Friday, March 18, 2016

Mr. Irrelevent

Irrelevant: not applicable or pertinent
                having no value

In sports there is a term bestowed upon the last draft choice of the NFL. The tradition began in 1976 and has continued on. It is a sad term to place on someone who still has a fighting chance to continue his career in his chosen profession.

A more pertinent application of this term would be to bestow it upon the NIT basketball tournament. Many years ago it was considered the preeminent basketball post season finale and the winner was considered the defacto national champion. It wasn't until sometime in the 1960's that the NCAA tournament became the place to be. It has eclipsed the NIT and there is no looking back.

March Madness is a terrific time for fans of college basketball. It is the 64 or 68 (depending on your point of view) best college basketball teams in the country all vying for the national championship. So what has become of the NIT? It has become possibly the most irrelevant sporting event in America. I can think of no other event in sports, although I'm sure someone will tell me one) that has such little meaning. (Okay, I thought of one, the Pro Bowl).

I don't understand why it is played, other than another chance for money. The winner is essentially the seventieth best team in the country. What is that to celebrate? If you were in charge of the winning school, would you hang the NIT championship banner from your rafters? I sure wouldn't. Years ago they used to play a consolation game where the teams that lost to the two teams playing in the championship game fought it out for third and fourth place. Can you say, irrelevant? Yes. It was so irrelevant they no longer play the game.

I think it's time we retire the NIT or bestow on its winner the title of Most Irrelevant College Basketball Team of the year. They can then go on the Tonight Show, just as Mr. Irrelevant has done for years and relive their glory. Wouldn't that be fun?

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