There are several reasons why Game 7 is so unique. First, it’s the deciding game of the series. The winner moves on to the next round, and the loser goes home. This creates an immense amount of pressure for both teams. The season is on the line, and everything that has been worked for throughout the entire year comes down to one game. There is no second chance, no do-overs, no excuses. This is it. Every single basket, save, and turnover is magnified. Quite literally every second is important.
Secondly, Game 7 is typically the most-watched game of the series. Fans from both teams and neutral observers alike tune in to see who will come out on top. This creates an electric atmosphere that can be felt both in the arena and on the screen. The energy in the building is palpable, and the players can feel it. The pressure to perform is even higher in front of a national audience.
Thirdly, Game 7 often brings out the best in players. When the pressure is at its highest, some players are able to elevate their game and perform at a level they haven’t reached before. This is where legends are made. Think of Michael Jordan’s game-winning shot in the 1998 NBA Finals or Roy Halladay’s no-hitter in the 2010 MLB playoffs. These moments stick with fans and become part of the lore of the sport.
Lastly, Game 7 is a test of a team’s mental fortitude. The physical skills needed to compete at the highest level are certainly important, but being able to perform under pressure is what separates the good teams from the great ones. A team must be able to remain calm and focused in the face of adversity, and not let the moment get too big for them. It’s not just about who has the most talent or skill, but who can execute their game plan and make the right decisions when it matters most.
Game 7s are typically viewed differently in a historic lens. These are the games where legacies are made and narratives about players are born. It’s not a coincidence that some of the best sporting events in history are Game 7s. Whether it’s the Warriors or Cavaliers in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals, or Game 7 of the 2016 World Series between the Cubs and Indians, we’re bound to get some classic Game 7s in the playoffs this year.
We have 3 today in the NBA and NHL, and we can’t wait!