So often we are given an idea or a rule and we just accept it, rather than question the hand giving it to us.
“Tradition” or “that’s the way it’s always been” is the worst reasoning for anything in life.
Old doesn’t mean good. Sorry, Baby Boomers, who jam “classic” rock music down our throats, but it’s true.
In sports, the traditional excuses are used way too often.
Faulty playoff systems are put in place with undeserving teams winning championships and we simply accept it because that’s the way it is. Rules, which simply don’t make sense, are enforced and we carry on and say, “What can you do?”
Well, you can question these rules and wonder if the outcome of a season is justified rather than just accept it.
My first question is: Did the New England Patriots deserve to defeat the Baltimore Ravens?
In the AFC Championship, there were 30 seconds remaining in the game and the Ravens were down by three. Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco found wide receiver Lee Evans in the end zone for what appeared to be a touchdown catch.
Evans caught the ball, got one foot down and appeared to get his second down just as Patriots cornerback Sterling Moore came from behind and knocked the ball loose.
Whether Evans’ second foot got down before Moore jarred the ball loose is not the question. The question is why does someone running toward the end zone just have to break the goal line with the ball, but a receiver needs to catch the ball, get two feet in and “make a football move” to declare a play a catch in the end zone?
Evans had the ball in the middle of the end zone far past the goal line. How much time does a defender have in the end zone to make a play? If a running back reaches with the ball toward the end zone, breaks the goal line and the ball gets swatted out of his hands, it’s still a touchdown, so why does a receiver have to “make a football move” in order for a catch to be a touchdown?
This doesn’t take away from the heads-up play by Moore, but it does call into question the NFL rule. Unfortunately, these rules are only questioned when they may have cost a team.
And, perhaps, I’m just mad that we now have a Super Bowl between two fan bases that feel the rest of the world starts and stops on everything its teams do thanks to Eastern Seaboard Programming Network (ESPN).
So ESPN is going to talk about New York and a Boston-area team over and over again? Must be a rerun.
My second sports-related question: With Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder now in the American League, does the National League deserve a World Series representative?
Quick. Name five star hitters in the National League. Not that easy, right?
For far too long, the National League has been allowing mediocre to bad teams to enter the playoffs in MLB.
And seeing as a team just has to go 11-8 in the faulty MLB playoff system, we end up with champions such as the 83-win St. Louis Cardinals in 2006, the Philadelphia Phillies, who had Cole Hamels, Brett Meyers and Jamie Moyer as their No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 starters in 2008, the 2010 San Francisco Giants, who had Aubrey Huff as their best hitter, and last season’s St. Louis Cardinals of whom I bet you can’t name five players outside of Albert Pujols.
These teams are not champions. They aren’t even close. In most cases, every American League team in the playoffs was better than the NL team that made the World Series and in some cases, the World Series champions don’t even deserve to be in the playoffs. Once you make the World Series, you just need to win four games out of seven versus an AL team that just had to play the best teams in baseball and you’re dubbed world champs.
Talent changing hands is usually cyclical, but this is getting outrageous, especially with Pujols and Fielder changing leagues and the reigning NL MVP possibly being suspended for 50 games. The difference between the leagues just went from not even close to not the same sport.
Since 2005, the AL has a 979-785 record in interleague play. 2012 may not be the end of the world, but it looks like it could be the end of relevance in the National League. And, yet, it still gets a representative in the World Series and, thanks to an idiotic rule, perhaps even home field advantage in it.
The best way to do things would be one giant league where the top eight teams make the playoffs, but that would take away division rivalries, which means ticket prices couldn’t be raised for those games.
With the added wildcard team possibly happening this season, we could see a team under .500 headed to the playoffs in the NL. A 12-8 record over three weeks later and you have yourselves another undeserving champion.
And that’s just the way it is, but that doesn’t mean it’s right.