The term wild card refers broadly to a tournament or playoff berth awarded to an individual or team that has not qualified through normal play. A tournament (IPA) is a Competition involving a relatively large number of competitors all participating in a Sport or Game. A playoff or final in Sports is a game or series of games played after the regular season is over with the goal of determining a league champion or a similar accolade
In North American professional sports leagues, wild card refers to a team that qualifies for the championship playoffs without winning their specific subdivision (usually called a conference or division) outright. Sport is an Activity that is governed by a set of rules or Customs and often engaged in competitively The number of wild card teams varies. In most cases, the rules of the league call for the wild card team to survive an extra round and/or to play the majority of their postseason games away from home.
The term should not be confused with playoff formats that call for a set number of teams to qualify per division. The American Football League's 1969 playoffs (qualifying the top two finishers from each division), the National Basketball Association's 1967-1970 playoffs (qualifying the top four finishers from each division) and 1970-1972 playoffs (qualifying the top two finishers in each division), and the National Hockey League's 1968-1974 and 1982-1993 playoffs (qualifying the top four finishers from each division) should not be confused with wild-card playoff formats. Note There were three earlier and unrelated major American professional football leagues of the same name One in 1926, one in 1936-1937 and one in 1940-1941 The National Hockey League ( NHL) is a professional Ice hockey league composed of 30 teams in North America When a wild-card playoff format is used, the number of teams that may qualify per division is not fixed; the divisional champion will usually qualify automatically, but non-division finishers qualify based on record either in the league overall or within a conference.
In Major League Baseball, the wild-card playoff spot is given to the team in each league with the best record among divisional second-place teams. This was implemented after the league expanded to 28 teams and realigned its two leagues to have three divisions. Since a three team playoff would be uneven, the wild card was created to field a fourth team. This was also seen as a way to increase a team's chances of making the playoffs. Since the wildcard gives non-first place teams a chance to make it to the post season a team in division with a dominant 1st place team can still hope to advance. Furthermore the "wildcard races" in each league provides excitement late in the season. Even if dominant teams have locked up their divisions, there is still a spot to be had. Also since the wildcard isn't confined to one division over another, fans are treated to a league-wide race for the fourth spot. The wild card has been in effect since 1995, although it was first intended to be used in 1994, when the playoffs were canceled due to the players' strike. Champions Major League Baseball World Series: Atlanta Braves over Cleveland Indians (4-2 Tom Glavine, MVP Headline events of the year As a result of a players' strike the MLB season ends prematurely on August 11, 1994. The 1994 Major League baseball strike was the eighth work stoppage in Baseball history as well as the fourth in-season work stoppage
A wild-card team must surrender home-field advantage in its Division Series (ALDS and NLDS) and, if it wins through, in the League Championship Series (ALCS and NLCS). Home advantage (also called home field advantage) is an athletic competition phenomenon In Baseball, the Division Series is the official name for the first round of the Major League Baseball playoffs In Major League Baseball, the American League Division Series ( ALDS) determines which two teams from the American League will advance to the American In Major League Baseball, the National League Division Series ( NLDS) determine which two teams from the National League will advance to the National The League Championship Series ( LCS) is the official name for a round of playoffs in Major League Baseball which has been conducted since 1969. For the World Series, however, home-field advantage is determined beforehand, without reference to wild-card status. For other events named "World Series" see World Series (disambiguation. (Prior to 2003, it was decided by alternating each year between the American and National leagues, and since 2003 has been granted to the winner of the All-Star Game). Headline event of the year The Florida Marlins become World Series champions holding off a dynastic New York Yankees team 4 games to The Major League Baseball All-Star Game, also popularly known as the "Midsummer Classic" is an annual Baseball game between players from the National League In the 2002 World Series, both the Anaheim Angels and the San Francisco Giants were wild-card teams. The World Series was the 98th edition of the Fall Classic held from October 19-27 2002 The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are a professional baseball team based in Anaheim, California. The San Francisco Giants are a Major League Baseball team based in, that currently play in the National League West Division. The World Series champions in 2003 and 2004 were also wild-card teams.
