Yeah, I said it.
First of all, football – namely the NFL – is far and away my favorite sport. I also think – like most Americans – that the NFL is the greatest league on the planet (sorry European soccer fans).
Having said that, the NFL playoffs does not have the intensity the NHL playoffs do. I mean, a best-of-seven series in EVERY ROUND where it is not uncommon for a top seed to lose a series? And most of those series go the distance. You cannot get any more intense than that.
Look, I am not trying to masquerade as a huge hockey buff. Hell, I wouldn’t begin to preview any of the first-round series (though I will keep an eye on the Penguins-Flyers and Capitals-Bruins series). But I know an intense, slug-it-out tournament when I see one.
And I can honestly say that the Stanley Cup is arguably the only trophy that cannot be bought. Last I checked, high-payroll teams such as the now local Washington Capitals have not fared well in the playoffs. Hell, other high-payroll teams such as the Toronto Maple Leafs have not made the playoffs in more than three seasons!
Look, the NCAA men’s basketball tournament is great with it’s “one and done” format – but it’s not as compelling to me as in recent years. The NBA playoffs, while great in its own right, last too damn long because its first-round series is a month long.
I’d rank the NFL playoffs right up there with the NHL’s. The only thing that puts the NHL over the top is its best-of-seven grueling, intense series where ANYTHING can happen. Home-ice does not carry as much weight as home-field and home-court does in the NFL and NBA respectively.
NHL playoffs: it’s truly FAN-tastic.