How Do Wild Card Games Work?

Photo of author

By Valerie Becker

Wild Card Games are an exciting addition to any sports league’s playoffs. They give teams that barely missed the cut a second chance to make it to the postseason.

But how exactly do they work? Let’s take a closer look.

What Are Wild Card Games?

Wild Card Games are games played at the end of the regular season in sports leagues, such as the NFL and MLB, to determine which teams will advance to the playoffs. The teams that qualify for Wild Card Games are typically those that did not win their division but still have a good record.

How Do Wild Card Games Work?

In most sports leagues, Wild Card Games involve two teams playing against each other in a single-elimination game. The winner of this game advances to the next round of playoffs, while the loser is eliminated from contention.

For example, in the NFL, there are two Wild Card games played in each conference. The two Wild Card teams with the best records play against each other, and so do the two with the worst records. The winners of these games then advance to play against one of the divisional champions in their conference.

In baseball, there are two Wild Card games as well, one for each league. The two teams with the best records among non-division winners play against each other in a one-game playoff. The winner advances to play one of the division winners in their respective league’s Division Series.

Why Were Wild Card Games Created?

Wild Card Games were created to give more teams a chance at making it into the postseason. Before their introduction, only divisional champions would advance to playoffs. This meant that some very good teams with excellent records would miss out on postseason play just because they were in a tough division.

Wild Cards help balance out divisions and add excitement to end-of-season games by giving fans more opportunities to see their favorite teams play.

The Importance of Wild Card Games

Wild Card Games can be extremely important for teams that make it to the playoffs through this route. Winning a Wild Card Game not only keeps their postseason hopes alive but also gives them momentum going into the next round of playoffs.

In fact, some Wild Card teams have gone on to win the championship. For example, in the MLB, the San Francisco Giants won the World Series in 2014 after making it into the playoffs as a Wild Card team.

In Conclusion

Wild Card Games are an exciting addition to any sports league’s playoffs. They give deserving teams a second chance at making it to postseason play and create excitement for fans.

With single-elimination games, every pitch or play could be the difference between advancing or elimination. So sit back and enjoy the action!