Throughout the history of sports, there’s been an uproar over the idea of “East Coast Bias.” People on the West Coast have often chastised the national media for their coverage of teams in the Eastern Time Zone over teams in the Western United States.
Well, West Coast, it’s your turn now. While teams in the East are stumbling this time of year, your teams are shining. While negative media attention swirls in the Eastern Time Zone, you’re loving the warm weather three hours earlier. You have owned these last two months, so if you’re a sports fan, the West is the place to be.
Take the NBA for example. The “Leastern” Conference is at an all-time low right now, with only three teams holding records over .500 (the Pacers, Heat and Hawks). In the West, nine teams have a record of .500 or greater, with one of them (Golden State) on the outside of the playoff picture as of today. The three-seeded Spurs would trounce the three-seeded Hawks, probably sweeping them in a best-of-7 series. The four-seeded Clippers, Doc Rivers’s current team, have shown that even with a slow start, they can still handle the four-seeded Celtics, Rivers’ former team, in the fourth quarter. The Memphis Grizzlies, who had so many expectations placed on them at the beginning of the season, are third-to-last in the Western Conference standings at 10-14. That 10-14 record would be good enough for the eight-seed in the East. And the Boston Celtics, who seemed like a prime candidate to tank for Andrew Wiggins this year after trading Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to Brooklyn, are fourth in the conference and first in their division at just 12-14. Simply put, the East is horrible right now, while the West is so good that the playoffs might not include Curry, Kobe or Z-Bo.
In the NFL, the Eastern Divisions have definitely had a rough year. How about the NFC East? Philly is leading the division at 8-6, the only winning record, while Romo has thrown a multitude of late-game interceptions, Eli and the Giants have been atrocious, and the Redskins have gone from first to worst. The AFC East has not been much better. The Patriots are going to win the division once again but are far from invincible, with the wide receivers and running backs question marks every week and Rob Gronkowski out for the year. The Dolphins have been alright through controversy, but are nowhere near being a legitimate Super Bowl contender. The Jets and Bills had promise but, similar to most years, are about to end their disappointing seasons without a playoff appearance. While the East has faltered, the West has been strong. The NFC West has the best team in football right now, the Seattle Seahawks, and two other teams in playoff contention, San Francisco and the surprising Arizona Cardinals. The AFC West has featured stellar seasons by the Broncos and Chiefs, with the Chargers still alive for a playoff spot. The NFL’s Western teams have four legitimate Super Bowl contenders, while the East only has one.
The NHL’s Western Conference, as you probably expected, is no exception to the dominance. The three teams with the most points in the league (Chicago, Anaheim, Los Angeles) are all in the West, while nine teams in the conference have 40 or more points to the East’s four. Want to see goals? Six teams from the West have scored 100 or more, with five at 90 or more. Two teams from the East have scored 100 or more, with six at 90 or more. The West has simply played better hockey thus far, and the eighth seed in the West (Minnesota) would sweep the eight in the East (Carolina). Better players, better hockey, Western Conference.
In conclusion, though the East may always generate the most media buzz, the Western conferences and divisions are playing the best basketball, football and hockey right now, not to mention the better weather and absence of snow (for the most part). If you’re a sports fan, you would likely rather be watching teams from the Left Coast than teams from the right.