The Most World Series Victories: No One Tops The Yankees

There are many teams that build a strong team for a few years, but few teams have had the utter dominance over a sport for any amount of time as the New York Yankees have in baseball. If you’re trying to find out who played in the most World Series, and who has the most World Series Victories, the answer is the Yankees. It isn’t even close.

Although the Yankees wouldn’t appear in any of the first 20 World Series, they bought a pitcher named Babe Ruth from the Boston Red Sox after the 1919 and the rest was history. Yankees Stadium is often referred to as “The House That Ruth Built.” Behind the bat of one of the greatest power hitters in history, the Yankees made the World Series for the first time in 1921. They would go on to make three World Series in a row. They would be defeated by the Giants in their first two appearances, not winning their first title until 1923.

A Dynasty Unlike Any Others

From 1920-1964, a period of 45 seasons, the Yankees defined a level of dominance that will probably never be matched in baseball again. They played in 29 of 45 World Series and won a remarkable 20 of them. This was an amazing run that hit its fiercest apex between 1947 and 1964. During this period, the Yankees made it into 15 of 18 World Series and won 10 of those 15. During their most dominant period, The Yankees won the Series five years in a row. Then the Yankees won four years in a row during that time. Only two other times has a team won 3 in a row, with one of those being the 1998 to 2000 Yankees.

The Pure Numbers

The New York Yankees have played in 40 World Series, by far and away the most (twice as much as the 2nd place Giants at 20). They have also won the most by far with 27 wins, well over double that of the Cardinals who come in second at 11 wins. Even if the number two teams in both categories hit an unparalleled level of success, it would take decades for them to catch up.

In Conclusion

Dynasties come and go, but it’s hard to argue with the sheer dominance that the Yankees showed for many decades, replacing a roster full of future Hall of Famers with more players who would then themselves have Hall of Fame careers. The Yankees have a dynasty like no other in baseball. With the reloading o their current roster with home run hitters like Giancarlo Stanton, Gary Sanchez, and Judge, it looks like the Yankees are poised for many more victory parades through New York City.

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What Determines The Top WRs In Football History?

When it comes to ranking wide receivers, there is a lot of criteria to consider. Some might be more inclined to rank the flashy wide receivers with the spectacular catchers and some might appreciate the excellence in route running and good hands. Below, we will be going over some of the things that determine the top WRs in football history.

What Determines The Top WRs In Football History?

1. Stats

The main thing that people look at when it comes to ranking wide receivers would have to be stats. This is where receivers like Jerry Rice have excelled. However, unlike some of the other receivers that are arguably the greatest, Jerry Rice was able to win Super Bowls and even Super Bowl MVP awards. Jerry Rice is the clear favorite when it comes to ranking top WRs because he was arguably the greatest NFL player of all time. Once you get past Jerry Rice and his historic numbers, you have a less clear view of the next best WR. However, Randy Moss’ sheer athleticism and stats stand out which would have to put him at number 2. The remaining WR rankings would depend if you were to look at per season stats or longevity as a primary factor. During his career, Calvin Johnson put up some of the biggest seasons ever by a WR and a guy like Larry Fitzgerald has had the longevity and consistency that most WRs dream of.

2. Longevity

As noted above, longevity has to be a factor when it comes to ranking WRs. After all, there have been a lot of dominant WRs to enter the NFL only to lose their effectiveness once their athleticism diminishes slightly. Those that can continue to dominate the game in different ways either with their route running, line domination, or football IQ – are the real special receivers. Having longevity is key when it comes to ranking the top WRs of all time since the position itself inherently relies a lot on speed and athleticism which doesn’t last an entire career. The rate of injury for NFL WRs is high, this also plays a factor in their longevity.

3. Football IQ

Football IQ and things like route running are other factors that have to be considered when you are ranking the top WRs in the game. Some WRs outsmart defensive backs instead of relying solely on athleticism.

