Best way to win (sports)

So you’re a sports fan. Your favorite team has a Big Game coming up vs a Hated Rival (say, game 7 of the World Series, Red Sox vs Yankees). You’re walking on the beach and you stumble upon a lamp containing a genie, yada yada. After wishing for wealth and health, you decide to use your third wish to ensure that your team wins the big game. And to ensure that you enjoy the game without knowing the outcome ahead of time, you build into your wish a clause stating that you will forget having made the wish, and get to enjoy the game fresh (also preventing you from using this advance knowledge to place bets) (of course you already wished for wealth…). The Genie then asks if you’d like to choose what sort of win it will be:

(1) A crazy come from behind victory where all hope seemed lost until a massive late rally
(2) A nail biter the entire way, never more than one score/run difference
(3) A solid and decisive win, never really in doubt after halfway in
(4) A comical rout in which everything just goes wrong for the other team and right for you
(5) Other?
Bearing in mind that your team is going to win no matter what, so that all you’re really changing is the experience for the fans watching (and I suppose to a certain extent your team’s legacy), what would you choose?

(4) A comical rout in which everything just goes wrong for the other team and right for you.

That would be the most relaxing and pleasurable game experience, but…

(1) A crazy come from behind victory where all hope seemed lost until a massive late rally.

Is probably going to feel waaaayy much better at the end. I saw the reaction of the Bruin’s fans after the Leafs collapse in game 7, being up 4-1 with 11 minutes remaining, last May in the first round of the playoffs. I wanted to feel like that. Instead I was completely any utterly miserable. I still am actually.

I’d go with #4, a comical rout on the order of Alabama vs Notre Dame in the BCS Championship game. Cuz ROLL TIDE!

I’d go with #3 - something where nobody can say seriously, “The better team didn’t necessarily win,” but at the same time, few people will claim, “Your team didn’t so much win as the other team lost - anybody could have beaten the other team that day.”

Another way to put it: #3 seems to give the most credibility to claims that the winners “earned” the victory, rather than winning because of a fluke play / bad officiating / a poor opponent.

After having lived through the 2004 ALCS with a Boston born and bred wife, I have had enough of Choice #1 to last a lifetime. So #4 gets the nod, especially if the opponent is the Giants or the Yankees.

(5) Other.
Turns out this is a Jackass Genie.
The other team’s plane crashes, you win by forfeit.
Your team’s plane crashes, the other team forfeits as a show of respect.

A comical rout of a hated rival is always good fun, but considering my all-time favorite sports moment is a crazy come from behind victory, and the fact that it’s my all-time favorite sports moment because all hope seemed lost until the massive late rally, I’d have to go with that.

If you’re wondering, it’s the Redskins at the Cowboys game from 2005 on MNF, where Washington looked absolutely terrible and were losing 13-0, then scored 2 touchdowns in the final 2 minutes to win.

#1 and #2 are awesome… unless a team I care about is playing. I don’t enjoy the stress, otherwise. I particularly don’t enjoy the horribly bad human being I become if my team makes significant mistakes or the other team make a brilliant play (which, in my mind, are the same thing).

TBH, #3 is the perfect balance. I want my team to display dominance of a demonstrably worthy opponent. I want that opponent’s misfortunes to be clearly and indisputably attributable to my team’s superiority.

Like Super Bowl XLVIII (Go Hawks!)

As a Nebraska fan, I’ve lived through 2, 3, and 4 in our National Championship years

#2: Nail-Biter vs Miami in 94. We won 24-17. It was a seesaw game with a very satisfying 4th quarter where we started rolling. It was our first national title for a beloved coach who always seemed to blow the big one. This was against a Miami team with Warren Sapp and Ray Lewis who was playing a home game in the Orange Bowl.

#3: Solid Win vs Tennessee in 97. We won 42-17, but it didn’t feel like a blowout vs Peyton Manning. I remember being more concerned with “Yeah, we’re winning, but we got to pass up #1 Michigan by impressing voters”. Pre-BCS, we couldn’t play Michigan, so we both had proxy games to determine the best team. We did and got the crystal trophy.

#4: Comical blow-out vs Florida in 95. We won 62-24, against an unbeaten Florida team with a stellar passing offense. It was simply a masterpiece, from the stifling defense to the 75 yard run where our QB broke 7 tackles. How did it end? Our QB 5th-string RB downed the ball on their 1-yard line to end the game.

I would say #4 was the most entertaining. Especially, since unlike most blowouts, Florida was very good that year. We totally overmatched the Gators, who was clearly the best team we could’ve played. The polls kept them at #2 and they went on to win the title next year.

#1, but not a “crazy” come from behind. Just one where the chances of victory were quite small, but larger than the one-or-two run lead of #2. Game 6 of the 2011 World Series will, almost certainly, remain the greatest sports event I ever witness in person.

I like how Nick Hornby put it in Fever Pitch. Something like how the best win (this was soccer) is to go down 2-0, with the second goal on a penalty kick with a terrible call by the ref. Then storm back to tie, and win it at the very end of the match. So they can’t claim your team was lucky (if anything they should have won by more!) but you also get to revel in the comeback and mock your adversary for throwing it all away.

The 2004 Red Sox had a nice combination on their run to the title. They won the Wild Card series by a sweep. Then went down 3-0 to NYY and down to their last two at bats. The steal, the single (all off the best closer the the history of baseball) and the home run and the next 3 games were magical. The final game was pretty close to a laugher

Then a sweep of St Louis to win the WS, not comical but a solid win. All after an 86 year drought, it was very satisfying.

  1. Solid, decisive win.
  1. The next day, I want to be talking about whether my team should have been more sportsmanlike. I want third stringers to humiliate their stars. I want the opposing team’s star player’s legacy to be forever tainted by just how embarrassing this particular game was.

As a longtime Seahawk fan, I enjoyed their recent Super Bowl win, which was somewhere between 3 and 4 in your list. It was a bit sad though seeing the scenes of the dejected Broncos fans, especially the kids, who did not have a fun time. For me sports is all about having fun, even if the team I’m rooting for doesn’t win. I refuse to let sports outcomes get me down, but it was tough to see so many not being able to enjoy the game. (It was nice seeing Elway lose though!) So I guess my answer is #2. #1 might be fun, but not as much as #2.

I’ll go with #2, the nailbiter. Suspense is good, but a sure thing either way (even a sure thing that turns out to be wrong) is no fun. Plus, the massive come-from-behind usually requires the catch-up team to screw up pretty badly in the first part of the game, and the leading-but-losing team to screw up later, and watching poor play isn’t fun.

I’ll quote Al Davis, “Just win, baby”.
Nitpick: Unless your genie realigns MLB, the Yanks and Red Sox can’t play each other in the World Series.

Well like several people in this thread there’s some caveats. In terms of actually enjoying the game if I were to watch it, I’d pick 3 or 4. If I [del]videotaped[/del] DVR’d the game and someone let the final score slip, then 1 or 2.