In the Division Series, the wild-card team (which could be considered analogous to the fourth seed in other sports tournaments) plays the team with the best record in the league as long as the two teams are in different divisions. An MLB rule prohibits teams in the same division from facing each other in the Division Series. Baseball rules differ slightly from league to league but in general share the same basic gameplay In the event that a wild-card team is in the same division as the team with the best record, the former will play the second-best team in the league while the latter will face the third-best. This parallels the policy of the NFL after the NFL/AFL merger, when the league opted to include a wild-card team in each conference’s playoffs. (From 1970 to 1989, NFL teams in the same division couldn't meet in the divisional playoffs. This policy ensured that the two best teams in a given conference could face off in the conference championship, even if both were from the same division. )
Since the MLB wild-card format was introduced in 1994, there have been several instances in which a team made the playoffs despite having a worse record than a team within its own league that did not make the playoffs. The 1997 World Series featured the Cleveland Indians, who were playing in their second World Series in three years The Florida Marlins are a professional baseball team based in Miami Gardens Florida. The World Series was the 98th edition of the Fall Classic held from October 19-27 2002 The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are a professional baseball team based in Anaheim, California. The 2003 World Series marked the 99th baseball World Series event The Florida Marlins are a professional baseball team based in Miami Gardens Florida. The 2004 World Series was the championship series of the 2004 Major League Baseball (MLB season The Boston Red Sox are a Professional baseball team based in Boston Massachusetts, and are the reigning (2007 World Series Champions. The wild card was established for Major League Baseball 's playoffs in 1994 with the intention of helping the best teams that did not win their division to still have The wild card was established for Major League Baseball 's playoffs in 1994 with the intention of helping the best teams that did not win their division to still have
Main article: NFL playoffs
In the NFL, each of the two conferences send two wild-card teams along with four division champions to its postseason. Champions Major League Baseball Regular Season Champions Other champions Caribbean World Series: The Cleveland Indians are a professional baseball team based in Cleveland, Ohio, United States. The New York Yankees are a professional baseball team based in the borough of The Bronx, in New York City, New York. Headline event of the year The Florida Marlins become World Series champions holding off a dynastic New York Yankees team 4 games to The Seattle Mariners are an American professional baseball team based in Seattle, Washington, United States. The Minnesota Twins are a professional baseball team based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Champions Major League Baseball World Series: Florida Marlins over Cleveland Indians (4-3 Liván Hernández, The Los Angeles Dodgers are a Major League Baseball team based in Los Angeles California, USA "Mets" redirects here For the medical term see Metastasis. The Houston Astros are a Professional baseball team based in Houston Texas. Champions Major League Baseball Regular Season Champions Other champions Caribbean World Series: The San Francisco Giants are a Major League Baseball team based in, that currently play in the National League West Division. 2005 Major League Baseball season Headline events of the year Chicago White Sox swept the Houston Astros to win the World Series The Philadelphia Phillies are a Major League Baseball team based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in the United States. The Florida Marlins are a professional baseball team based in Miami Gardens Florida. "Mets" redirects here For the medical term see Metastasis. The San Diego Padres are a Major League Baseball team based in San Diego California since their founding in 1969 2006 Major League Baseball season|2006 Nippon Professional Baseball season Headline Event of the Year The 2006 World Baseball Classic is a surprise success The Philadelphia Phillies are a Major League Baseball team based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in the United States. The St Louis Cardinals (also referred to as "the Cards " or "the Redbirds " are a professional Baseball team based in St Champions Major League Baseball Regular Season Champions Other champions Minor League Baseball The San Diego Padres are a Major League Baseball team based in San Diego California since their founding in 1969 "Mets" redirects here For the medical term see Metastasis. The Chicago Cubs are a Professional Baseball franchise based in Chicago, Illinois. The National Football League (NFL Playoffs are a Single-elimination tournament held at the end of the 16-game Regular season to determine the The National Football League ( NFL) is the largest professional American football league. The first round of the playoffs is called the "Wild Card Round". In this round, each conference's two best (by regular-season record) division champions are exempted from play and granted automatic berths in the "Divisional Round". The four division