Overall, ranking the top WRs can be tough because of the different criteria that can be used for the ranking. However, one ranking is indisputable which is Jerry Rice being the greatest WR to ever play football.

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This March Madness Could Be Historic!

Now that March Madness has been officially reduced to its iconic Final Four, let’s let the smoke clear and see exactly what happened over the course of the past two weeks. Out of each of the four regions in which the original 64 teams to make ‘the dance’ are organized, number 1 seeds Villanova University Wildcats and University of Kansas Jayhawks prevailed in the East and Midwest respectively, while the number 3 seed University of Michigan Wolverines survived the West region’s bracket. And that’s about where the normal and unexpected comes to an end.

For those of you that don’t follow March Madness or tournament format sports in general, bracket prediction is the general basis under which people gamble for the NCAA tournament, essentially predicting the winners of each of the games based on a number of variables, not the least of which includes seeding – ranking within the bracket itself. To have a general balance of competition throughout the upper echelons of the tournament, lower seeded teams face off against higher seeded teams in the early rounds – and thus are usually removed from contention almost immediately due to the higher caliber teams that earned the higher seeds. Sometimes the way it plays out is higher seeded teams coast through the early rounds to get to the Sweet 16 and the Elite 8, ultimately working toward the Final Four and the national championship itself. Take Villanova for example. They started the tournament as the number 1 seed in their region against the number 16 seeded Radford University Highlanders (in case you’ve never heard of them, they’re in Virginia), beating them handily. Three games later, the competition got a little more stiff as they went through the number 9 seed Alabama Crimson Tide, the number 5 seed West Virginia Mountaineers, and the number 3 seed Texas Tech Red Raiders. Kansas followed a similar path, as did Michigan.

And sometimes you have what many begrudgingly refer to as a “bracket buster.” That one team that, despite all odds against them, ruins most of the fun for gamblers by throwing a huge wrench in the works and beats the teams that it’s expected to lose against in the early rounds.

Queue the Loyola University of Chicago Ramblers out of Chicago, Illinois. While they began the tournament nearer the middle of the pack than some, they were still a number 11 seed in their region facing off against the number 5 seed Miami University Hurricane…whom they beat, 64-62. And while this may not have turned as many heads as the number 16 University of Maryland Baltimore County upset over number 1 Virginia in the first round, the historic run of UMBC was cut down only a game later while Loyola persevered against number 3 Tennessee, then against number 7 Nevada and finally against number 9 Kansas State – winning its first three games by a combined total of 4 points before comfortably clearing the Elite 8 by a score of 78-62.

Now Loyola is primed to face number 3 Michigan in the Final Four round to see who gets to punch a ticket to the national championship.

So what does this all mean? What is the point I’m trying to make by praising this Cinderella story that may or may not turn back into a pumpkin when the clock strikes midnight? Historically speaking, no team that was seeded lower than 8 has ever won the NCAA men’s basketball national championship. The lowest seeded team to accomplish that feat was the Southeast’s number 8 seeded 1985 Villanova Wildcats who defeated the East region’s number 1 seeded Georgetown Hoyas. Strangely enough, that same Villanova team struggled through its first three games, winning them only by a combined 9 points, before defeating the number 2 North Carolina Tar Heels by 12 in the Elite 8.

Coincidence? Probably. But Loyola has gotten this far, haven’t they? Time to see if the glass slipper fits.

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Shaun White Makes History That Could Be Erased

For some reason this year I’ve been heavily invested in the Winter Olympics. In 2016, I didn’t even watch a single event in the Summer Olympics, yet here I am two years later ignoring my regularly scheduled television to watch Alpine Skiing. But because I have been so obsessed, I was able to see Shaun White earn his history third gold medal in the men’s snowboarding halfpipe.

