4) MLB Playoffs
Despite all the hate the MLB as a whole and the MLB playoffs get, there is something to be said for their incredible moments such as walk-off home runs. The MLB can go from boring to insanely entertaining in a second and that’s one of the reasons it’s so great to watch. Another aspect it has over the NBA and NFL is parity. 13 teams have won the championship in this century alone and no team has had a repeat since the 1998-2000 New York Yankees won three in a row.
The MLB postseason is also distinctive in the fact that it only allows 10 teams into the playoffs.
It does have one massive downside though. It has great moments but that’s just it, that’s all they are, moments. If you are not a patient person, you will hate this tournament. It can be grueling, drawn out and commercials are in abundance. Nevertheless, if you love big sports plays and are patient, the MLB can provide an awesome playoff experience. Otherwise, this is not for you.
3) NBA Playoffs
Like most sports the NBA Playoffs are fun to watch, however, there are numerous issues with the NBA’s version of the playoff tournament. First and foremost, besides the recent win of the Raptors, the NBA has almost zero parity. It is the same few teams in the Finals for years, then those empires fall and new ones take their place. Going along with that theme there are really only four teams that have a legitimate shot at a Championship every year so the majority of the league doesn’t even have a chance from the beginning.
The games themselves are hit or miss. In the earlier rounds the games can often be blowouts with certain teams dominating the others. Recently it has been a different story but you can’t just take an odd year as an all time example. Overall, the NBA is a league of dynasties and domination. Only 9 teams have won the NBA championship in this century and it was even worse in the 90’s. The NBA Playoffs can have their great points full of energy and exhilaration but unless your a fan of the current dynasty it can be very frustrating.
On a bright note the NBA’s fans bring thrill to a home playoff game and are often what makes the games worthwhile. The vigor of the crowd can be a spectacular sight to see and hear. If you want the full experience you will have to go to a game in person.
Additionally, the NBA has many more great moments than the MLB does, including big slam dunks, plenty of long 3s and even some last second shots.
Long story short, even though the NBA is popular and can be exciting, out of the top-4, the NBA is only better than baseball. The quality of this tournament just doesn’t compare with the top two.
2) NFL Playoffs
The NFL is an amazingly different league than most. It is unique in the fact that every playoff round is only one game per team, it is not a series. This brings out the most clutch plays and players, more than any other sport on this list. This also brings about quite a bit of tension as every single play and drive counts for something important. Ultimately the tournament culminates at the Super Bowl, the biggest stage in North American sports. There is no room for mistakes at that point. It is often a good, well fought game.
As a whole, the NFL has a very good and distinctive playoff system and that is what makes it engaging.
Be that as it may, the great strength of the NFL playoffs is its weakness too. Because there is only one game per team every round, there is a lot less action to be seen and the games are only spread out on two days of the week.
Minus that and the recent lack of parity with the New England Patriots, these playoffs are very well designed and can be quite competitive.
One last thing to pay attention to is that as a byproduct of having so few games, injuries and all other facets of the whole system are amplified. In other words, injuries that do happen are a bigger blow to the team along with every other part of play.
One dilemma the MLB and especially the NBA have is that in both of them, there are usually only a few star players that do most of the damage to opposing teams. The NFL is more of a team sport for sure but still has this problem, still much less so than the previous two.
There is one playoff tournament in North America that doesn’t have this difficulty though. In fact, if you don’t have depth, it is almost impossible to win it all.
1) NHL Playoffs
No sport’s postseason has more energy, no sport come playoff time has more excitement, no sport does it better. /hands down the best playoff tournament in North America is the NHL playoffs.
If there was ever a time for you to take a closer look at hockey, it’s playoff time. Easily the biggest reason I love the sport, along with many others, is because of playoff hockey. One of the greatest contrasts between the other playoffs and the NHL playoffs is the pace of the game. If you enjoy constant tension, speed and drama you will love this tournament. It is unmatched in those categories by any other of the 4 major leagues. You will always be on the edge of your seat watching the skaters fly across the ice and if you even look away for a second you could miss something huge.
The physicality is just another part of the culture. Huge hits and fights are commonplace for the NHL. This is only fueled by the reality that many times, division rivals play each other during this crucial period.
With line brawls and high speed collisions, there is no sport more intense after the regular season.
Not to mention, everyone has a chance in playoff hockey. It doesn’t matter whether you are the 1st seed or 16th, you can win it all. The Blues went from dead last to winning the Stanley Cup in the same year. In 2019 all 1st seeds lost to wild card teams. Now that isn’t typical and 1st seeds win more often than not but no matter who you are, there is always a real chance to win, regardless of who you are playing. This goes along the same lines of parity that the MLB has, except the NHL has even more. As a result the postseason can be utter chaos and very entertaining.
Another iconic NHL quality is all the unsung heroes. The little guys that come out of nowhere and make the difference. Guys like Matt Murray and Cam Ward come to mind. They are all over the place and the full team needs to do its part, not just a few star players.
Series quality is also better than that of the MLB and NBA so where you might have lots of low game series or blowout game sevens in the MLB or NBA, in the NHL you often have long series with multiple OT games and tight game sevens.
The only reason not to like the NHL’s version of this final tournament is if you hate hockey and even then, you can certainly respect it.