What I love about the NFL is its one game a week and every game matters. You can say that about baseball and hockey, but do the games really matter? Not to the fans in my opinion.
It’s April and we’ve gotten through our first month of baseball, but who cares. Hockey is in their playoff season and now everyone’s watching intently. Fans are wearing the jersey of their favorite player and talking about it at work with their buddies. Where was all this during the season? Hockey comes in very quietly with a preseason and then a bland season opener. Unless you’re a diehard fan, you really don’t care what happens during the 82 game season. Nobody cares about the injury report or who’s suspended for child abuse (wait that’s the NFL). It’s not open to the casual fan until playoff time and then if your team or whatever team you’re routing for that year isn’t playing who cares.
The same goes for baseball. Everyone gets excited about opening day. We go to the game, get our hot dogs and beer (beers for some of us) and life is great. That is until you remember there are still 161 games left. I love baseball, but seriously, WTF. With that many games in the regular season, its way too easy to forget about the sport. I don’t realize baseball exists after opening day until the All-Star break or if my wife wants to go to a game, which is rare. It’s quickly forgotten again because there are 74 more games remaining in the season after the All-Star game. The Hunt for October begins in September and fans start to slowly engage with their teams and hope they make a run for the championship, unless your team sucks and you’ve already checked out and transitioned into football. Part of the issue is the absence of drama during the regular season. The Cubs finally win the series after 108 years and it was great for the league and I’m sure that brought viewership up during the playoffs, but we just don’t have that kind of year to year sports drama like there is in the NFL.
Now that we’re on the topic of football why can’t the MLB and NHL have a similar schedule with the appropriate amount of games like the NFL? The MLB season is 31 weeks long. Why not play a game a week every Saturday for 31 weeks and then continue into the playoffs as usual? Play division opponents 3 times each and 3 games each against another division on a yearly rotation and the final game can be a fans vote or something. The same can be said about the NHL and its 27 weeks long season. Have a game a week, play division opponents 2 times each and fill the remainder of the season with none conference games. I think it could work and would make both leagues more interesting and each game more meaningful to the sport and to the casual fan.
In conclusion, I never miss a Pats game. If they played 82 games it wouldn’t bother me to miss some of them and it would lose some of the games excitement. I wonder what a shortened schedule would bring to the MLB and NHL, packed stadiums, primetime television spots, etc. Lastly, all I’m saying is, it’s boring up until it’s not and then it’s gone.
(I haven’t watched basketball since Michael Jordan left the game, but you can make an argument for the NBA as well)