"Barely Making the Playoffs is the New Market Efficiency."
It was really kind of a joke, but at least one St. Louis Cardinals blogger understood what I was getting at.
In addition to last year's World Series winner, the past two Super Bowl champions qualified for the playoffs on the season's final day. In fact, this year's Giants team finished the regular season at 9-7, while last year's version missed the playoffs at 10-6, losing the wild card tiebreaker to the eventual champion Green Bay Packers.
The 2011 St. Louis Cardinals clinched the NL wild card with a game-162 victory, but were also aided by a less-than-stellar stretch run from the Atlanta Braves. Even the 2010 World Series champion San Francisco Giants only won their division by two games.
So, that's four consecutive champions in the only sports that matter—half the teams make the playoffs in those other two major sports, after all—who had to play hard right up to the last day(s) of the season.
What am I trying to say here? That there's a competitive advantage to be gained by not clinching a playoff berth early? No, not really. That to win a championship you have to be a little lucky, in addition to being good? No, that wasn't my point.
OK, maybe I am trying to say a little of both of those things. But, mainly it was just an interesting—at least to me—observation.
Anyway, stay tuned if you can't stand the suspense of waiting to find out if Brad Van Pelt made my New York Giants all-lifetime team.