This time of year is championship season for a few of the major sports leagues. Why a game played on ice has it’s finals in the summer I’ll never know, but I thought it would be a good idea to give you fabulous readers a quick rundown of all the major (and a few minor) championships in professional sports so you can discuss (if you really want to) with the rest of them. Also, I can’t take credit for these images but I can take credit for finding what I thought to be the best ones from Google. Enjoy:
National Football League – Playoffs start with the top 4 teams from each conference, the winners of each division within the conference being the teams that advance to the playoffs. Conferences are called the American and National Football Conferences. There are thus 8 divisions which we just don’t need to name, it’s too early in this post to bore ya. 2 wildcard teams from each side make it as well. These teams are the ones with the 2 best records in each conference that didn’t win their own division. The games work as single elimination, you lose once and your season is over. Championship Game is called the Super Bowl. The trophy is named the Vince Lombardi Trophy, named after famous Green Bay Packers coach whose name I can’t remember. I gest, his name was in fact Vince Lombardi. Also if you’re ever looking for a good sports quote for some random reason, google search his name. And add the word quote.
Yours truly’s Pittsburgh Steelers football team have the most Super Bowl wins with 6, the Dallas Cowboys and the San Francisco 49ers are second with 5 a piece. (Can you guess where their team names came from, can ya?) The Super Bowl is usually played in a southern, warmer state although this year will be played in a northern state, New Jersey, for the first time since it was played in Minnesota in 1992.
National Basketball Association – Playoffs start with 8 teams making the cut from both the Eastern and Western Conferences. The 1 seed plays the 8 seed, 2 plays the 7, and so forth. Each series is a best of 7 with the winner advancing to the next round and the loser advancing right back to their couch to watch the rest of the playoffs unfold on TNT. First round is the Conference Quarterfinals, then Conference Semifinals, Conference Finals and championship called the NBA Finals, the championship game itself is whatever one leads to one team winning 4 games of the series.
The Boston Celtics have won the championshp the most all-time with 17, including 8 in a row from 1959-1966. Key peeps to know: Larry Bird, Bill Russell, Red Auerbach. The Los Angeles Lakers have the second most all time with 16. Key people here: Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabar, Shaq (yes, the same guy from the Kazaam movie), Kobe. Fun fact: The 1971-1972 Lakers hold the NBA record for longest winning streak, a whopping 33 games. The Bulls of Chicago are second with 6, after their dominance in the 1990’s thanks to some guy named Michael Jordan and some other guys with crazy hair and crazy tattoos. (I hope that came off as sarcasm, if you know me or have read any of my other posts it should have, but just in case it didn’t…it was drenched with it) Key peeps: MJ, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Phil Jackson. Trophy was named the Larry O’Brien Trophy in 1977, after a former commissioner of the league.
National Hockey League – Playoffs resemble that of the NBA Playoffs, 8 teams from both the again Eastern and Western Conferences make the cut. And again, the 1 seed plays the 8, 2 plays the 7, 6 plays the 5 (just kidding, I repeat just kidding. The 6 seed would never play the 5 seed in the first round, this is not how it works.) There are again the Conference Quarterfinals, Conference Semis, Conference Finals, and then the holy grail championship, the 7-game Stanley Cup Finals series. Championship game again being whatever one that leads to the 4th win by either of the two teams in the finals. That 4th game winner wins what may be the most famous trophy in all of sports, the Stanley Cup, named after Lord Stanley of Preston, who first awarded the trophy to Canada’s top amateur hockey team in 1893. It became the NHL’s ultimate prize in 1947. Each player on the winning team has his name etched into the trophy and on top of that, gets to spend an entire day with the cup. And after all that it’s been through, let’s just say it wouldn’t be safe to each your morning oatmeal out of that thing. Another fun fact, one of the 4 major trophies that doesn’t get remade every year. Also, there is a keeper of the cup who wears shiny white gloves and travels with it errwhere.
Extra hardware to be aware of: Prince of Wales (Eastern Conference) and Clarence S. Campbell (Western Conference) trophies. These are awarded to the winner of each conference (the team that makes it all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals. It is common that when teams win this, they do not touch it. It’s the 35-pound trophy with the bowl on the top (Stanley Cup) that they really want.
Major League Baseball – Probably one of the weirdest playoff sequences in sports but for those tight pants those ballplayers wear, we’ll take it. The top team across all 3 divisions in both the American and National Leagues make the playoffs. As well as 2 wild card teams from each side (top 2 teams with best records). These wild card teams play eachother in a 1 game matchup, the winner continuing on to make the next round of the playoff bracket. There are 2 division series, best of 5-games for this one, on each side, with the winners playing each other in a best-of-7 League Championship Series. Winner of this wins “the pennant,” as it’s called. The MLB Championship series is called the World Series, also dubbed the Fall Classic (another best of 7 series), which doesn’t make a lot of sense because almost all the teams in the league are from the United States, but whatever. Winner wins “The Commissioner’s Trophy,” which I’m sure has to be the least creative name on this page. Maybe after a 162 game regular season, the league didn’t have enough energy to take come up with something else…who knows.
The storied New York Yankees have the most World Series appearances all time with 40 and the most wins with 27. Must be something with those pinstripes. Next up is the St. Louis Cardinals with 11 wins. (Insert something witty about birds here)
A few randos to know about:
The Masters – Unless Tiger Woods is cheating on his wife or going through a slump but still making millions upon millions of dollars, a lot of folks don’t care all that much about golf. Even for me, give me mini golf and a creepy looking clown that laughs at you anytime. Unless I can drive the golf cart, then I’m totally down for a day gettin tan at the golf course. Anyways, The Masters is one of the 4 major championships in professional golf and probably the most famous. Played in Augusta, Georgia, Jack Nicklaus has the most green jackets (awarded to the winner) of all time with 6 fancy schmanzy sports coats. The event consists of 4 “rounds” of golf, so a new 18-hole round each day from Thursday to Sunday, the final day always being the second Sunday in April except for some random exception back in 1979. After 2 days of play (36 holes), a cut score is calculated and cuts are made to narrow down the playing field.
The Championships, Wimbledon (Or for us less prestigious folks, just plain Wimbledon) – The oldest of the tennis tournaments, played in London, England and comes with days of strawberry and cream dishes, or whatever it is they show on the t.v. screen, looks good though I have to say. Wimbledon is played on a grass court, other major tournaments have courts of clay and more like a concrete/cement type of material (it’s a good thing there is no contact in tennis, am I right?) The fellas win a trophy, the ladies win what looks like a really expensive serving dish.
Welp, I hope you are now the “champion” of sports championship knowledge (see what I did there, clever right? especially for it being early on Sunday morning when I think the rest of the city, or at least my roommate, is still sleeping)
Have any questions, did I get my facts straight? Lemme know!