Change needs to happen in the NBA, NFL and NHL playoffs

Guaranteeing a team home-field or home-ice in the playoffs isn’t truly an advantage anymore. Photo: Aaron Rodgers, left, Matt Flynn and Graham Harrell sit on the bench during the third quarter AP

CHICAGO, May 31, 2012 — As unfortunate as it is, professional basketball, football and hockey teams tend to hold back a little as the regular season concludes because frankly, unless you’re right on the border of being a playoff team, there’s nothing left to play for.

Why play for a better seed if you just slam into a young, hot team like this year’s New York Giants or Los Angeles Kings? Is it really an advantage to be playing on your own ground if you’re guaranteed to run into one of these unstoppable forces in the very first round? Teams have always rested their players at the end of the year to have them better physically prepared for the postseason, and these stupidly hot, lowly-seeded teams only add incentive to do just that.

Therein lays the problem for us fans. Miami Heat season ticket-holders absolutely don’t want to go to a regular season game in late April to see the Feeble Five starting and the Big Three sitting on their butts though perfectly healthy. The regular season is supposed to wind down a few days before the playoffs, yet most teams start resting their grizzled veterans a month in advance in preparation for a lengthy postseason run.

Not that this is strategically flawed, but come on, fans go to see Wade to James half-court alley-oops, not watch Eddy Curry shoot eight times. That’s hideous.

Lucky for the common folk however, the solution is at hand!

The seeding system is fine the way it is, but instead of guaranteeing that an eighth seed play a first seed in a first round, why not let the first seed pick who to play? Let the half of the teams with the highest seedings select their opponents in order of their record.

All of the sudden, good teams have a reason to suit up their stars at the end of the year, and the Green Bay Packers and Vancouver Canucks have a prayer of making some sort of playoff run and building some steam before trying to break through brick walls.

Now this system isn’t without its flaws, leaving the teams with lower seeds less to play for, but honestly, who cares? They’re the lower seeded, and therefore the worse teams. Everyone would rather see the NBA’s fifth through eighth seeds taking it easy than its top four.

The playoffs are the time of every year for which teams spend their entire offseason preparing and their entire regular season fighting. It’s already a great spectacle as it is, but as with all facets of sports, there is room for improvement, and allowing the highest seeded teams of each round to select their opponents would greatly increase fairness in games that are trending to lack it.

To contact Nick Goralka, see above to send him an e-mail containing a question, comment, or scathing insult. His work appears in Alley-oops for Touchdowns! and That Liberal Pinko in the Communities at the Washington Times Online.

Top Photo: Green Bay Packers quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers, left, Matt Flynn and Graham Harrell sit on the bench during the third quarter of an NFL preseason football game against the Indianapolis Colts in Indianapolis, Friday, Aug. 26, 2011. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

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Nicholas Goralka

Nick Goralka is a sports enthusiast with eclectic interests. In addition to cheering on and suffering along with his Chicago teams, Nick is a competitively-ranked tennis player, enjoys debating real versus imaginary numbers in mathematical functions, and is a trumpet soloist in his Jazz ensemble which has performed throughout Chicago and for Mayor Rahm Emmanuel and Vice President Joe Biden at a recent charity fundraiser.  

Nick is still in high school, steadily working his way through his Statistics class, and learning more and more every day about analyzing the sports that he loves.

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