The University of Vermont's Independent Voice Since 1883

The Vermont Cynic

The University of Vermont's Independent Voice Since 1883

The Vermont Cynic

The University of Vermont's Independent Voice Since 1883

The Vermont Cynic

The most exciting events in sports: Where to begin?

Last week in the NCAA tournament championship game, Butler and Duke put on a display that will go down in history as one of the best games we have ever seen.

It combined the perennial powerhouse program of Duke and the determined and upstart program of Butler in a back-and-fourth game that drew the highest ratings for an NCAA basketball title game since 1999.

It was a brilliant finish to one of the most unpredictable and exciting tournaments fans have ever had the privilege of watching.

It may seem like a long time ago, but think back to all of the improbable upsets, buzzer-beating finishes and moments of pure, raw emotion.

We were treated to moments such as Northern Iowa defeating Kansas and Ali Farokhmanesh hitting one of the gutsiest three-point shots in recent memory.

There was the game-winning shot by Korie Lucious, filling in for the injured star Kalin Lucas, over Maryland that propelled Michigan State to an eventual repeat Final Four appearance.

More recently, in the Final Four we saw one of the most touching interactions between a player and coach, when West Virginia’s Da’Sean Butler tore his ACL and crumpled to a heap on the court in front of our eyes.

West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins kneeled over Butler, who was writhing in pain, and cradled him in a way a father would cradle an injured son.

But all of these moments take a back seat to the miraculous game that was the national championship, which Duke won. Yet Duke winning will perhaps not be as well remembered as the national runner-up.

The national spotlight shone, on the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. March Madness inspires excitement and provides exposure to sports more than any other sporting event in the country.

But what is the greatest athletic event in the world? Does March Madness easily triumph over all else, or is there another event that trumps it in excitement, anticipation and viewing audience?

Certainly March Madness has to be near the top. Each season, millions eagerly await brackets to be announced so they can fill out the perfect bracket.

Of course, that perfect bracket inevitably turns into a mess after day one, or day three if you picked Kansas to win it all this season.

But what pools and brackets do is give people who usually have no motivation to watch basketball an overwhelming desire to root for a team depending on a way they picked their bracket.

The excitement of picking a first-round game correctly is exhilarating and is a reason why, year in and year out, millions who do not usually even care about sports fill out and closely follow their brackets.

Another reason why March Madness has to be considered one of the best athletic events in the world is that each game is played with championship intensity.

This results in miracle buzzer-beaters, overtime finishes and unthinkable moments of triumph and defeat.

With all this said, it seems hard to think of another sporting event that could even come close to match the intensity and excitement of March Madness. But then again, there is the Super Bowl.

The Super Bowl is hard to compare to March Madness because it is only a single game, where March Madness unfolds over the course of several weeks.

It is easy to determine, however, that the Super Bowl is the single most exciting game that any sports fan could ever see.

For the last Super Bowl, which was between the Saints and Colts, 106 million people tuned in.

This set the record for the most viewed telecast in history, surpassing the “M*A*S*H” series finale in 1983.

How the “M*A*S*H” finale was previously the highest-rated telecast is beyond me, but that is another issue for another time.

The point is that everyone watches the Super Bowl: everyone.

Whether it is for the commercials or the game itself, the Super Bowl is professional sports at its finest, and the Sunday that the game is played on is becoming more like a national holiday with each passing year.

In the end, if there has to be a winner, it’s the magic of March Madness matched against, well, the “Super Bowlness” of the Super Bowl.

It all depends on your personal opinion, but if you ask me, I think March Madness easily trumps the splendor of Super Bowl Sunday.


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The most exciting events in sports: Where to begin?