It was an absolute nail-biter. During White’s first run he performed several tricks earning him a pretty solid score of 94 points. However, Japanese snowboarder Ayumu Hirano during the second run of the course beat White’s score with a 95. During White’s second he fell, meaning that going into the third run of the event, Shaun White had to have a flawless run. He was in charge of his own destiny. I held my breath and he did his third one. It looked perfect to me but what do I know? When the scores came in – he got a 97 and earned his third gold medal.

However, rather than celebrating this milestone in White’s career, the sexual misconduct allegation filed against him in 2016 is now being brought to light putting his Olympic medical in jeopardy. White is being accused by the drummer of his former rock band Bad Things, Lena Zawaideh. She has claimed the Olympian had “repeatedly sexually harassed her and forced his authoritarian management style on her for over seven years.” The sexual harassment, that Zawaideh claims to have occurred constituted sending sexually explicit images, forcing the watching of sexually disturbed video (including scat porn), and making verbal remarks.

And during today’s political climate you have two lines of thought regarding these sexual misconduct accusations. In light of the #MeToo movement, many are wondering why these allegations were not looked into the Olympic committee and how he could have possibly been able to play on the Olympic team in Pyeongchang. However, you also have those who accuse Zawaideh of seeking her 15 minutes of fame against the sports celebrity.

My only response to this is goddamnit Shaun White. Everyone is considered innocent until proven guilty however the way our media works in our country, everyone is guilty until proven innocent. This lawsuit that was filed in 2016 settled out of court. We will never know what Shaun agreed to or not in the settlement. However, when he was asked about the allegations after his gold-winning Olympic run, Shaun responded to an ABC News reporter “Honestly, I’m here to talk about the Olympics, not gossip and stuff.”

Now, A.J. Perez, the lawyer for Zawaideh is saying that Shaun breached the contract and has minized the problem of sexual harassment that is happening within our country. He is also calling for the United States to do their due diligence and do a proper investigation.

Shaun White plans on competing in the skateboarding program at the 2020 Summer Olympics and defending his snowboarding gold medal at the 2022 Winter Olympics. If he cannot get this behind him, and in the past, then he might lose his hero status with the country.

 

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The Science of Sports

When I was a kid growing up, I was a big football fan. Huge. Whenever my favorite football team, the Kansas City Chiefs, played on national television, I was sure to watch the game from kickoff to the postgame show: even going so far as postponing homework that was due the next day. And I was what some might call a diehard fan. I would scream at the top of my lungs after my team won a big division rivalry, and I would even throw temper tantrums in the midst of a playoff loss.

As I grew older, my temperament changed so I didn’t get upset over losses or absolutely ecstatic over wins. Not to say that wins or losses didn’t affect me anymore; I still felt somewhat dejected after a loss and I still felt a small sense of pride and uplifting after a big win, as if I were actually a member of the team. And like anyone else who follows sports at all, I’m well aware that some fans my age still get highly invested in their team’s successes and failures. I went to college in Massachusetts when the Red Sox beat the Yankees in the 2004 American League Championship series and became the first and only team in Major League Baseball history to win a 7-game series after losing the first three. I didn’t dare leave my dorm room that night for all the rioting that was to follow.

But, what is it that sparks this strong connection, this unbelievable degree of empathy, for a sports team or even a sport in general? What triggers this notion of vicarious experience that draws thousands of people to stadiums all over the world and inspire reactions as deep and impacting as rioting in the streets – sometimes over a win, no less – where others might calmly sit at home and say, “It’s just a game”?

The truth is that the answers will vary greatly depending upon whom you ask. Some people are in it to support the home team for whatever incentive, be it the local economy or just a reason to get out of the house. Others, like myself, just take to a team for inexplicable reasons after being introduced to the sport and ride the wave of success or failure for years to come. Some join the bandwagon of teams or individuals at times when they perform well (we tend to call them “frontrunners”). And then there are even some who just like the colors of the uniforms.