champions are seeded from #1 through #4, while the two wild card teams are seeded #5 and #6; within these separations, seeding is by regular-season record. In the "Wild Card Round", the #6 team (a wild card team) plays against the #3 team (a division champion) and the #5 team (a wild card team) plays against the #4 team (a division champion). The division champions have automatic home-field advantage in these games. In the "Divisional Round", the worst seeded remaining team plays the #1 seeded team, while the best seeded remaining team that played in the wildcard round play the #2 seed. Both the #1 seed and #2 seed have home-field advantage in the divisional round. See NFL playoffs. The National Football League (NFL Playoffs are a Single-elimination tournament held at the end of the 16-game Regular season to determine the
The NFL was the first league to ever use the wild-card format. When the league realigned into two conferences of three divisions each in 1970, it wanted an even four-team playoff field in each conference. This was established by having the three division champions in each conference joined by the best second-place finisher in the conference. At first, this team was referred as the "Best Second-Place Team" (or sometimes simply as the "Fourth Qualifier"). The media, however, began referring to the qualifying teams as "wild cards. " Eventually, the NFL officially adopted the term. From 1970-1977, the divisional playoffs featured the #1 seed hosting the wild card team and the #2 seed hosting the #3 seed unless the #1 seed and wild card team were divisional rivals. In that case, the #1 seed hosted the #3 seed and the #2 seed hosted the wild card team. (This policy is currently used by Major League Baseball in its Division Series). In Baseball, the Division Series is the official name for the first round of the Major League Baseball playoffs
The number of wild-card qualifiers was expanded to two per conference in 1978 - the divisional winners were granted a bye week whilst the wild card teams played (hence the origin of the phrase "Wild-Card Round"). A bye, in sports and other competitive activities most commonly refers to the practice of allowing a player or Team to advance to the next Round of a Like wild card teams before, the wild card game winner played the #1 seed, or the #2 seed if they and the #1 seed were divisional rivals. The playoffs were expanded again to three wild cards per conference in 1990 with the lowest ranked divisional winner losing its bye (and divisional rivals could now meet in the divisional playoffs). Following the addition of the Houston Texans in 2002 the league added a fourth division to each conference. The Houston Texans is a professional American football team based in Houston, Texas. See also 2002 (disambiguation Year 2002 ( MMII) was a Common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar. The league decided not to change the number of playoff teams and thus the number of wild card qualifiers was reduced to two per conference.
Wild card Super Bowl champions
Special Trivia Note
In professional tennis tournaments, a wild card refers to a tournament entry awarded to a player at the discretion of the organizers. Tennis is a sport played between two players ( singles) or between two teams of two players each ( doubles) All ATP and WTA tournaments have a few spots set aside for wild cards in both the main draw, and the qualifying draw, for players who otherwise would not have made either of these draws with their professional ranking. The Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP was formed in 1972 to protect the interests of male professional Tennis players They are usually awarded to players from the home country, promising young players, players that are likely to draw a large crowd, or players who were once ranked higher and are attempting a comeback (e. g. Alicia Molik at the 2006 US Open). Alicia Molik (born 27 January 1981 is a former professional Female tennis player from Australia. The 2006 US Open began 28 August and finished on 10 September, 2006. In 2001, Goran Ivanisevic won the Wimbledon Men's Singles Championships having been handed a wildcard entry by the organising All England Tennis and Croquet Club. Goran Šimun Ivanišević ( ɡǒran iʋanǐːʃɛʋiʨ born in Split, Croatia, Yugoslavia on September 13 1971 is a former professional Tennis
In motorcycle racing the term 'wild card' is used for competitors only involved in individual rounds of a championship, usually their local round. Motorcycle racing (also known as Moto racing and Bike racing) is a Motorcycle sport involving Racing Motorcycles. Local riders taking advantage of their local knowledge (often having raced that circuit on that bike before) and affording to take risks without planning for a championship, often upset established runners. Makoto Tamada and Shaky Byrne have both taken double victories in Superbike World Championship rounds in their home countries. (born November 4, 1976 in Matsuyama, Ehime Prefecture, Japan) is a professional motorcycle racer. Shane Byrne (born 10 December 1976 in Lambeth, London) often known as Shakey is a British Motorcycle road racer History The Superbike World Championship began in, being open to modified versions of road bike models available to the public
Grand Prix motorcycle racing
Each Grand Prix host Federation (FMNR) may nominate 3 wild card entries for the 125 cc and 250 cc classes in their own Grand Prix only.
