NFL
(Image Credit: NFL/Instagram)

The NFL Is Superior To The NBA In Almost Every Way Imaginable

I’ll start off by saying that I’m a legitimate fan of both the NFL and the NBA. In fact, I play basketball myself and not football. Yet, when comparing the two giants of the American sporting world, I really don’t think there is much of a conversation to be had on which league is superior. The NFL beats the NBA in pretty much every single category. Plain and simple.

To start, the sheer difference in viewership is jaw-dropping. The 2021 NBA Finals averaged about 10 million viewers, while the 2021 Super Bowl had more than nine times that many viewers with about 96 million. This isn’t just me cherry-picking statistics from one game though, it’s a trend we’ve seen for quite a while now, and the reason behind it is pretty straightforward. The NFL is far more entertaining due to a variety of reasons.

The number of games is the obvious starting point. A 16 (now 17) game season effectively allows for each game to be crucial and have legitimate value, no matter how bad your team is. This means that people don’t want to miss a single game and makes every single Sunday feel like a holiday. The NFL Sunday is the perfect getaway from reality where you can relax and watch grown men that are athletic freaks of nature try to hurt one another for a few hours with padded helmets on to boot.

The 82 game NBA season has the opposite feeling. The drawn out regular season ends up resulting in random singular games feeling far less valuable. In turn, most fans don’t end up turning the television on a Wednesday night to watch a regular season game. Now, it isn’t even just the fans. The players don’t care about the regular season half the time either. As a high-school basketball player where every breathing second the emphasis is on defense, it hurts to watch NBA teams defensively in the regular season. Not to mention, with superstars sitting games out in recent times, sparking the never-ending “load management” movement, it’s apparent that the NBA regular season is officially a formality.

Next, when looking at the playoffs of the two leagues, the NFL is the perfect example of how to do it the right way, while the NBA is pretty much the opposite. One-off games are what make the NFL playoffs so exciting, and the idea that any team can upset anyone clearly appeals to fans strongly. It’s the same reason why March Madness is so beloved by fans everywhere. Also, the NFL looked at their playoff system and realized maybe another team should be added in both conferences by considering how competitive the race for the wild card spots always are, and the change worked to perfection.

The NBA needs some major changes to their long, drawn-out, best of seven games system for the playoffs if they want to attract more viewership. No one wants to see the best team in the league beat an average team 4 times consecutively. In fact, even once or twice is more than enough. Now, the play-in tournament was a step in the right direction because what it added was something the NBA has been lacking for quite some time now: Parity.

That leads me right into my next point that with the NBA allowing the formation of super teams, the enjoyment of many fans is lessened significantly. Fans of average or below-average teams know they have no hope of even competing come playoff time, so they should not bother watching the regular season. Generally, all fans also know the championship can only be realistically won by a handful of teams which results in a lack of competitive parity.

The NFL, although it has a fair share of bad teams (hey, Detroit), still has a far more wide range of teams that can be successful. Going into this season, I could easily name 10 legitimate Super Bowl contenders. Try giving me teams that could win next year’s NBA championship besides the Lakers, Nets, Bucks, and maybe a couple of other Western Conference teams. You can’t. For every NFL season, the door is wide-open for a variety of teams to come out and win a Super Bowl, ensuring a very high level of parity in the league resulting in great interest from fans.

Lastly, the NFL has the trump card that enough people don’t talk about: fantasy football. Before you go, “Hey, fantasy basketball exists,” I’ll tell you this. Yes, it exists, but that’s about all it does. It doesn’t have anywhere near the amount of players or media coverage that fantasy football does and sure doesn’t help promote the NBA much. Fantasy football gives fans motivation to watch a random Thursday Night Football game or any Sunday afternoon game where their team isn’t even playing. That, I truly believe, is one of the biggest x-factors between the NFL and the NBA. Fantasy football gets people so excited and so engrossed in the NFL season that it’s arguably the biggest advantage the NFL has over every other American sports league.

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