September 30, 2020

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle:

A place to discuss the sports stories that aren't making news, share links that aren't quite front-page material, and diagram plays on your hand. Remember to count to five Mississippi before commenting in anger.

posted by huddle to general at 06:00 AM - 8 comments

Sunday's Tennessee/Pittsburgh game officially postponed due to positive Coronavirus tests

posted by NoMich at 11:46 AM on September 30, 2020

For want of anything better to watch on TV, I am looking at Reds vs Braves, and I have learned a curious fact. This is only the second time that the 2 clubs have met in the postseason. Considering that each club dates back to the 19th century, and postseason play to 1903, this is rather interesting. As I write this, the reason hits me like a 100 mph fastball. Of course they would not have met. They were in the same league, thus there was no opportunity for postseason play until 1969. Still, that's over 50 years, and the infrequency is noteworthy.

posted by Howard_T at 12:47 PM on September 30, 2020

And...the Braves were the first NL West champs when MLB went to divisional play in 1969.

The very next year, the Reds took the West crown. That's when the Reds started getting really good and the Braves started getting worse.

It was nuts having Atlanta in the West, but that sort of thing happened a lot. The Falcons were in the old NFL and NFC West. So were the Saints. While Dallas was in the East. Go figure.

The Bucs were in the NFC North with the Bears and Packers. WTF. The Panthers were in the West when they first began league play. And on and on it goes.

The upshot is that the NFC West did not consist entirely of teams from the actual West until 2016. If Dallas had been put there where they belong way back when instead of the Saints or Falcons, the Cowboys wouldn't have benefited from all the years of top level media exposure playing the Giants, Eagles and Washingtons. Dallas would likely not be the most highly valued franchise in the league today.

Barring a one game tie breaker play-in, the Braves and Reds couldn't have played in the postseason until they got broken out into different divisions in 1994.

Well, almost. They could have played each other in 1981 under a few scenarios and the Reds came close to qualifying for the postseason, but the Braves were going nowhere.

And one more thing, about the NL expansion...please, Mr. President, will you let me finish?

posted by beaverboard at 03:29 PM on September 30, 2020

The NFC East had big media markets and strong teams. The Cowboys derived some of their popularity from the conference and some from being really good for a long time. They had the highest all-time regular season winning percentage as of the end of last season, which is amazing considering they haven't been good enough to reach a Super Bowl in 25 years.

Put the Cowboys in another conference and they might have won even more games.

To me the biggest disadvantage of being in the West instead of the East would have been all those Pacific time zone games. It's not as TV friendly and Dallas got a lot of love from television.

posted by rcade at 04:31 PM on September 30, 2020

Put the Cowboys in another conference and they might have won even more games

Giants and Eagles have had a few decent years recently but aside from that the Cowboys have the benefit of playing in what is a creampuff conference. In the NFC West their record would be much worse, I doubt the North or South would be an easier road either.

Some 30 years ago all of the East teams were strong and always produced a contender. Now it usually a matter of which team benefits from another's late season loss to make the playoffs and then bow out in the first round.

AFC would be entirely different. I can see them making many more appearances had they bin in the East, West, or South.

posted by cixelsyd at 11:37 PM on September 30, 2020

Somwhat related or not...

  • In 2008, New York lost the MLS Cup to Columbus after winning the Western Conference Final after finishing the regular season 5th in the Eastern Conference.
  • In 2009, Real Salt Lake won the MLS Cup after winning the Eastern Conference Final after finishing the regular season 5th in the Western Conference.
  • In 2010, Colorado won the MLS Cup after winning the Eastern Conference Final after finishing the regular season 5th in the Western Conference.
Until 2012 for the playoffs, MLS would take the top few teams from a conference and then fill the rest of the bracket with wild cards. More than once during this time I remember having to explain this oddity to a new fan of the league. Especially in 2009 and 2010 as Colorado and RSL were the two teams that would regularly show up on our regional sports channels.

posted by prof at 10:49 AM on October 01, 2020

American leagues just do it wrong. They should all adopt the global football model, including promotion and relegation and changing the playoffs to a cup competition.

posted by billsaysthis at 12:39 PM on October 01, 2020

Reading the above, assignments to divisions and postseason placements often make no sense. The ultimate in postseason assignment oddities must be the NCAA basketball and ice hockey tournaments. When a team from the Northeast winds up playing in Arizona instead of New York, and a team from the Midwest plays in Boston rather than in St. Louis, it's easy to wonder why. I understand that there is competitive balance to be considered, but often there's really no balance at all.

posted by Howard_T at 02:35 PM on October 01, 2020

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