The MSMA (Motorcycle Sport Manufacturers’ Association) may, at each event, nominate 1 wild card entry for the 250 cc and MotoGP classes. Overview A Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix was first organized by the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM in 1949
The FIM may, at each event, nominate 2 wild card entries for the 125 cc and 250 cc classes and FIM/DORNA may, at each event, nominate 1 wild card entry for the MotoGP class. The Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM International Motorcycling Federation) is the governing body of motorcycle racing The Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM International Motorcycling Federation) is the governing body of motorcycle racing Dorna Sports SL is the commercial rights holder for the motorcycling sport of MotoGP.
Superbike World Championship
Each Event host Federation (FMNR) may nominate 4 wild card entries for the Superbike class and 2 wild card entries for the Supersport and Superstock classes, in their own event only. History The Superbike World Championship began in, being open to modified versions of road bike models available to the public Overview As of 1999 the Supersport World Championship is a support class to the Superbike World Championship.
The FIM may nominate 2 wild card entries for the Superbike class. The Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM International Motorcycling Federation) is the governing body of motorcycle racing
Wild Card entries are not unknown in auto racing either, although modern-day Formula One makes it prohibitively expensive and manpower-heavy for teams to enter a single F1 race. Auto racing (also known as automobile racing, motor racing or car racing) is a Motorsport involving Racing Cars It John Love came close to winning the 1967 South African Grand Prix in a wild card type situation, long before the term had been coined. John Maxwell Lineham Love (born in Bulawayo, December 7, 1924 - died April 25, 2005) was a Racing driver from Rhodesia The 1967 South African Grand Prix was a Formula One race held at Kyalami on January 2, 1967. Although the term is rarely used in NASCAR, the concept of a road course ringer is similar. The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing ( NASCAR) is the largest sanctioning body of Stock cars in the United States. Road course ringer (or road course specialist) is a term used to describe a non-NASCAR driver who is hired by a NASCAR team to race at a road course ( Before the late-1990s, NEXTEL Cup and Busch Series races in the West and Northeast respectively would have several drivers from the Winston West and Busch North series, as the series regulations were very similar, and until the mid-2000s, ARCA drivers would usually attempt Cup races in the Midwest and at restrictor-plate races. The NASCAR Nationwide Series is a Stock car racing series owned and operated by the National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing. The Western United States &mdashcommonly referred to as the American West or simply the West &mdashtraditionally refers to the region comprising the westernmost The Northeast is a region of the United States. As defined by the U The NASCAR Camping World West Grand National Series (formerly the NASCAR Winston West Series the NASCAR Grand National Division Autozone West Series and The Camping World Series East (formerly Busch East Series & Busch North Series) is a regional Stock car racing series owned and operated by the National Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA is an auto racing sanctioning body in the United States founded in 1953 by John Marcum.
Although the National Basketball Association and National Hockey League include wild-card teams in their playoff structures, the term "wild card" is seldom used in the NBA or NHL; instead, each playoff team is most commonly denoted by its seeding position within the conference. The National Hockey League ( NHL) is a professional Ice hockey league composed of 30 teams in North America
In the NHL, division champions within each conference are given the #1 through #3 seeds based on their regular-season records. The five wild-card teams are awarded the #4 through #8 seeds, also based on their regular-season records. The division champions (first, second, and third seeds) and the best wild-card team (fourth seed) are given home ice advantage in the opening playoff series, in which they face the eighth-, seventh-, sixth- and fifth-seeded wild card teams, respectively.
The initial bracketing of the NBA playoffs by seed is identical to that of the NHL. However, the NBA playoffs have one feature unique in North American professional sports—home court advantage is determined strictly by regular-season record, without regard to seeding.
Before the 2006-07 NBA season, the NBA seeded its teams in the same manner as the NHL. The 2006–07 NBA season was the 61st season of the National Basketball Association. Now, the NBA seeds the three division winners and the wild-card team with the best record by regular-season record. This means that the wild-card with the best record can now get a seed as high as #2 (if that team is in the same division as the team with the best record in the conference); however, the next four wild-card teams will still be limited to the #5 through #8 seeds. This change was made to ensure that the two best teams in each conference could not meet until the conference, and also (allegedly) to try and eliminate incentives for a playoff-bound team to deliberately lose games at the end of the regular season in order to "choose" a higher-seeded team that has won fewer games (and, due to the unique home-court rules of the NBA, possibly gain home-court advantage for that series). In organized Sports, match fixing or game fixing occurs when a match is played to a completely or partially pre-determined result
In the NBA, the winner of the #1 vs. #8 series goes on to face the winner of the #5 vs. #4 series, while the winner of the #2 vs. #7 series faces the winner of the #6 vs. #3 series. Notice that the winner of the #1 vs. #8 series will usually play against a wild-card team in the second round of the playoffs; this is arranged deliberately to "reward" the #1 seeded team by giving it the most winnable matchups in the first and second rounds.
