The only playoffs that matter are in full swing! Or, maybe, have already happened. Or, possibly, have yet to happen.
The point is, there’s a lot of goddamn playoffs. And while the MLS (and, yes, MLB) playoffs are currently happening, how could we objectively know that they’re better than the many other playoff formats out there? How do we know which format reigns supreme?
I’ll tell you: A PLAYOFF. And for that, we’re going to need data. A whole lot of data. I’ll run each of the major playoffs through my patented Casual Friday Statisticalator to produce the CF OVR (Casual Friday Overall Rating of Playoff Awesomeness).
The basics: 16 teams make it in, and then proceed to battle it out in two conference brackets with each series going to the best of seven.
Strengths: Low-scoring games decided by tiny margins of skill and effort, emphasis on teamwork and collaboration, hundreds of hours of skull-snapping action.
Weaknesses: Jesus Christ that’s a lot of hockey, games can literally just keep going until a team falls over and dies, random bounces of the puck play a big factor.
CF OVR: 70
The basics: 10 teams, including four division winners and two wild-cards, play through four rounds of increasing length, from one game to five and finally to seven for the conference championships and World Series.
Strengths: Significantly better since the inclusion of wild-cards, chess-matchery between managers involving lineups and relief pitchers that no one pays attention to, reasonable progression of series length, dudes hitting balls with sticks.
Weaknesses: Games can be incredibly long, immense periods of time where literally nothing of import transpires, lack of salary cap means teams can effectively buy their way in, the Yankees.
CF OVR: 77
The basics: 16 teams, 8 from each conference, best of seven series. It’s almost as though there is some kind of template that major professional sports leagues use.
Strengths: Balls, lots of balls, blend of teamwork and highlight reel plays, Steph Curry.
Weaknesses: Diving, questionable refereeing, ridiculous foul rules, the last 10 seconds of a close game takes approximately 14 billion years.
CF OVR: 76
The basics: The best eight teams qualify and then are seeded. The first two rounds are single elimination and then they switch to best-of-five.
Strengths: One of the best playoff rivalries in recent memory between two powerhouse teams at the top of their game, playoff bracket is not conference-locked, blend of single elimination and series matches.
Weaknesses: Low viewership, general societal sexism, noticeable drop off in team performance after the top four in the league.
CF OVR: 76 x .83 = 63.08
The basics: 12 teams, 6 from each conference, compete in a single-game elimination bracket on their way to the Super Bowl.
Strengths: Advertising money, fantasy football money, licensing money, publicly funded stadium money. It’s exciting, too, I guess.
Weaknesses: Utterly incomprehensible and subjective penalties can change the game, concussions, a sport that involves 5-10 seconds of brisk activity followed by 5 minutes of standing around.
CF OVR: $$
The basics: 12 teams, six from each conference, compete. However, starting in the conference semifinals, the teams play one home and one away game and then aggregate the goals.
Strengths: Is moderately different than literally every other major American playoff league, gives teams a chance to play home and away, panenkas.
Weaknesses: Is the MLS, diving, arbitrary determinations of extra-time length.
CF OVR: 68*
NCAA Division 1 Basketball
The basics: Are you a fan of a metric fuck-ton of games and losing money in office betting pools? Well, the NCAA has you covered! 68 teams compete in single-game elimination brackets.
Strengths: 68 motherfucking teams, occasionally thrilling underdog upsets, sweat.
Weaknesses: 68 motherfucking teams, underdogs only last into the second round, games are not that long.
CF OVR: 62
Come back in a few decades when you’ve got more experience.
Other, inferior soccer leagues
These aren’t even fucking playoffs. Take your cups and your shields and shove them where the trophies don’t shine.
Did not qualify:
- NCAA Football
- NCAA Basketball
- Other, inferior soccer leagues
Tune in next time as we run our top 6 through a variety of playoff structures to determine the ULTIMATE PLAYOFF.
* I almost gave it a 69, but it didn’t earn it.