Science has attempted to explain this in various ways, sometimes by describing what some have called “mirror” neurons that trigger our empathy for particular parties (in this case, the athletes we watch), some cite basic physiological functions such as the release of certain hormones – most famously, testosterone – and others inquire as to the psychological impact or even the external stimuli: forgetting your real-life troubles for just a few hours at a time as most forms of entertainment are said to do or perhaps because you’re a gambler as well as a sports fan.

The point is that, as sports fans, we have a plethora of reasons for following sports and particular sports teams. And while sports journalism attempts to tie up the storylines of fans into nice, neat, little bundles, the truth is far greater than an exposé might ever reveal. The simple truth is that we all come from somewhere, we all have a background. Some of us are born into a family of sports fans, growing up with our baby bibs and one-piece pajamas plastered with the logo of mom and dad’s favorite sports teams. Some of us discover them on our own and naturally get caught up in the throes of fandom. And some of us really have no rhyme or reason to it whatsoever. Perhaps we just enjoy the game. Perhaps we just enjoy being a part of something bigger than ourselves. Perhaps we just like flashy colors.

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Will Tom Brady Ever Age?

Even though he is in his 40s, and is by far the oldest player in the NFL, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is showing no signs of slowing down.

After winning his 5th Super Bowl in a truly heroic fashion, Brady has once again taken the league by storm in 2017. A clear frontrunner for the NFL MVP 11 weeks into the season, Brady is flexing muscles that usually deteriorate at his age.

The thing about Brady is that he is not only a great talent, he keeps his body in tip-top shape with his exhaustive diet and exercise regimen. His body is by no means in the shape of a 40+ year old man who spent his whole life getting tackled for a living.

While Brady is a champion in every meaning of the word, he owes a lot of his success to head coach Bill Belichick. The two have been a simply dominant combination in the NFL over the last 18 years, failing to make the playoffs just once (and that was because Brady was injured in the first game of the season).

The Patriots have enough faith in his body holding up that they decided to trade both of their backup quarterbacks this season, leaving them with little to no backup plan in the event Brady gets injured.

Because of his dedication to his craft in the later stages of his career, Brady is nothing short of a true champion in every sense of the word. Brady spends all of his time trying to make himself better and to help his team win, and it has shown on the field at every level

Championship Subdivision News is dedicated to showing the true champions of every sport, and Tom Brady is the exact kind of champion that we love to display day in and day out. The Patriots are well on their way to another long playoff run this year and in the years to come, thanks to Brady’s champion mindset and preparation.

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Biggest Comebacks in Super Bowl History

Professional American football has been in existence since 1920, nearly 100 years ago, when the formation of the APFA (American Professional Football Association) came to be in Canton, Ohio, later known as the National Football League. The Super Bowl – the championship game of the NFL – significantly shorter. The very first Super Bowl was played as a result of the later formation of the AFL (American Football League). Due to a national competition over bringing players into the league, the NFL and AFL were in contention with each other since the advent of the AFL in 1960. Eventually, the two leagues challenged each other in what the late Lamar Hunt, founder of the AFL and owner of the Dallas Texans/Kansas City Chiefs, would jokingly call the Super Bowl. Initially dominated by the NFL-representing Green Bay Packers, the AFL made up its ground in the following two years to show they were a competent football league by comparison. In 1970, following Super Bowl IV, the AFL-NFL merger had come to fruition, forming one larger National Football League.

