Yesterday (OK, Thursday) marked the opening weekend for the National Football League. As you may have gleaned from our website name, we don’t talk about football, yet it very much is the nation’s pastime (suck it baseball). Hoops heads may disagree, however, as the popularity of basketball, and the NBA, continues to soar on a global scale.
In that case, the only reasonable thing to do in this case is to definitively answer the question: which league is better?
I have devised a series of completely scientific questions to determine the answer. Just to be clear—by scientific I mean entirely subjective.
The NBA plays a robust 82 game regular season, followed by four playoff rounds of best of seven series. The NFL plays 17 regular-season games (increased from 16 this season) followed by four rounds of single-elimination playoffs. I enjoy that the NFL plays one game a week because it feels like an event every time. Except if your team is playing the Texans this year.
NBA teams still end up playing back-to-backs or cramming five games into nine days. The benefit of that is that you can tune into some solid hoops pretty much any night of the week. Hot take: both seasons are too long. Still, I am swayed by the fact that the NBA season doesn’t seem to matter nearly as much. Players just take games off to rest and nothing is more indicative of the level of importance than just choosing to sit.
Better Age-Defying Champion
Tom Brady honestly looks just as good this year at 44 as he did ten years ago. And I mean that on and off the field. I gotta get me some endangered sea turtle blood to bathe in. He’s played in 10 Super Bowls, winning seven of them. No one has ever matched that level of success for that length of time in the NFL. He was throwing darts even on deep balls this past week.
LeBron James will be playing in his 19th NBA season when the 2021-22 campaign begins. He has been to 10 NBA finals and won 4 of them. That’s not the longest career or the most titles, but when you factor in just how dominant he’s been, it’s arguably the most impressive resume. In his 18th season, he was a leading MVP candidate before suffering an injury. He is no worse than the second-best player of all time. I am convinced he plugs himself into the wall at night like a Tesla.
More Fun Off-the-Court/Field News to follow
The NFL offseason is interesting, sure. This summer had some fun headlines and even some player movement (Matthew Stafford could be good on the Rams!). However, the NBA’s offseason is encapsulated in a Kawhi Leonard Diary level of intrigue. To track the number of signings and trades, I would need two cork boards and a ball of red yarn. NBA players have become fashion icons based on outfits they wear to games. The stars are more visible simply due to the fact that they don’t wear helmets during their games. I could not recognize most of the NFL superstars, while I could at least pick the 9th man on the Cavs out of a lineup.
Worse Pet Peeve on TV Broadcasts
I hate that the NBC broadcasts for the NFL change the color of the field for the third-down marker. I also find it kind of funny that we have never figured out how to show everything that is happening on the field during a play.
I do not appreciate the superimposed shot clock on the top of the key during NBA telecasts. It’s already on the score graphic in the corner. Nor the TV timeouts stretching the games even longer.
It’s just all about cluttering up the screen for both of them. I do believe we can do better.
Winner: No one wins
Better Championship Experience
The Super Bowl is one of the most-watched events every year. It’s a one-game, winner-takes-all contest. Hard to top that. People who don’t like football still tune in sometimes. It is a cultural touchstone.
The NBA finals are not as popular, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have a chance in this battle. The fact that it is a series of games means that teams can make adjustments. The drama of that is truly exhilarating for real fans. Plus, you just get to enjoy more game time!
I can frame it anyway I want, but nothing tops The Big Game.
More Effective at Inspiring Me To Go Play
Growing up, I would finish watching a game and immediately feel hyped up to head outside to ball. That went for both sports. It was much easier to go outside and shoot some hoops after watching some basketball since I was fortunate enough to have a hoop in my driveway. If I wanted to get in some run, I could head to the local park where there was pretty much always a game going.
It was a bit more challenging to get out there with the pigskin. I did have just enough friends to be able to play some three-on-three football at the water tower field on weeks that one of us wasn’t hurt from a tackle the week before. Still, I was dependent on their availability.
Even now, I still want to get some shots up after watching a Celtics game. I have even fewer friends now who want to play football after a Patriots game so that’s tough.
Least Most-Annoying Rule
I find the ability for an offensive player in the NBA to trick the referee into calling a foul infuriating. They grab opposing arms and flail their own to manipulate the refs. My opinion is that if you can’t beat the guy with no ref there, then you can’t beat the guy.
For the NFL, it’s a similar deal with the pass interference rules. There is always hand fighting on every pass and you have to slow it down with a replay to determine who grabbed whose arm first. As Saints fans can attest, getting it right can matter.
Still, I find the NFL version far less annoying as it is less about subterfuge and more about battling in a contact sport.
Better Fantasy Game
I play both fantasy football and fantasy basketball. They’re quite different experiences. For the NBA, you have to pay attention to games practically every night of the week and update your roster constantly. The NFL is—as I said in the schedule section—once a week. While you have to keep an eye on injuries and such, the team crafting is a little less frantic. Am I biased because I was 12 out of 12 teams in my NBA league last year? No! I got some solid keepers!
Better Team Names
Lakers, Celtics, and Knicks. What do those three have in common? They are three of the most storied franchises in the NBA. Their logos, colors, and players are iconic. We also take those team names for granted. When I stop and think about it, they’re a ship specific to the Great Lakes, a culture/people, and a pair of pants.
The only equivalently weird names in the NFL are the Bills and the Packers and the latter is at least geographically appropriate. The NFL has a lot of solid team names highlighted by some solid animals like Falcon, Panthers, Bears, Seahawks, Rams, etc. The NFL also has the most unique name at the moment by having a team just called the Football Team. It’s a terrible name, but an improvement over a terribly racist name.
I’m not suggesting that the NBA doesn’t have their fair share of good team names. The Spurs, Bulls, Suns, Trail Blazers, and Hornets all have something to say about that. The NBA loses the case when I examine how many team names there are that aimed for clever and instead fell flat, like the Heat, Magic, and Wizards.
In conclusion, the NBA is clearly the better league.
What? The NFL won more categories?
You think I wrote that sentence before actually doing the comparison? Huh. Well, it’s my article. I like the NBA more. That’s why I don’t write for musicmoviesandfootball.com. Watching an NBA game is a two-hour commitment. The in-stadium experience is more fun. When there isn’t a global pandemic (get vaccinated, please), I still play some rec league ball, thus I can identify with the NBA in some microscopic part. I guess those types of affinities defy categorization. I also may or may not have gotten smoked in NFL fantasy yesterday. All that being said, I stick by my call that I prefer the NBA.
Did I miss a category? Leave a comment or hit us up on social media. Have a great day!