HD Roundtable: Best Postseason Event?

Question: With March Madness starting to gear up, riddle us this: What postseason experience is your favorite and why? (NCAA Tournament, Bowl season, CWS, NBA playoffs, NFL playoffs, MLB playoffs, Stanley Cup playoffs, World Cup, etc.)


Ahmard Vital

Oh my. This is tough. In recent years the answer could have easily been the NBA playoffs, but LeBron James went home to Cleveland, Ohio and two-thirds of the hate has died down since making the move ti Miami. Bowl season this past year was awesome because with only four teams making it in, there was intense interest and the idea of teams getting left out made it VIP access only, which is awesome. But the answer here has to be the World Cup.

With that, at least in America, there are no sides, it's just the red, white and blue. The players on Team USA quickly become rock stars and regular and causal sports fans adjust their schedules to catch the match ups (I know I checked out a bit early for a game last go around). And like the other sports mentioned before, the tension for soccer is intensity of steroids. Every breakaway, corner kick, header and shot on goal brings us all to our feet in anticipation of the greatest elation of all, which is the sacred goal.

After the last run, goal keeper Tim Howard could run for governor for about 30 states and going into the next World Cup, interest will be even higher. Sure, Landon Donovan (who did not play in the most recent tournament) will not be there for the star power, but there are some young guys who will soon become household names. Just as I do with all Olympics, I wait patiently for those four years to pass and prepare myself for the greatest compilation of games where for just a brief moment in time, we are all unified for a common goal (no pun intended).





Gabe Brooks

My two favorite sports are college football and pro basketball, with the NFL right behind those. I still feel loyalty to the Atlanta Braves -- paternal side is from Louisiana and the Braves were the team of the South for decades, so I was raised a Braves fan -- but I readily admit that the retirement of Bobby Cox and the team's management predictability have noticeably reduced my stickball interest. I've spent countless hours watching college basketball, but my regular season-watching has waned in the last two years.

College football has the best regular season in sports.

The NFL regular season is great, too, but without a true playoff system in college football, its regular season remains the most important and compelling. The NFL playoffs are better than bowl season.

When it comes to the entirety of a postseason, my favorite is easily the NBA playoffs.

The world's greatest team-sport athletes in an always-climactic postseason format displayed on an athletic canvas that can be manipulated by incredible team-oriented effort and/or individual excellence. If you've ever been fortunate enough to sit close to the floor at an NBA game ... there are no words to describe the experience. The level of skill for athletes so huge is unmatched in the sports realm. One of my favorite examples of this: seeing Matt Bonner, a punchline for a lot of people, make 15 consecutive three-pointers in warmups. A 6-foot-10, end-of-the-bench guy knocking them down in complete ho-hum manner. Perfect example of why the people who earnestly think Kentucky could compete with the Philadelphia 76ers or New York Knicks don't really know what they're talking about. Guys like Andrea Bargnani and Tony Wroten would do horrible, unspeakable things to a college opponent.

Besides the skill and athleticism and jaw-dropping displays of human physical achievement,

the NBA's format of seven-game series for all four playoff rounds guarantees that the best teams advance to the latter stages of the tournament.

That said,

if you're strictly talking the best four-day span on the sports calendar, I've gotta go with the opening weekend of March Madness.

I much prefer the NBA playoffs to the whole NCAA tournament because the NCAA's early-round upsets often make for boring Sweet 16 and Elite 8 matchups. The NBA's aforementioned format is vastly superior, but you obviously can't have series in the NCAA tournament because of the number of teams and time constraints.

But the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament are compelling and -- the best part -- non-stop. You pretty much have basketball from about 11 a.m. to midnight that opening weekend. I'm fortunate enough to be part of a back-yard party group here in the Little D and we celebrate the NCAA tournament's opening weekend in grand fashion every year with a patio TV, smoked meats, and cold beverages.

In other words, I'm working extra hard the next eight or nine days so I can take it a tad slower for our annual celebration.

