12. August- Yes, there is pre-season NFL football, and officially the start of college football, but what else? Okay, there is the PGA championship, and then what? Yep, that’s what I thought I’d hear, a lot of crickets.
11. December- Really, thank goodness Christmas is in December, because aside from that, what else is there? A bunch of meaningless bowl games? Yeah, pretty much. Sure, there is the closing run of the NFL season with playoff births on the line, and some really big, and intense games, I don’t want to forget that, but that’s not enough to pull this month from the basement. Yes, we do get the conference championship games for college football, but aside from that, there’s really nothing else going on as far as sports go in December.
10. November- Football is the only thing that keeps November from being forgotten altogether, and if you’re not a college football fan, then quite possibly you already have dismissed November. November means the close of the college football season, which means its the time of the year when the most bitter of rivals take the field against each other. If you’re lucky enough to have a dog in one of these fights, you spend all year waiting for November to get here to get bragging rights against your hated rival. If you don’t, it hardly qualifies as a month. There’s also the conclusion of the NASCAR season, but with that simply being a Jimmie Johnson coronation the past five years, it’s lost a bit of its shine. I’d also be remiss to omit Thanksgiving NFL games, but with so many games on so often now, some of the allure of playing on Thanksgiving has been lost, and the specialness of those turkey day games has ebbed a bit.
9. July- It’s just hot, and maybe that’s why the options are so limited. NFL training camp opening might very well be the highlight of July. There is the British Open across the pond, and Breakfast at Wimbledon, two rather big events for the Brits, and still pretty big in the States as well. However, it’s not enough to keep July from coming in near the bottom of this list. And no, the MLB All-Star game is no longer important enough to bring it up any further.
8. October- The baseball postseason keeps October out of the cellar, and does so in a rather substantial way. If your team is playing, there’s not much better than October baseball. If your team isn’t playing, or you aren’t a fan of baseball, October is a pretty barren month. The NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup gets rolling, and the NBA season starts, but October is known for one thing and one thing only, baseball playoffs.
7. February- Two events make this month, but the fact that NASCAR, in terms of mainstream popularity is still seen as a step below the likes of the NFL, MLB and the NBA, probably keeps February from elevating itself up this list. The pluses for this month are that basically two Super Bowls are played, there is THE Super Bowl, the single biggest sporting event in the country, if not world. This of course is followed up by Daytona speed weeks, culminating with the Daytona 500. Unfortunately, aside from a couple lackluster all-star games for the NBA and NHL, there’s not anything else February offers. The importance though of the two events that it does host however keeps this month off the bottom floor.
6. May- This is really just all about speed, and nothing but speed. Yes, the NBA playoffs do get into full swing, as do the NHL playoffs, and the French open kicks off, but what makes May, May, is basically Memorial Day weekend. NASCAR runs its longest race, the Coke 600, while Indy Car runs it’s most prestigious, one of the greatest spectacles in racing with the Indy 500. NASCAR’s all-star race also takes place in the month of May. The NBA & NHL playoffs, as well as the French Open may all take place in May, but the fact that they end in June takes away a slight bit from the luster of them in May.
5. April- Baseball gets going, and well, it is baseball. It’s the first sign of spring, really, to see ballparks everywhere filling back up with America’s past time. But it’s not just baseball that shows us spring is fully in the air. Golfers ascend on Augusta National, quite possibly the most beautiful place on the planet where a sporting event takes place as the Masters tradition continues. In the middle of April, the NBA playoffs get kick started. While not as full a month as some of the others above it, there’s still something special about what does take place during this month.
4. June- If the NHL mattered more, so would June, as it is, it’s just a notch below the elite sports months of the year, but still compelling nonetheless. The NHL and NBA finals both commence in June, but aside from that, the month is rather bare. The French Open concludes, as both golf and tennis have their second major in June with the U.S. Open taking place on the golf side. It’s a decent month, but as mentioned, if the NHL were a bit more popular, the magnitude of this month would increase.
3. March- March Madness in and of itself catapults March near the top of this list. What other sporting event is a month long adventure that takes you all over the country with one compelling story after another, not to mention a lot of great basketball. The fact that spring training gets underway, and technically, baseball does open its season in March, only cements March’s place high on this list.
2. January- When the Super Bowl was actually played in January, this month could arguably be the best sports month there is, instead it comes in a close second place. The NFL playoffs and the prime of the college football bowl season make January an exciting time for football fans. You also have to throw in the fact that you the Australian Open as well as the 24 Hours of Daytona. College basketball is just getting into conference play and the season is starting to take shape. While not as superior to all other months as it would be if the Super Bowl still took place in January, it’s still the most complete sports month on the calendar.
1. September- If for no other reason than football is getting into full swing, the NFL is opening and college football gets itself really going (week one in August is nice, but it’s a lot of mismatches that are scheduled strictly to fill out schedules and make a dollar) this month is one of the best of the year. Furthermore, September sees the NASCAR regular season come to a close as the Chase field is set. There’s also the final tennis major of the year with the U.S. Open, and on the golf side there’s the FedEx Cup culminating with the Tour Championship in East Lake. Did I mention that baseball’s pennant races are coming to a close as well? Talk about a full schedule. Playoff fields are pretty much set in three sports, a major in another, and the beginning of football.