Sports & Recreation

Which is HARDER to win Championships? NBA vs NFL

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  • May 28th, 2021 9:38 am
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Poll: Harder to Win: NBA vs NFL

  • Total votes: 27. You have voted on this poll.
Finals
 
4
15%
Super Bowl
 
23
85%
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Jan 27, 2006
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Which is HARDER to win Championships? NBA vs NFL

So Kendrick Perkins was a guess at ESPN's Get Up this morning. The question was, who will win more titles when the G.O.A.T. and LeBron James end their careers. Knowing Brady is the answer, for some reason Perkins defended (his league) NBA, how it's harder to win titles since you have to play 7 games. LOL

I couldn't stop laughing and not just because I love the NFL but I always felt IMO true champions have to give it their best that Sunday night. Clearly, the Chiefs' offensive linemen didn't. :(
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Oct 5, 2008
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Super Bowl

14 of 32 teams make the NFL playoffs

16 of 32 teams make the NBA playoffs
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NBA has results based more on skills than most other sports.

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With the NBA, only about 4 to 6 teams have a chance at winning the title every year.
Every other team is just wasting their time and they know it, so they tank for draft picks.

If you look at the two teams that make it to the NBA Finals, sometimes the result is so easy to predict. Such
as the New Jersey Nets vs the L.A. Lakers during the Lakers 3-peat. There is no way that NJ Nets team wins a 7 game series against the Lakers.
The Lakers had way more trouble against playoff teams from their own Conference than with whichever team emerges out of the Eastern Conference.

.
Last edited by XFactor11 on May 7th, 2021 5:09 am, edited 3 times in total.
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MLB might be the hardest pro sport to play because if you have one bad season at the plate
it could be the end of an MLB career. Consistently hitting a baseball that is thrown 90-100 MPH, and offspeed pitches
at a high level is harder to maintain. MLB careers tend to be a lot shorter than any other pro sports.

The SuperBowl is harder to win for Pro Sports championships because of the one loss and out playoff format.
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XFactor11 wrote: MLB might be the hardest pro sport to play because if you have one bad season at the plate
it could be the end of an MLB career. Consistently hitting a baseball that is thrown 90-100 MPH, and offspeed pitches
at a high level is harder to maintain. MLB careers tend to be a lot shorter than any other pro sports.

The SuperBowl is harder to win for Pro Sports championships because of the one loss and out playoff format.
So... doesn’t that make it easier to win?
Example... a lower ranked team can have a really good run and win the super bowl.

Where as in the NBA... its only ever the best team that wins.

So in the NBA its only ever the top 3 teams who ever really have a chance @ winning. Everyone else has an almost impossible chance of winning , therefore its “harder” to win an NBA championship.
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The single-elimination playoff format makes it harder to repeat as champions or be multiple time championship winners.
For example there is a far less chance for an underdog team like the 2002 New Jersey Nets to beat the Lakers that year in a 7-game series than in a one-off championship game.

People already knew who would win that series before it even started.

UrbanPoet wrote: So... doesn’t that make it easier to win?
Example... a lower ranked team can have a really good run and win the super bowl.

Where as in the NBA... its only ever the best team that wins.

So in the NBA its only ever the top 3 teams who ever really have a chance @ winning. Everyone else has an almost impossible chance of winning , therefore its “harder” to win an NBA championship.
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Sep 21, 2010
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I would guess there are numerous factors:
.difficulty of the game
.# of teams
.playoff format
+many more I can't think of

The 7 game format usually means there's less luck involved and more skill because they can't just fluke out a final win in most cases.

I also remember starting a thread ages ago and Yankee football was deemed most strategic. So, given all of above, I'd vote SB.
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Apr 11, 2006
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Honestly, MLB is harder than both.

Even with trash cans, you only improve your odds, but it's still difficult to win.

Teams spend whatever they can spend, and you could have the best team on paper, but a mini slump, running into a pitcher or pitching staff that happens to be dealing, out of this world, and you lose.
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XFactor11 wrote: The single-elimination playoff format makes it harder to repeat as champions or be multiple time championship winners.
For example there is a far less chance for an underdog team like the 2002 New Jersey Nets to beat the Lakers that year in a 7-game series than in a one-off championship game.

People already knew who would win that series before it even started.
But wouldnt that make it “easier” for a lower seeded team to win? Just have a good run and win it all.

I’m looking @ it from that angle.

In the NBA you have to be the absolutely best at your game to win. Its extremely rare for lower seeded teams to win. In the examples where lower seeded teams won, they were in seasons where the competition were very close.