These days, the excitement surrounding the Super Bowl is unparalleled. Featuring pre-game media availability for many of the players, scintillating half-time shows, and wallet-breaking premium for commercial air time, the Super Bowl is less of a sporting event and more of a national holiday. And many of the games have lived up to the hype by providing exciting finishes and some historical comebacks. I am surprised that the Philadelphia Eagles are not somewhere on this list in PA

Perhaps one of the most thrilling last-second finishes in Super Bowl history belongs to the New York Giants, who faced the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXV. Down by as much as 9 points in the first half, the Giants orchestrated a comeback that ultimately ended with the defense on the field. A first-half safety had given the Bills a promising 12-3 lead with a chance to enter halftime with an even larger one. But, the Bills were forced to punt and the Giants managed what could have been as much as a 14-point swing. So, instead of Buffalo entering the half up by as much as 19-3, the Giants managed to shave the lead down to 12-10. The teams managed to exchange touchdowns in the second half before Giants’ kicker Matt Bahr gave New York the slimmest of leads, 20-19. And what is likely one of the famous moments in Super Bowl history, Bills’ kicker Scott Norwood kicked the football wide right, narrowly missing a game-winning 47-yard field goal, as the game’s final seconds ticked away. 

Another moment involves one of the most questionable calls in Super Bowl history, a more recent showdown between the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX. Down by as much as 10 points, the Patriots trailed Seattle by a score of 24-14 with a famed defense called the Legion of Boom called upon to hold the lead. However Brady managed to score two touchdowns in the final quarter to give New England a 28-24 lead with just over 2 minutes remaining. Seattle had managed to drive all the way to the New England 1-yard line with a very healthy and very effective Marshawn Lynch in the backfield. Everyone expected a run play. But, Russell Wilson dropped back to pass the ball, throwing an interception to Patriots’ cornerback Malcolm Butler. Butler managed to return the ball far enough to secure another Super Bowl win for the New England Patriots.

But, without a doubt the most dramatic comeback in Super Bowl history also features the only Super Bowl ever to have gone into overtime to this point. The New England Patriots squared off against the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI, and the Falcons looked as if they would run away with it. More than halfway through the 3rd quarter, they led the Brady-headed Patriots by a score of 28-3. Before this point in history, the greatest deficit a Super Bowl-winning team had overcome was 10 points (also the Patriots). The game looked so bleak for New England that the odds of Atlanta winning the game were an astounding 99.5 percent. But, following five drives into the closing minutes of regulation and holding Atlanta to no scoring from that point, New England had scored three field goals and two touchdowns, both followed by successful two-point conversions. The Patriots had tied the game, 28-28. In overtime, it only took 7 plays for the Patriots to find the end zone and end the game with a touchdown to complete – by far – the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history.

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What was the Miracle on Ice

Many people enjoy sports for the competitive nature and atmosphere that it provides. Physical or not, the entertainment from watching two people or teams pitting their physical skills and mental prowess against each other to see who is better in their respective arena can be one of the more thrilling experiences to witness as a sports fan. Something that makes these experiences all the more enjoyable and memorable is the occasional ascension of the underdog in particular contests – regard the Biblical showdown between David and Goliath. Granted, the stakes were higher in that case, but the point still stands. Witnessing a down-to-the-wire, back-and-forth slugfest between two opponents can make for a very thrilling experience. Witnessing an underdog topple a favorite in dramatic fashion can increase the thrill of the event exponentially by itself.

In 1980, the Winter Olympics were hosted in Lake Placid, New York. And for the national ice hockey team representing the Soviet Union, it appeared as if it would be business as usual. They were a heavy favorite to take the gold medal, and why shouldn’t they be? They had won the gold medal in the four previous Winter Olympics (dating back to 1964) and hadn’t lost a single Winter Olympic game since 1968. While IOC rules dictated at that time that winter sports teams were to be made up of amateurs, there were those who suspected that the Soviet team was actually comprised of athletes paid by the state to train on a full-time basis, explaining the reason behind their long success. In fact, since 1964, they had a cumulative record of 27-1-1 and had outscored opponents, 175-44, during that time period. Meanwhile, the United States team, coached by Herb Brooks, had their tryouts as late as the summer of 1979, with only one player returning from the 1976 team. Apart from this relatively short time period to come together as a unit, the United States team of the 1980 Winter Olympics was also the youngest in team history, averaging out at 21 years old. The fact that they were able to keep pace at all with an overwhelmingly favored Soviet Union team is astounding by itself.

