Top Level Sports Turns “3”: Connor’s Top 10 From Last Year

Another year has gone by, which means it’s time to take a look back.  I wrote over 100 articles during Top Level Sports’ third year, and in keeping with tradition, I’ve compiled a list of my 10 favorites of the past 12 months, given in chronological order.

You won’t be seeing any 5Hundreds or Take 5s here, as I made sure that each entry covers a single topic.  Additionally, there aren’t any NFL power rankings, predictions, college football playoff updates, or college basketball bubble watches or bracketology, as these series are outdated.  What we’re left with are 10 solid pieces that are as relevant now as the day they were published.  I’m proud of the final list, so let’s get right into it.

If you’re interested, I’d also recommend checking out the best of Year 1 and Year 2.

#1- The Burden of Information  Part 1: Why Some Sports are More Popular than Others (published 7/31/16) Part 2: Issues with Data Overload (published 8/2/16)

I’m cheating a bit by including two posts in one spot, but I think both parts of The Burden of Information are well-deserving of their place here.  What makes a sport popular?  There’s no simple answer here, but in part 1 I make an interesting case for a factor you probably hadn’t considered: numbers.  The more statistics involved with a sport, the more ways there are to evaluate performance and communicate that with fans.  However, with near-infinite data at our disposal, can we sometimes over-analyze things or make the wrong comparisons, which lead to misleading conclusions?  That’s the question I tackle in part 2, Issues with Data Overload.

#2- What Defines a Sport? (published 8/4/16)

Over the last few years, ESPN has started covering professional video gaming, otherwise known as eSports, and many people aren’t happy about it.  Then again, some people still don’t believe golf and NASCAR are sports, either.  Considering that there isn’t a widely accepted definition of what it means to be a sport, I give my take on the matter and come up with three criteria for sport-hood.  This also marks the beginning of me writing about eSports, which will make a few more appearances on this list.

#3- Is Fantasy Football Bad for the NFL? (published 9/10/16)

Fantasy sports have taken the world by storm, and there’s none bigger than fantasy football.  However, when we abandon team allegiances, rooting for only individual players instead, it’s worth asking: does fantasy do more harm than good for the NFL?

#4- College Football Needs Officiating Changes (published 9/19/16)

A referee’s job is to go unnoticed.  However, a number of recent college football controversies have thrown officials into the limelight.  Let’s take a look at these situations and see how rule changes could protect the refs and lead to more accurately called games in the future.

#5- The Proposed 48-Team World Cup is a Terrible Idea (published 12/10/16)

Beginning in 2024, the World Cup will officially expand to 48 teams.  This new format is little short of a disaster, with problems left and right.  It’s FIFA though, so what did you expect?

#6- Top 10 Sports Moments of 2016 (published 1/1/17)

From Peyton Manning winning a Super Bowl in his final game to the Warriors blowing a 3-1 lead, there was no shortage of exciting sports moments in 2016.  The Rio Olympics was full of storylines, and Leicester City might have pulled off the unlikeliest championship in sports history.  However, none of these events took the top spot on my list.

#7- League of Legends and Soccer: More Similar than You Think (published 1/8/17)

One of them is the most popular sport in the world.  The other is the most popular eSport in the world.  You might not think they’d have much in common, but you’d be wrong.  From organizations to competitive structures, there are plenty of similarities to be found.

#8- What Does NFL “MVP” Really Mean? (published 1/16/17)

The NFL’s MVP race last season was intense, and you could make the case for several different players to win the award.  Ultimately, it comes down to what you’re looking for, and what you value the most.  Here’s how I evaluate the field when choosing my MVP.

#9- Why Are eSports So Popular? (published 4/29/16)

Over 200 million people watch eSports, a number that seems impossibly high to those unfamiliar with the scene.  Even celebrities such as Magic Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, and Rick Fox own eSports franchises?  What exactly makes these games so popular?

#10- On Second Thought: the One-and-Done Rule (published 6/9/17)

Almost three years ago, I wrote an article about why I hated the One-and-Done Rule.  While I still do, both my reasons why and my solution to the problem have changed.  I revisited that old piece and updated my views in the first entry of a new series called On Second Thought.

Thanks for all the support you’ve shown to Top Level Sports over the last three years.  Here’s to a great next year and beyond!


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