Like the early 1994-1995 Houston Rockets. They only won it when Jordan temporarily retired.
Had a 0.573 record. However they had the championship roster from the year prior and stuff competition in the West. Like the Spur’s with a monstrous Davis Robinson.
Utah Jazz and their dynamic duo of Karl Malone and John Stockton.
Charles Barkley’s Sun’s when he was @ his prime.
Also Seattle Super Sonics had Gary Payton & Shawn Kemp.

This was an era of legends.


I guess is a matter of semantics... isn’t it harder to win something when typically the only ones who win are only the teams with the absolute best talent and coaching wise?
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NFL is way harder. Way more players to pay to be under the salary cap as well. In the NBA you can just go out and buy your championship like Steinbrenner did for all those years with the NYY. Money doesn't guarantee you that you win, but it'll get you within striking distance most of the time when you pony up for the highest talent.

NFL is much more complex when you add Offensive/Defensive/Special Teams. There is no comparison. You have to give the NFL props because they might be the only sport left that airs most of their games on FREE network TV.
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One and done leaves no room for error as others have said.
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This is a really fun question, because it's laced with ambiguity and everyone is coming at it with a bunch of not-so-obvious assumptions built in.

With the fewest assumptions possible, NFL is harder: 32 teams, 1 in 32 chance. NFL has 30 teams, so 1 in 30 chance.

Some assumptions people are making:

How hard is it for a good team to win an NFL vs. NBA championship?
In this case, the one-and-done format of the NFL is harder. It is less likely (but not impossible) for the better team to be upset in a 7 game series than in 1 game. It's why of the 3 big North American pro sports leagues, that the only perfect season was the 1972 Miami Dolphins. The NFL has the shortest season, MLB the longest. The best MLB record ever still included 36 losses.

How hard is it for a bad team to win an NFL vs. NBA championship?
The flip side is that the one-and-done format makes it easier for an underdog to get hot at the right moment (or be health when the opponent is not) and beat a better opponent.

But that assumes that we're talking about ready-made teams. Teams that you can already say are good or bad.
How much harder is it to build a championship team?
Based on roster size, NFL is harder because you need to make more (correct) personnel decisions?
Based on talent assessment, NFL is harder because there are fewer stars that you can reasonably predict how much they'll contribute to your team next season. But this is mitigated by the salary caps of each league.

Salary caps are meant to increase team parity. Team parity means having less separation between the potentially best and worst teams. What salary caps really do is place an emphasis on the influence that management decisions (maximizing the value of players and coaches within the given budget constraints) have on the outcome of a given season. Which is then influenced by how difficult (or easy) it is to make it through the playoffs after the regular season. Which takes us right back to the beginning.

But there is one interesting stat that takes into account all the ambiguities and factors involved.

11/30 (36.7% of) current NBA franchises have never won the championship. 12/32 (37.5%) current NFL franchises have never won the championship.

You would have to imagine that at some point in every franchise's history, the owners wanted to win it all. The fact that there is a greater percentage of NFL franchises that have never won the championship means that it is harder to do it in the NFL. But not by much.
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Another good comparison is the Olympics. In the Olympics it is often hard to guarantee which country wins in the most popular team sports.
The Olympic uses either a single or double elimination structure for the Gold Medal, and the losers play for Bronze.

The most talented teams do not always win because it is a one-and-done format.



Google Answers:
The lowest seeded team to ever win an NBA championship are the 6th seed Houston Rockets in 1995.
They had injuries and played poorly heading into the playoffs. The Rockets actually won back-to-back NBA Championships in 1994 and 1995 with Michael Jordan in his temporary retirement.

Lowest-seeded teams to reach NBA Finals*

Seed Team Season Result
8 New York Knicks 1998-99 Lost
6 Houston Rockets 1994-95 Win
5 Miami Heat 2019-20 Lost
4 Cleveland Cavaliers 2017-18 Lost
4 Boston Celtics 2009-10 Lost

In the NFL only 12 teams make it to the playoffs.

In 2006, the Pittsburgh Steelers became the first sixth-seeded team — the lowest possible seed in the NFL playoffs — to not only make it to, but win the Super Bowl. The Green Bay Packers accomplished the same feat in 2011, three years after the New York Giants won the Lombardi Trophy as a number five seed.
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XFactor11 wrote: Another good comparison is the Olympics. In the Olympics it is often hard to guarantee which country wins in the most popular team sports.
The Olympic uses either a single or double elimination structure for the Gold Medal, and the losers play for Bronze.
Except when you put in the "Dream Team" and all the other teams are guys who are 5'10". Guess that wasn't rigged too much, eh?
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Could be nice and fair, but nobody watches... like not letting NHL stars in the Winter Olympics. Don't think I watched a minute of that last olympics. What good is 2nd rate hockey when I could go to an OHL game that's 10km from me???

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