The game was a single-elimination style contest in the first portion of the medal round, a round for which Sweden and Finland also qualified. The United States had advanced from their group of exhibition matches, sporting a 4-0-1 record and beating powerhouse Czechoslovakia in an impressive 7-3 victory. The Soviet Union swept their group for a 5-0 record, their closest games still decided by 2 goals. It looked as if the Soviet team would remain unstoppable, especially without a competitive Czechoslovakia team to face. But the United States would show a grit and physicality that nobody seemed to expect.

After the first period, the United States and the Soviet Union were tied, 2-2. But the Soviets dominated the second period, outshooting the United States with 12 shots on goal to 2, and taking a 3-2 lead into the final period of the game. The United States, in a surprising turn of events, scored two goals in the first 10 minutes of the 3rd period to take a 4-3 lead. The Soviets, stunned at this, appeared to begin playing with less discipline. And the United States, oddly enough, continued to play offensively and aggressively to keep the pressure on the Soviet Union. The Soviet team began to shoot in a panicked frenzy, but American goalie Jim Craig managed to keep his composure long enough for Al Michaels to deliver the historical commentary in the closing seconds of the game:

“Do you believe in miracles? Yes!”

Thus, the United States team, in a stunning 4-3 victory over the Soviet Union, had completed what would later be known as the Miracle on Ice. It was their ticket to the gold medal game, a game in which they defeated Finland, 4-2. The Soviet team later won the silver medal by defeating Sweden, 9-2

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7 Greatest U.S. Olympians

The United States is arguably the most dominant country in the world in the Olympic Games. And with that, chances are that many of the top, most well-known Olympians will be ones that had worn the Stars and Stripes.

While there are some top competitors from many countries – including some top Olympics success like Germany, China, Canada, Australia, Russia and Great Britain – there are many legendary stories of Olympic success that come under the United States flag. It must be a nice job.

As the 2018 Winter Olympics are just around the corner, this is a good opportunity to look into who are some of the most successful Olympic athletes in U.S. Olympic history. Following are seven of our favorites, based on either the numbers of medals earned or the highest percentage of medals that were gold (minimum five medals).

Ray Ewry (Summer, eight medals – 100% gold)

There are a couple reasons that Ray Ewry is at the top of this list – first of all, the one with the most gold medals without earning any other medals; and second, being one who recovered from polio more than 50 years before the polio vaccine was invented. Not being able to walk when he was younger, Ewry fought through polio, and not only did he walk, but won eight gold medals at three Summer Olympics, winning the standing high and long jumps in 1900, 1904 and 1908 Games. Top of the world, and overcoming what was a debilitating and lethal disease.

Eric Heiden (Winter, five medals – 100% gold)

Eric Heiden could be considered the first U.S. Olympic hero in the “modern” Olympic era – the one that had heavy television coverage. Heiden captivated many and introduced speed skating as a dominant sport for the Americans, as Heiden won gold at all five distances of speed skating – from the 500-meter sprint to 10,000 meters. He is the only one to win five gold medals at a single Winter Olympic games.

Carl Lewis (Summer, 10 medals – 90% gold)

Considered the greatest American track athlete in Olympic history and multiple world-record holders, Carl Lewis was a dominant sprinter and long jumper for the United States in 1984, 1988, 1992 and 1996 – yes, winning a gold in the long jump in 1996 to be the oldest gold-medalist in the Summer Games at age 35. He won the 100-meter dash and long jump at consecutive Olympics (1984 and 1988), which was unheard of at the time.

Bonnie Blair (Winter, six medals – 83% gold)

Bonnie Blair was for women what Eric Heiden was for everyone – she broke the glass ceiling on making speedskating sexy for women. Blair won all her medals over three Olympic games in the 500- and 1,000-meter sprint races, and – until Apolo Anton Ohno –  was the American all-time leader for Winter Olympic medals won (Ohno won eight), and tied with Heiden for most gold medals in the Winter Games.

