Wednesday, November 17, 2010

"You Can't Have Exciting and Fair"

FROM: Dave Mann
TO: Czabe

Interesting (to me and precious few others) add to the final Chase race Sunday. NASCAR is wetting itself giddy that there is a 3 horse race within 46 points for the title. I don't blame them. Although....46 points is like.....12 spots on the track. And the odds of Harvick beating Hamlin by that much and JJ by nearly that much? Slim at best. It's mostly a two horse race. always I track who would be winning the title under standard scoring and luckily this year Harv made it easy. He would. Simple. He had a huge lead going in (that gets erased) and he's still right there. So Harv is your defacto "shoulda been" Champ for this year. Congrats to him.
That's the "fair" way to do it. THe "exciting way" is the Chase which will likely see JJ win #5 in a row or Hamlin get his first. Exciting? Yes. But quite by accident. This is the first chase in the format's existence that is at all exciting or interesting. So it's a false positive if you ask me. Thats why I want JJ to win so that changing the system is still the mood of the higher ups in NC. A great race Sunday or a Hamlin title might be the worst could easily make NASCAR over confident and then go another 10 years of boring after this. It's just random.
I'm on record as advocating single elimination like every other playoffs. Cruel, sudden, but exciting every week. The lower 9 drivers are eliminated anyway by this point....why not make it gutwrenching to see who goes home every week by finishing the worst of the remaining Chasers? My system? 12 Chasers...10 weeks. Worst Chase finisher each week is eliminated.
Attached find what would have happened in a single elimination format. Points are thrown out for you'd have 3 drivers TIED for the finisher wins at Miami this weekend. And those three guys would be? Harvick (fair), Edwards (what?) and Kenseth (atta boy). Would having Matt or Carl win the title when Ford has sucked all year and they've only won one race between them be fair? NO!! But Fair doesn't live here. Fair is Harvick. We've established that. Playoffs aren't about fair. * Credit to the 48....they've won an astonishing number of Chase races over the years. They are an amazing team with a killer instinct. He is deserving of what he has won. No question. But it's been a ratings nightmare. So with all due respect to's important I frame the argument around what is the most exciting television.
Would JJ having gotten bumped in week 1 of the Chase be good for ratings? Yes.. Hell yes. It would get racing talked about above the fold for sure which is important. It'd be the 16 over 1 seed upset shocker. Good for ratings I think. Folks can handle #1 seeds getting bumped in football. Its what makes the playoffs so amazing.
And right now racing has its coveted three driver finale. "Hey,how 'bout that?" But my system? Guarantees that EVERY year...and adds brutal disappointment of sending a guy home each week. Can't have exciting and fair. No such thing. Either go back to fair and concede the ratings for the final 10 weeks to the NFL. OR....ensure the excitement and sacrifice a little fair.
Come on got the NHL to go shirts and skins for the All-Star game. Let's make this happen.


1 comment:

  1. Interesting idea, but the problems I see with single elimination week-by-week are:
    1) One single NASCAR race can be rather fickle. Two good examples are equipment failure, or another driver out of the running hell bent on taking you out. And some weeks, your car just doesn't "have it" for a particular style of race track.
    2) A lot of things that knock a driver down in the standings in a given week are no fault of the driver (getting caught up in someone else's unavoidable accident, or, again, some hell bent driver taking you out).

    I don't think diehard followers of a particular NASCAR driver are going to enjoy seeing their favorite driver go up in smoke in September, possibly through no fault of his own.

    Other interesting points from the chart:
    1) Kenseth would be one of the final three, and I thought his racing style is what caused the Chase to be created in the first place: consistently high finishes, but few wins.
    2) The chart also shows that the proposed three drivers still in the running for this weekend would be 29, 99 and 17, and none of them have won a race down the stretch in the Chase. Again, that sounds like rewarding the "Kenseth model" of driving consistently instead of rewarding those who WIN a race.

    Anyway, to have your whole season go out the window in one race is no way to decide the champion, unless of course, it is the very last week, which is what we are getting this weekend. And be sure, people will be trying to WIN this week, or at least stay ahead of the other two, so it should be very exciting.

    (nefarious lacrosse pundit, hell if I know why I am commenting on NASCAR)