Friday, January 04, 2008

Can a team be too good?

Why do I ask? Because the Red Wings and Pistons have made their regular seasons irrelevant.

As both teams currently stand, and will likely remain, there is absolutely no drama to their regular seasons. None whatsoever. The playoffs are a done deal. A dead, solid lock. The only question left is their playoff seeding. Even that is somewhat moot, as home court/ice, for at least the first couple of rounds, is all but assured.

Save for the occasional "big" game, such as tomorrow's battle of the eastern conference titans, Pistons vs. Celtics, there has been very little excitement regarding their achievments. The Red Wings and Pistons are machines, chewing up and spitting out the opposition, leaving destruction in their wake.

I love that they are great teams. I cannot wait for the playoffs! But...

You knew there was a "but" coming, didn't you?

The regular season has become a snore.

I know I shouldn't feel this way, as watching a team perform at the peak of their abilities is special. Seeing them blow out overmatched opponents, night in, night out, isn't. To be honest, it's boring.

It's not the fault of the Red Wings or Pistons. You can't blame them for their lousy schedules, especially in regard to the Wings. But you can blame the opposition. Such as the Milwaukee Bucks, who mailed in an embarrassing performance at the Palace on New Years Eve.

It was all that is bad about the NBA. The Bucks were a team that knew they weren't going to compete, didn't want to be there, and gave up well before the end of the game. They waved the white flag before halftime. You could almost say the the Bucks threw the game.

If one of the teams playing couldn't give two shits, why should the fans?

You all know the drill regarding the NBA and NHL. There's too many games, too many teams, too much travel involved, the season is too long, all leading to a regular season that doesn't mean squat.

Then the organizations wonder why there are empty seats in their buildings. Let's do the match for them.

Detroit's economy in the shitter + Games that don't mean dick + opposing teams not willing or able to compete + NFL + total and absolute dominance = Fans staying home till the playoffs start.

Fans will turn out for games than MEAN something. They'll be stoked for matchups that are guaranteed to be competitive and entertaining. On the flip side, asking fans to be fired up for tonight's meaningless Pistons - Raptors game? Or the Red Wings taking on the Blackhawks next week, for what seems to be the 15th time? Getting fired up isn't going to happen.

I'll tune the games in, because I'm a fan. But don't expect me to stay glued to the tube when the Detroiters are blowing out another lesser opponent. And don't expect a more casual fan to even watch.

The playoffs can't start soon enough...


  1. Big Al,

    I agree with your thoughts on the Wings for sure. There is no question they should be comended for being as dominant as they've been but it's tough to get invested when the NHL playoffs are a "roll of the dice." I hate to admit it but the fan-sentiment seems to have gone the way of the Atlanta Braves in the mid-90s. Obviously, winning a Cup will change everything. Until they do though, I think people are going to be less and less interested to the point of indifference.

    I can certainly understand your thoughts on the Pistons, too. However, watching the bench is a joy. Those guys are so good and the fact that they are all still developing--including Jarvis Hayes--makes their progress meaningful. The Pistons can't beat Boston or San Antonio in the playoffs unless those guys continue to improve. So, I guess I'm a little more intrigued by the Pistons right now than you are.

    Take care!

  2. Don't know or care much about the Pistons... until the playoffs, but that's partly because I don't much care for hoops.

    But hockey was, back when we were whippersnappers, one of my sports. The problem now, at least in part, is that we can actually state- with all sincerity- that the Wings will be in the playoffs. Even if they tanked in the second half. Why? Because the entire frigging league makes the playoffs.

    You play 80 games in the regular season to eliminate about 4 teams from the playoffs. And then have another season that lasts almost as long as the regular one. That gets a big WTF? from me.