The Jeffersonian: Politicks, Sports, and Culture

Saturday, December 31, 2005

Two Sports Things For The End Of The Year

One, it's a shame and a travesty that Tim Duncan is ranked third out of all Western Conference forwards in NBA All-Star voting. Tracy McGrady, he who has played only 19 of 27 games and leads a 10-17 team, is comfortably in first while Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan are only separated by a few thousand votes. There's no reason guys like McGrady or Vince Carter should ever be All-Star starters. There's just no reason. Why the fan vote isn't mixed in with, say, the votes of conference GMs or sportswriters is beyond me.

Two, Kansas City Chiefs President Carl Peterson has started up a discussion with his proposal to move the NFL playoffs from a 12-team format to a 14-team format (only the number 1 seed gets a bye in each conference, #2 plays #7, #3 plays #6, and #4 plays #5 in the first-round). I like this idea. Bill Simmons likes it because it means more games to gamble on, but John Clayton doesn't like it right now because of something as trivial as the distribution of quality NFL quarterbacks. Like that couldn't change on a dime.

Then again, nearly every major sports league needs some massive playoff reformation nowadays. In large part because there are too many divisions. In both the NFL and the NBA a team could conceivably have the 2nd or 3rd best record in their conference but because they happen to play in the same division as that conference's juggernaut they're relegated to the 4th or 5th seed in the playoffs, assuring them of a tougher than should be expected first-round match up and nearly killing their chances of homecourt advantage in the 2nd round. Now division titles should count for something, but they shouldn't completely dictate your playoff lot. Both leagues need to take a page out of the NHL handbook and reshuffle the playoff bracket based on the regular-season win total of those who advance into the second round.