Yes, Jim Mora, we are talking about playoffs.
The Premier Lacrosse League (PLL) Championship is this Sunday, September 19th. The sixth seeded Chaos look to redeem their 2020 championship loss to the fifth seeded Whipsnakes. This game marks the end of year three for the PLL. The PLL experienced moderate success for these three seasons, including a bubble-style shortened season in 2020; however, as year three comes to a close, the PLL must make adjustments to its formula for this success to continue. In order to make the playoffs more exciting, the PLL should switch to a five or seven game series style of playoffs.
The PLL playoffs currently host a three round, six team playoff. These playoffs feature win or go home rounds, and a two week break between each round. These breaks caused the playoffs to last for one month, about a third the length of the regular season.
The PLL should also remove the extended down time between rounds. Two week long breaks cause fans to lose interest, and makes it difficult for new fans to keep track of the league.
Lacrosse fans have waited a long time for a company like NBC to broadcast the sport. Now that they have, lacrosse fans should be treated to as much lacrosse on TV as possible. Only six games in the playoffs is disrespectful.
Upsets occur too easily with the current PLL playoff format. In four of the five games played, the underdog won. Although most people love an underdog story, most fans want to see the best teams play at the end of the year. Lacrosse is a roller coaster game filled with ups and downs. Win or go home style does not necessarily lead to the “best” team winning in each round.
A best of five or seven game series in each round of the playoffs solves these problems. More games means fewer breaks between rounds and keeps fans engaged throughout the playoffs. It also provides the chance to play games on weeknights. This fills an often boring gap in the sports world between the end of basketball and hockey and the start of the NFL.
More games also means more games on television. This rewards the diehard lacrosse fans out there who waited for years for this time to come. These fans deserve to watch an exciting, action packed month of playoff lacrosse. Even if the PLL and NBC cannot put more lacrosse on real TV, the PLL uses NBC to stream their games online. Most PLL fans already own access to the streaming service, and most games are streamed anyway.
An expanded playoff series means more games for the players, which inevitably increases the chance of injury. This means players are put at increased risk; however, lacrosse players grow up playing multiple games in one day at summer tournaments. Lacrosse players are used to playing up to six games in less than 48 hours. These professional athletes are more than capable of playing up to seven games in a two week period.
Although the PLL is young, and successful, it is time to make some changes. Adding a five or seven game series to the playoffs brings the excitement and growth the PLL promised when it first began. Despite the slight increased risk to players, a playoff series only brings
positive change to the game. It also means more lacrosse games, which is something every lacrosse fan wants.