Adrienne Vaughn
Staff Reporter
December 2, 2016

Albert Einstein and Steve Jobs are widely considered the most brilliant masterminds of the world, but the creators of the Maryland Fall Sports Playoff System are on a whole new level. On the surface, the playoff system may seem questionable, but once reviewed, it is an ingenious system that each sport benefits from in different ways.

The playoff system for Maryland fall sports differs depending on the sport. Football features a best record playoff system whereas volleyball, soccer, and field hockey feature an all-inclusive playoff system. At first, this seems senseless, but here is why it is best that the playoff system is set up in this way.

Football’s playoff system is extremely different from the other fall sports. Football has a best record playoff system. In this system, the teams that make it into the playoffs are the top four teams from each region in each division. As a result, the regular season for football is extremely competitive since each team is trying to rank highest in their region. This playoff system is specific to football and is best suited for football.  Football is a sport in which teams who are far more inferior are very unlikely to overcome excellent teams since football is a total body sport and there are far more aspects that come into play for a team to win.

According to Coach Carey, this playoff system is best suited for football because a team that is bigger, stronger, and faster could ultimately embarrass a team. So, if football were all-inclusive, teams who are not very good would not make it out of the first round because they wouldn’t be able to compete with a team that is bigger, faster, and stronger than them.

This system is genius and makes complete sense; football is not a sport for upsets and underdogs. If one team is more advanced, it is very unlikely that they will lose to a substandard team because it takes so much for the team to win. In soccer, the other hand, a low-ranked team is likely to upset a team that is far more superior because in soccer, it is incredibly easy for a team to score off of one mistake and one mistake can be the difference between winning and losing.

If football were all-inclusive, teams who are not very good would not make it out of the first round because they wouldn’t be able to compete with a team that is bigger, faster, and stronger than them.

The playoff system for every fall sport other than football is all-inclusive. This system breeds upsets because every team has a chance to prove that they are good, even if their regular season record does not show it. For example, last year, Atholton Boys Soccer ended with a 4-6-1 record but proved themselves in playoffs by making it to the state semis. Soccer, as well as the other fall sports, is very different from football and it is logical for the sport to have an all-inclusive playoff system because it is much more likely for a team with a poor regular season to upset teams in playoffs due to the nature of these sports.

If a best record playoff system were to be implemented into all fall sports, it would greatly diminish the chances for playoff upsets in sports such as soccer, volleyball, and field hockey. In Howard County especially, these sports have consistently high-ranking teams during regular season. Therefore, the best record playoff system would eliminate the possibility of underdog teams upsetting top-ranked teams since they would not qualify for playoffs to begin with.

According to Mrs. Defrances, sports outside of football are best suited with an all-inclusive system because, in Howard County specifically, there are usually teams who tend to consistently rank higher than others. Teams that are ranked lower are typically good quality teams. However, with the best record playoff the system, those teams wouldn’t be given the opportunity to compete against teams outside of Howard County that they could potentially beat.

There is no telling how the playoff system will change in the future, but for right now it suits each sport by taking into account the nature of the sport. One aspect of about playoffs that is the same among all sports is that they bring a time for exciting stands and nerve-racking competition.


Posted by Adrienne Vaughn

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