month that follows them, it's been interesting to watch what's been happening in other sports--specifically basketball and hockey as they reach the conclusions of their seasons.

Once again the NBA season comes down to the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers, the fourth time in a row the two teams have met to determine which will be the league champion.

Don't get me wrong: I fully intend to watch the series, and am sure it will be an entertaining set of games. Even after eight years in a row of him being in the NBA finals, I still love to watch LeBron play his tail off in the biggest games of the basketball year. But at this point it almost feels anticlimactic. We've seen this show four years in a row. There's seemingly little point in playing out the regular season or most of the playoffs when it's a near certainty you know who will be playing in the finals, and when there are only maybe two other teams with a shot at playing spoiler.

This has always been the biggest criticism of the NBA, and even ardent fans of the league and the sport can agree that it has and always has had a problem with being a league in which a few teams with the top superstars can dominate for years at a time with little real competition. Most of that is just the structure of the sport. With only five starters to worry about and not a very large bench, building a team is significantly easier if you have the cash and clout to pull in one of the game's megastars. In this era of superteams, the problem has become even more exacerbated.

The NFL has a lot of problems, especially at the administrative level. But one thing it has going for it is its competitiveness. Say what you will about the Patriots' long run of domination in the AFC over the last 17 years--the NFL has a lot of turnover in the playoffs, in division champs and in league champions. Just this past year, the Super Bowl champions lost their MVP contender but still went on to win their first Super Bowl in franchise history. That kind of story just doesn't happen in the NBA.

Only once in league history has a pair of NFL teams met more than twice in a row in the championship game, and that came when the league was about half its current size in the early 1950s, when the Cleveland Browns and Detroit Lions met three years in a row. 

The NBA regular season is entirely devoid of meaning. Even the NHL, which has an undeniably exciting playoffs almost every year, has a season that feels as though it stretches on far too long.

The NFL has just 16 regular season games and three weeks of single-elimination playoffs before its championship game. Every game is meaningful, and has the potential to make or break a team's season. 

This may seem like preaching to the choir on an NFL team blog, but at a time when we're getting close to the dullest part of the offseason it bears worth remembering that the long wait every spring and summer is more than worth it.

Just 57 days until training camp!

__________________________

Tim Backes is a lifelong Packer fan and a contributor to CheeseheadTV. Follow him on Twitter @timbackes for his Packer takes, random musings and Untappd beer check-ins.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (14) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

HankScorpio's picture

I haven't watched an NBA game in over a decade. But should the Cavs win 3, I may tune in to see if Damarious Randall owes over 500k people a jersey.

Naw, even that would not be enough to get me to watch that dreck.

But I can say that I have a very slight rooting interest for a change.

Bearmeat's picture

I have not watched an NBA game all year. As a matter of fact, I didn't watch one last year either. I heard that only 6 different teams have made the finals since 2012, and this is the 3rd year in a row with the same two teams. Yawn.

I did not watch one MLB game last year either. Any time you need 200 games to figure out a champion, you are just money grubbing.

I did not watch one college football game last year either. While it's more exciting than MLB or the NBA, I have an ethical problem with semi-professional athletes (who do not by and large even want to be students anyway) go to "school" so they can play a game. Oh, and they either have to cheat, or everyone around them in FCS gets rich except them.

I have not watched College Men's BBall in about 15 years. See above, and also add the asinine 1 year rule.

What is hockey, again? And I thought women's basketball folded in like 1995....

I will watch European/International Soccer, and big time golf tournaments. If I'm not busy - which is basically never at this stage of life.

I guess my point is that my time and my money are precious to me. I will "waste" them on something I care about deeply - in moderation. No other sport (and actually no other team) other than the Packers makes that cut.

Yawn. Pass.

dobber's picture

College basketball is only marginally more watchable than NBA games. The further the conferences get from the NCAA tourney, the better. Some of them actually run an offense and play some defense. In the end, what really sours me is that the vehicle that they use, the Tournament, to determine their champion is a completely different game from what they play for the four months leading up to it.

I really like college hockey. More skating, less fighting. Even my 8-year-old daughter will watch it. The NHL? They go through the motions for four months until the last 3-4 weeks of the season. Playoff hockey is better, but I've never seen such lackadaisical play--as indicated by how much the quality improves late in the season and playoffs--in a major league sport.

DonnyFL44's picture

MLB is superior to them both. 12 different titles in this century alone.

I haven't watched an NBA game since MJ retired and for the reasons you state above.

11 teams have won titles in the last 38 years and it's 10 in 37 if you exclude the one year aberration of the Mavs. The league is a joke.

I loved watching Bird, Magic, Malone, Hakeem, and MJ but this generation of stars does nothing for me and with the league having little to no surprise I never returned.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

I have a goal to see if I can avoid knowing who wins the NBA Finals until the opening day of the next NBA season.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

It seems to me that the style of play has changed in the NBA. I just don't like the style as much. I remember when centers were important. I don't think the Brewers can really be more than pretenders every few years due the economic realities of baseball. I don't watch less than the best, so I don't watch college anything.

I have complained that the NFL has decided to make QBs and passing far more important than they previously more. I don't like the drift, but I still like football a lot. I might lose interest if they make more rules encouraging passing and discouraging defense.

Qoojo's picture

NBA is the definition of SSDD. Should be some real exciting jump shots in the finals again this year. NBA has been in the toilet ever since they decided, like the NFL, that defense is bad for ratings.

Big Moe's picture

NBA, the most unwatchable sport ever.

Savage57's picture

The article and all comments, summarized:

Get off my lawn.

PatrickGB's picture

NBA, meh...

John Galt's picture

I watch PBR - Professional Bull Riders - toughest men
in sports and they don't make much money. Injuries?
Makes pro football seem like lady's badminton. Your opponent weighs 2000 lbs and wants to kill you. Truly a cool sport. No faking, no B.S. Just action.

dobber's picture

Having grown up on a dairy farm and been thrown around by my share of cattle--if only because you were a nuisance, not out of any desire to harm you--I don't know why anyone would do this.

Trading Goods's picture

The NBA is so boring that it is watched by almost a billion people around the world. That's right, more than 3 times the US population. The problem with American sports fans is that they live in their own niche. They think that the sport they enjoy most is probably enjoyed most by the rest of the world too. If you ask someone not from the US who Tom Brady is, you will most likely get a blank stare. Then ask them who Messi is, or who LeBron is. Consider this... Even Cricket is watched by 2.5 billion people. That's almost 10 times the population of the US. So just because you're a big fish in your own pond, doesn't mean that you're "superior" to the other fish in the ocean.

Qoojo's picture

Looks like someone got their feelings hurt.

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