The playoffs are, by nature, exciting. This is the case with every sport, at every level. The anticipation surrounding season-ending tournaments and championship games is something that simply cannot be duplicated during the regular season.
How do we gauge excitement, though? What makes one set of playoff games more galvanizing than another?
For starters, we can look at the length. In general, the longer a series lasts, the more stimulating the games become. Sometimes we have just a small degree of curiosity in a series when first viewing the matchup, but as the contests wear on and build toward the sixth and seventh games, we suddenly become insanely interested.
How about the stage of the postseason a series is in? Conference finals games rouse our emotions much more than first-round showdowns, don't they?
It's also helpful to look into the story lines that are present in a series. Is this an age-old rivalry? Have these teams met in the postseason recently?
Both scenarios help to ratchet up the intensity and pressure of a playoff clash. The more storied the struggle, the more frequently teams have met, the more bad blood there is.
Then, of course, there is the unparalleled excitement generated for a team and its fans when a title is won.
For the sake of the various fanbases of every team, what we'll be looking at here are the series that franchises have won. After all, you rarely hear a sports nut proclaim: "Man, that was so awesome when we lost Game 7! I hope that happens again next year!"
And just so we're clear going in, there is no topping a championship-winning tilt.