It is a question entwined with so much of the fandom, coverage and playing of sports, so often infused with regret and suggestions of what might have been...
But mostly, it is fun, a chance to daydream about the possibilities in sports we spend so much of our time thinking about.
Whole businesses and groups of fantasy sports league and management simulations games have been built on the back of the notion that the average person could do better if they were in charge, while many a debate has been had over the ramifications over what if a certain player went somewhere else or a team hadn't lost etc etc.
This is all to say that the following article is in no way a call for world football (as it is so termed on this website) to adopt American-style playoffs, merely to wonder what the sport might look like if their seasons ended using the models that conclude years in basketball, baseball and American football.
There are already some similarities—one reason why only club football/soccer will be focused on here, as something like the World Cup or European Championships already runs along similar lines to 'March Madness' in college basketball (excluding the role a committee plays in selecting teams for the latter).
Outlined in the following slides are various scenarios for how these models would best be applied, and indeed, if it would be feasible to actually apply them.
In some cases here, it will require suspending belief to accommodate the rewriting of traditional schedules and formats.
Most of you will already know how the respective playoffs and postseasons work in the various sports, but for those who are not familiar and also so as to explain how they might work as applied to world football, the basic details of each will be explained in each slide (so bare with us here).
First up, what if continental tournaments like the Champions League and Copa Libertadores were decided March Madness style...