The off-week between the AFC and NFC championship games and The Super Bowl is a disastrous scheduling error. No one denies this. The extra seven days between games allow the insidious sports media to create stories out of thin air, overhype a game that doesn’t need additional hype, and work themselves into a lather over non-events — like Antonie Cromartie’s “feud” with Matt Hasselbeck. Captivating stuff! But hey, at least now all eyes are on the Pro Bowl this weekend.
I can’t wait for Media Day next week, when reporting breaks down into three categories:
- Player X is excited for the big game!
- Player X’s hamstring is still tight, but he plans to play!
- Look at all this zany media wackiness! There are even Spanish-language reporter here!
I wish I could hibernate for the two weeks between the conference championships and the Super Bowl ever year. Imagine falling asleep as soon as the final whistle blows on that championship Sunday, belly full of beer and wings, then waking up five minutes before the Super Bowl kickoff, hungry and energized. You wouldn’t have to read, watch or listen to any of the inane build-up or worthless pre-game extravaganzas.
In honor of this fortnight of hell we all must live through, the ten worst sports scheduling errors:
8. Basketball as a Summer Olympics sport. The Summer Olympics are the glamor Olympics. They’ve got the gymnastics and the track & field events and the high ratings. They don’t need basketball. The Winter Olympics have luge and slalom. Moving basketball from summer to winter would even out the appeal of the two Olympiads. Moreover, it would provide a fun diversion in the middle of the NBA season (much as with the NHL), and allow the world’s best players to compete when they’re actually in game shape. The solution: Make basketball a Winter Olympics sport; eliminate the NBA All-Star Game that year.
7. The PGA Championship serving as the anchor of the four golf majors. The modern golf major schedule happened organically, as originally the U.S. & British Amateurs were considered part of a golf grand slam. But the PGA needs to implement a change: the PGA Championship is BY FAR the least interesting of the four current majors, and scheduling it last of the four only exacerbates the problem. The Masters, The U.S. Open and the British Open each have their unique appeal and innate sense of drama. The PGA Championship just kind of hangs there — a dull anticlimax to the golfing year. The solution: switch the timing of the PGA and the U.S. Open.
6. The long gap between the Australian Open and the French Open. Unlike golf’s majors, tennis’s majors season has no sense of rhythm. The Australian open kicks of the year in January, wets our whistle and get us excited for the coming season — then we’re left hanging for five months until the French. Then, Wimbledon gets rolling just two short weeks after the Roland Garros final. After waiting forever for the second major, there’s no time to breathe before the third. The solution: Move the Aussie open to early March and push Wimbledon back two weeks.
5. Baseball stretching the boundaries of its season. The Major League Baseball season should never start before April 1, or extend beyond September 30. And even more importantly, the World Series should never, ever last into November. The solution: This should be a simple fix, but Bud Selig is a retard and his schedulers follow his lead. Hold the World Baseball Classic earlier on the years it occurs, and eliminate early-season off-days by playing more April games in domes and warm-weather cities.
4. The Daytona 500 starting the NASCAR season. Look, I don’t give a fuck about NASCAR, but any sport that holds its premier event first in the season, well before the playoffs, is clearly run by rednecks. The solution: I dunno — fold NASCAR?
3. The interminable gap between college football’s regular season and bowl games. We all know the bowl system is archaic and uninteresting, but it’s what we’ve got for now — until logic wins out and we get a playoff system. But even within the system we have now, the six-plus-week gap between the end of conference play and the most important bowl games stands out for its inanity. The BCS games almost always end up being showcases for sloppy play and mental mistakes. Imagine this kind of break happening in any other major sport. I know, I know: it’s all about the students. That kind-hearted magnanimous NCAA! The solution: Hold the bowl games earlier, or start the season later.
2. The aforementioned off-week between the NFC and AFC championship games and the Super Bowl. The solution: Duh.
1. The NBA and NHL playoffs extending into mid-June. This is just an atrocity. People complain about the baseball season being too long, but for the most part, every baseball team plays every day. And for much of the baseball season, it’s the only professional sport in session. The NHL and NBA seasons are riddled with off-days, and that includes the playoffs. Plus, the winter sports last almost two months longer than baseball when you include the playoffs. The solution: Never schedule more than one day off between playoff games.