The League

Leonard Shapiro

Leonard Shapiro

Washington Post sports reporter, editor and columnist who has served on the NFL HOF Selection Committee.

You must be Mad


At the risk of being drummed out of the Pro Football Writers of America, I'd say March Madness definitely has captured the American public's fancy far more than the final month of the NFL regular season, particularly in those pockets of the country where your favorite NFL franchise is hopelessly out of contention for a playoff berth.

At the moment, do you think many Washingtonians give a fig over whether the Cowboys, Eagles or Giants will be among the final dozen? You think there's December Daffiness in Oakland, St. Louis, Buffalo, Cleveland, Kansas City, Tampa Bay or any of the other bottom-feeding franchises clearly out of contention? And last time I looked, I don't ever recall seeing a so-called bracketologist breaking down all the possibilities, week by week, though I suppose we'll start ruminating over potential tiebreakers to settle the final four wild card teams over the next couple of weeks.

The NCAA basketball tournament flat out dominates for a full month. Every office, in every corner of the country, has a bracket circulating, and it doesn't matter if you know the name of the point guard at Marist College or the head coach at Kentucky. It's all hoops, all the time, for a month on the sports calendar when virtually nothing else matters much. The NBA and NHL are winding down their interminable regular seasons, baseball is in spring training and pro football is still weeks away from the college draft -- the most over-hyped weekend of all, especially when you consider no one will know the true outcome until two or three years down the road.

All that being said, AFC and NFC Championship game Sunday remains one of the moist riveting days on my personal calendar, even more so than Super Bowl Sunday, which always produces two weeks of overheated hype, often followed by a dud of a game. But for a full month of small schools beating big schools, buzzer beaters and dribble penetration, give me March Madness every time.

By Leonard Shapiro  |  December 9, 2009; 9:56 AM ET  | Category:  NFL Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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