In the NHL, however, the play-off format differs slightly from that of the NBA. In the NHL, the highest winning seed of the first round plays the lowest winning seed of the first round in the next round of the play-offs. For example, if the #1, #4, #6, and #7 seeds win their respective first round series then the second round of the play-offs will match the #1 seed (highest) versus the #7 seed (lowest) and the #4 seed (2nd highest) versus the #6 seed (second lowest). Home ice advantage in each NHL playoff series prior to the Stanley Cup Finals is granted by superior seed, even if the "wild card" team had a better regular season record. For the Finals, the team with the better record will receive home ice advantage.
Although the term "wild card" is not generally used in this context outside North America, a few competitions effectively employ such a system to determine one or more places in a future phase of a competition.
The Euroleague, a Europe-wide competition for elite basketball clubs, has one "wild card" advancing from its first phase, officially the Regular Season, to its second, called the Top 16. EuroLeague WomenThe Euroleague (EL is one of the professional Basketball competitions in Europe, with teams from thirteen different European countries Basketball is a team Sport in which two teams of five active players each try to score points against one another by propelling a ball through a 10 feet (3 m
The competition begins each year with 24 clubs, divided into three groups. After the groups play a double round-robin for the Regular Season, eight clubs are eliminated, and the remaining clubs advance to the Top 16. The top five clubs in each group automatically advance. The final "wild card" spot in the Top 16 goes to the sixth-place club with the best overall record, with three potential tiebreaking steps. A coin toss is not indicated as a possible step.
The Heineken Cup, rugby union's analogue to the Euroleague, also has "wild card" teams advancing to its knockout stages. The European Rugby Cup (known as the Heineken Cup because of the tournament's sponsorship by Heineken) is an annual Rugby union competition involving leading Overview See also Playing rugby union A rugby union match lasts for 80 minutes (plus stoppage time with a short
Like the Euroleague, it starts each season with 24 clubs and divides them into pools, with each team playing a double round-robin within its pool. However, Heineken Cup pools consist of four clubs instead of the Euroleague's eight, resulting in six pools. Eight clubs advance to the knockout stages. The top club in each pool advances; the two "wild card" places are filled by the two second-place clubs with the best overall records. The tiebreaking procedure, used to determine overall seeding, is almost as elaborate as that of the NFL, with a total of seven steps (a coin flip is the last).
In the Philippine Basketball Association, the playoffs are done after an elimination (in 2005-06, a classification) round where the top two teams with the best records are given semi-final byes, the next 3 are given quarterfinal byes, the next 4 are given entry to the wildcard phase, and the tenth team is eliminated. The Philippine Basketball Association (PBA is a Professional Basketball league in the Philippines founded in 1975.
The winner of the wild card playoffs, varying in format from a round-robin, a single-elimination or sudden death, usually meets the strongest quarterfinalist (the 3rd seed). The wild card winner's next opponent for the quarterfinals rested while the wild card phase was ongoing so the chance of advancing to the semi-finals (in which a team rested longer) is slim.
The only wild card champions are the 7th-seeded Barangay Ginebra Kings in the 2004 PBA Fiesta Conference, in which the top 2 teams were given semifinal byes while the bottom eight went through a knock-out wild card tournament. The Barangay Ginebra Kings is a professional team of the Philippine Basketball Association founded in 1979. The 2004 PBA Fiesta Conference was tournament held by the Philippine Basketball Association and the first ever edition of the PBA Fiesta Conference. Since the addition of the quarterfinal bye, no wild card has entered the Finals, although the Air21 Express won the third-place trophy at the 2005-06 PBA Fiesta Conference. The Air21 Express is a Philippine Basketball Association team that began in 2002 The 2006 Philippine Basketball Association -San Mig Coffee Fiesta Conference Playoffs was the post-classification round tournament of the 2005-06 PBA Fiesta Conference