The playoffs, postseason, or finals of a sports league are a game or series of games played after the regular season by the top competitors, usually but not always with a single-elimination system, to determine the league champion or a similar accolade.

In the U.S. and Canada, the vast distances and consequent burdens on cross-country travel have led to regional groupings of teams, usually called divisions. Generally, during the regular season, teams play more games against opponents that are within their own grouping than those outside it. Since every team has not necessarily had a chance to prove itself against every other team, a playoff is necessary every season. Any team that wins its grouping is eligible to participate in the playoffs. As playoffs became more popular, they were expanded to allow teams that finished second or even lower in the grouping to participate. The term wild card refers to these teams. While they technically can refer to any team that does not finish first in its grouping, the term is most often used when the teams that qualify without finishing first in their group is quite low, such as in the NFL and MLB where only four teams out of 32 in the former and 30 in the latter qualify in this manner. In fact the term was first used when the number of teams qualifying as wild cards was even lower, when the wildcard was first invented by the NFL in 1970 and only two teams qualified as non first place finishers. MLB also had only two wildcards teams from its first year of having wildcards in 1995 until expanding to a four wildcard format beginning with the 2012 season.

In England playoffs are used in soccer to decide promotion for lower finishing teams, rather than to decide a champion in the way they are used in North America. In the Championship (the second tier of English football) teams finishing 3rd to 6th after the regular season compete to decide the final promotion spot to the Premier League.

Read more about Playoffs:  National Basketball Association, National Football League, NASCAR, Major League Baseball, National Hockey League, Association Football, Australian Rules Football, Canadian Football League, Playoffs in Japan's Baseball Leagues

Other articles related to "playoff, playoffs":

Bill Fitch - Coaching Record
... G Games coached W Games won L Games lost W–L % Win-loss % Post season PG Playoff Games PW Playoff Wins PL Playoff Losses PW–L % Playoff Win-loss % Team Year G W L. 000 Lost in First Round CLE 1978–79 52..366 4th in Central — — — — Missed Playoffs BOS 1979–80 21..744 1st in Atlantic 4..556. 6th in Midwest — — — — Missed Playoffs HOU 1984–85 34..585 2nd in Midwest 3..400 Lost in First Round HOU 1985–86 31..622 1st in Midwest 20 ...
1981 World Series - Background - The Strike
... A makeshift playoffs were agreed upon by the owners pitting the first and second half winners leaving the team with the best overall record, the Cincinnati Reds (66–42), out of the postseason ... the Cincinnati Reds did not make the playoffs due to a modified playoff schedule established by the Commissioner Bowie Kuhn due to a midseason strike ... best overall record, but failed to make the playoffs after finishing second in each half ...
Playoffs in Japan's Baseball Leagues
... After it was reorganized into the Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) system, a series of playoffs ensued between the champions of the Central League and Pacific ... Before the playoff system is placed in both professional leagues, the Pacific League had applied a playoff system for twice ... The first is between 1973–1982, which they applied a split-season and have an 5-game playoff between the winning teams of both halves of season (unless a team won both of the half so that they need not to ...
2007 Scotties Tournament Of Hearts - Playoffs - 1 Vs. 2
... Sheet C 10 ... Final Canada (Scott) 0 ... X 5 Saskatchewan (Betker) 1 ... X 8 Player Percentages Canada Saskatchewan Renee Simons 85% Marcia Gudereit 85% Sasha Carter 88% Nancy Inglis 80% Jeanna Schraeder 84% Lana Vey 79% Kelly Scott 64% Jan Betker 85% Total 80% Total 82%. ...