My postseason rankings

1. NBA playoffs

2. Texas high school football playoffs (the micro version of what college football playoffs could be!)

3. NFL playoffs

4. NCAA tournament

5. Bowl season (expanding to eight- or 16-team playoff would move this to the top three, maybe top two)

(NOTE: Love me some World Cup, but I view it as more of a sports event than a "postseason" in the traditional sense of the word.)





Jason Higdon

Since 1934 Augusta National Golf Club (in Augusta, Georgia) has hosted the annual Masters Tournament. I remember watching a practice round back in 93 and being blown away by the magnitude of each hole. Just reading the names, No 2 Pink Dogwood, No 5 Magnolia, No 8 Yellow Jasmine, No 13 Azalea, No 16 Redbud or No 18 Holly. Each hole seemed to play as its own separate course with its own identity. Watching the tournament on TV does not do the course justice. It’s something you must experience live and in person.

I love watching the Final Four, World Series and the Super Bowl but there is nothing like Sunday afternoon at Augusta. Watching the final few groups make their way through Amen Corner. The history behind “The Big Oak Tree,” “Eisenhower Tree,” “Ike’s Pond,” or “Rae’s Creek.” There is something magical about the course at Augusta National.





Greg Powers

My new favorite is the College Football Playoff. I thought this year’s set of games was not only a ton of fun to watch, but it was also very entertaining to not only debate who should be in the final four, but who would ultimately win it. This season it just so happened to be the No. 4 team in, Ohio State. That will build even more intrigue going forward as any of the top four teams will always have a legit chance to win the whole thing and proves that it is not how you start, it is how you finish.





William Wilkerson

There is really no wrong answer here but, for me, this has to be the NBA Playoffs.

With basketball being my favorite sport it simply doesn’t get any better watching the world’s best compete at the highest level where tension is as high as ever.

Being a life-long Spurs fan obviously has helped me appreciate the playoffs a little bit more. I’ve experienced my fair share of heartache (Manu’s stupid foul on Dirk, Derek $^%&#* Fisher, Ray *&%($)@ Allen, as well as pure elation (five championships). I wouldn’t change the way things have worked out for anything.

And it is my own personal opinion but I don’t think there is a better thrill than being at an NBA Finals game.





Chip Brown

I'm a college football junkie, so I can't get enough of the national championship game and - now - semifinal playoff games.

Covering Texas in the 2005 national title game against USC was the single, best sporting event I've ever covered live - and I've covered some pretty cool stuff, including the Patriots' last-play Super Bowl win over the Rams in New Orleans, Pete Sampras breaking the all-time majors record at Wimbledon and several Final Fours (including Texas' in 2003).

But there's nothing like the passion of college football. There are certain fans of college teams that annoy the (bleep) out of you - Ohio State football fan, Duke and UConn basketball fan, etc. But it's because those fans are SOOOO passionate about their college teams that it comes across in everything those fans say and do.

And that's what has to be preserved at every turn as college athletics takes on more and more of a business approach to things. The postseason ads by ESPN for the College Football Playoff are of FANS of teams on gameday, pumped beyond belief being asked - "Are you in?"

No doubt, this year's College Football Playoff lived up to every bit of the hype as well. There's nothing like that excitement and anticipation around a team in contention for No. 1. Texas fans lived it in 2005.





Annabel Stephan

I love the college football bowl season. I always think it's so fun to get invested in games I normally wouldn't watch and root for teams I have absolutely no ties to because of what I've chosen in my bowl pick 'em. I also think it's such a fun time to watch teams from different conferences go against each other and give their fans a reason - or reason not - to talk smack. (SEC?). As a reporter, there are few things as fun as covering these games. From a fan perspective, I also really, really love the World Cup. Soccer has become my second favorite sport after football, and honestly, there are few things more fun than cheering on our country decked out in red, white, and blue, chanting "I believe that we will win" and "USA" with total strangers. I did this over the summer in a Canadian bar in France with Americans from all over the world and it just solidified my love for the sport even more.




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