Michael Phelps (Summer, 28 medals – 82% gold)

The most decorated Olympian of all time, Michael Phelps makes the case as the greatest swimmer of all time not only for the quality but also the longevity, as he won an Olympic-record eight gold medals in 2008 (Beijing), six in 2004 (Athens) and five more in 2012 (London). Phelps has all-time records in total medals and gold medals (23), with a record 16 golds in individual events. The sheer number of medals is one thing, but then to have four of every of those medals be of the precious gold color? Dominant.

Mark Spitz (Summer, 11 medals – 82% gold)

Mark Spitz was Michael Phelps before Michael Phelps, and he did most of his work in a single Olympic Games, as he won seven gold medals in the 1972 Games in Munich, a record that stood as the most golds until Phelps 30 years later. But not only did Spitz get gold in all seven races in those ‘72 Games, he set seven world records. Not even Phelps ever had that success.

Greg Louganis (Summer, five medals – 80% gold)

Perhaps the greatest American diver ever, Greg Louganis was the one American who consistently broke through the Chinese stronghold in the springboard and platform events, winning five medals including four golds – winning both events in the 1984 and 1988 Games. He might be most known, however, for hitting his head on the springboard during competition in 1988, sending blood into the water just months after his HIV diagnosis.

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What To Expect At The FIFA World Cup in Russia

Things are getting hot and heavy in the most popular sport.

Oh, wait. You thought we meant the NASCAR Monster Cup Series Playoffs?

Oh no, no, no. I meant the most popular team sport in the world.

No, we don’t mean the Major League Baseball playoff push, nor do we mean the opening weeks for the National Football League.

Of course, we mean the qualification stages for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, which is less than a year away. Because of the timetable, more than 200 national teams have been competing in various confederation tournaments to fill the 32 precious spots in the most important event in the world of soccer.

When qualification started last year, 209 countries put national teams on the pitch in six confederations (one on each continent), with each having pre-determined numbers of berths in the field, with host country Russia getting the benefit of automatic qualification. As of the middle of September, eight of the 32 spots have been filled thanks to efforts by some countries in their confederations.

So far, Africa and Oceania have not qualified any teams for Russia, while South America and the North America/Central America/Caribbean confederation each qualified one team (Brazil in the former, Mexico in the latter) so far. Belgium and Russia have qualified out of Europe, and Asia will be sending South Korea, Japan, Iran and Saudi Arabia, with a fifth team playing in a playoff for a single spot.

The confederations break down as such – Africa will send five teams to the showcase; Asia four (with a fifth in a playoff vs. North/Central America), North/Central America three (plus one in a playoff vs. Asia), Oceania will have one team in a playoff for a berth, South America will send three (plus one in a playoff vs. Oceania) and Europe will have 14.

The United States, by the way, is still in the running for a World Cup spot, as its North/Central America confederation is in Round Five of qualifying, which is a six-team round-robin. The top three teams out of that round-robin will qualify for the World Cup (Mexico plus two others), with the fourth-place team playing a team from Asia in a two-game playoff for a spot. The USA is in the final round-robin group with Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Honduras and Trinidad & Tobago, and that will be played during October and November of this year.

The 32 teams will be divided into eight groups of four teams at the World Cup in a round-robin format, with the top two teams in each group advancing to the “knockout,” or elimination-round tournament of 16 teams.

When you consider attendance figures and the television ratings all over the world with various soccer leagues and these international tournaments, soccer is the most popular sport in the world, and it is a sport that countries other than the U.S. excel and can dominate. National pride and glory are always on the line at a World Cup, and the drama and intensity in unparalleled compared to any other playoff system in any league. Imagine an NFL team playing as many as seven Super Bowls over the course of a month, and you get the idea of the significance of this tournament.

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