March is here, which means “March Madness” is here, with both NCAA conference tournaments and the 68-team NCAA Tournament set to deliver many days of flurrying action. A lot of people consider March to be the best sports month of the year—after all, it has a catchy nickname—but it doesn’t land in the top spot of this week’s Top Ten Tuesday: Sports Months.
The NFL playoffs and the college football national championship (and sometimes, more bowl games including the College Football Playoff Semifinals) are enough to make January the best sports month of the year. The NBA and NHL are also in play during their regular season, but the United States’ most popular game being in the postseason is the main reason for January being in the top spot.
In December, the weather starts to get cold and many NFL teams separate themselves from the pack. De-facto playoff games emerge, as division titles, wild card berths, and playoff byes are often on the line. In college football, bowl seasons starts, and it can also include College Football Playoff Semifinals, but conference championships might be the most overlooked event.
By the time September rolls around, baseball season starts to turn on in a big way, as any midseason summer lull can turn into an intense playoff race where every game starts to seem a little more important. And of course, there’s what many people wait on since February: the NFL kicks off its regular season. As the weather starts to cool, the sports scene starts to heat up in September.
The only month better for baseball than September is October, as team vie for the opportunity to play in the Fall Classic in an attempt to win a World Series. While some might consider baseball a “boring” sport, it’s hard not to tune in every night to watch in October. And with the NBA and NHL seasons starting up, October is usually the only month of the year with all four major sports in season.
Sometimes the World Series can extend into November, which is enough to give it a slight boost. But one of the best parts about November is college football rivalry games playing out on the gridiron—games like the Iron Bowl are tough to top. And of course, an entire weekday is dedicated to NFL football on Thanksgiving.
This list was inspired by March, and it’s an amazing sports month that delivers more “Cinderella stories” than other months. Selection Sunday is always fun to watch and debate as the teams and seeds are released, and trying to accurately predict brackets and pick teams to get all the way to the Final Four almost never works out for anyone—which is part of what makes the month so great.
The Stanley Cup Final and the NBA Finals hopefully deliver each year (though the NBA has not delivered close to as consistently as the NHL does), but either way, champions from two of the four major sports leagues will be crowned in June. There’s also the NBA Draft later in the month. And the U.S. Open is always a great golf tournament in June. The World Cup isn’t every year, but it also starts in June.
The end of the NCAA Tournament extends into April, when a champion is crowned, so March gets a little of its thunder taken there. While the NFL is not in season, it might as well be with the NFL Draft, which for many people has become almost as interesting to follow and watch as the actual games—especially for those that have tracked some of the players getting drafted through college.
The Super Bowl alone is enough to get February on the list, but the month becomes a bit of a lull after that and isn’t near the top five. NBA All-Star Weekend used to be another fun event in February, but the quality of All-Star Saturday Night has declined in recent years. Also, while the Super Bowl might be the sporting event of the year, it leaves an empty feeling when football season is over. Every four years, the Winter Olympics also make an appearance.
NBA free agency (which might be more exciting than the on-court product for much of the league’s season) and the MLB All-Star Break are two big events in July, but it gets the slight nod over August and May because it holds the majority of the Summer Olympics every four years as well as the end of the World Cups every few years. The middle of July might feel like a dud at times, but it can be really exciting in certain years.