I hear people saying that the football league play-offs are unfair etc, etc – but I have to say I think they are a remarkable success.
They make great TV, they are exciting, they bring the crowds in and they generally have a bit of everything, drama, good football, penalty shoot outs, etc, etc.
They definately keep the leagues more competitive for longer, the top 8-10 teams in the Championship usually have something to play for up until near the end of the season. Before the introduction of the play-offs, it would have only been the top 4 or 5 teams, at best, still maintaining an interset.
They are also not as unfair as the system used in Rugby Union’s Premiership, where the top 4 play-off to see who wins the league. That seems totally unfair on the side that finishes top after a long tough season. In theory, you could choose not to be overly competitive over the last few weeks if you are pretty much guaranteed a top 4 finish and just save yourself for the play-offs.
At least in football, this is not the case. QPR won the Championship and rightly went up as champions – with no play offs.
The rules are made clear at the start of the season, those who think it is harsh on the team that finishes 3rd in the Championship do have a bit of a point, but I think that the excitment and interest it provides justifies its existence. The play-off system is one part of football that the administrators have definately got right.