Page playoff system
The Page playoff system is a playoff format used primarily in softball and curling at the championship level. Teams are seeded using a round-robin tournament and the top four play a mix of a single-elimination and double-elimination tournament to determine the winner. It is identical to a four-team McIntyre System playoff, first used by the Victorian Football League in Australia in 1931, originally called the Page-McIntyre system, after the VFL delegate, the Richmond Football Club's Secretary, Percy "Pip" Page, who had advocated its use. It was played there until 1971.
The Page playoff system was used at the Australian Rugby League Championship 1954-1972.
Its first use in curling was by the Canadian Curling Association in the 1995 Labatt Brier, the men's championship, and was adopted the next year at the 1996 Scott Tournament of Hearts, the women's championship. It gained acceptance and in 2005 the World Curling Championships started using it, but it has not yet been adopted in curling at the Olympic Games.
The system requires teams to be ranked in some way, as the top two teams have an advantage over the bottom two. This is usually accomplished through a round-robin tournament, which eliminates all but the top four teams.
A standard round-robin tournament is used, in which all teams play each other once. Because the number of total games increases quadratically with respect to the number of teams, scheduling too many teams will result in an unwieldy number of games, particularly when there are a limited number of playing surfaces (curling rinks usually only have four sheets). Therefore, the number of teams is usually capped at around a dozen; if this is not possible or desirable, teams may be separated into groups playing separate round-robins and either having the top teams combining for the Page playoff or playing separate ones in each group and having the winners play each other after.
Page playoff system
The system was invented in Australia in the early 1930s and adopted soon after by the Victorian Football League (now known as the Australian Football League). The top four teams advance to the playoffs, which are played over three rounds with one team being eliminated in each round.
In the first round, the first- and second-placed teams and the third- and fourth-placed teams play each other in two games known originally (and therefore properly) as Semi-Finals. The winner of the major Semi-Final between the first- and second-placed teams gets a bye to the championship game, the Grand Final. The loser of that game plays the winner of the other Semi-Final game in the second round in the Preliminary Final. The winner of the Preliminary Final plays the winner of the major Semi-Final in the Grand Final, with the winner of that game winning the competition. Note that Semi-Final, Preliminary Final and Grand Final are the terms used by the system's inventors, while "Page playoff game" and "Final" used in sports like curling are unnecessary neologisms of unknown origin.[who?]
This system gives the top two teams a double chance, meaning that they can lose a game and still go on to win the title, producing a similar effect to a double-elimination tournament. This gives the top two teams a significant advantage over the next two, since winning the title from third or fourth place requires defeating every other team in the playoffs. For example, in 12 years at The Brier, 12 years at the Tournament of Hearts and one year at the Worlds, only thrice, at the 2000, 2008 and 2009 Tournament of Hearts has the third- or fourth-placed team won the tournament. However, to ensure that the first-placed team does get some advantage for finishing at the top of the pack, that team is often given a home-ice advantage; since curling teams rarely play national or international tournaments at their home rink, the advantage in curling is that the first-placed team is given the hammer (last rock) in the first end, which is a reasonable advantage between comparably skilled teams.
In the 2008 World Women's Curling championship, a modified Page Playoff system was introduced which added another round. The loser of the 3-4 game (Switzerland) played against the loser of the "semifinal" game (Japan) for the bronze medal instead of the loser of the semifinal game (Japan) being awarded the bronze directly. This was also introduced at the national level at the 2011 Scotties Tournament of Hearts and the 2011 Tim Hortons Brier.
The first-ever use of the system was in Australia in 1931 after the Victorian Football League (since renamed the Australian Football League) adopted it. The regular season ended with Geelong winning the minor premiership, followed by Richmond, Carlton and Collingwood. As September rolled around the playoffs proceeded as follows:
|Semi-Finals||Preliminary Final||Grand Final|
|2||Richmond||15.9 99||2||Richmond||7.6 48|
|1||Geelong||11.17 83||1||Geelong||9.14 68|
1. The scores above are given in the standard Australian Rules football format: number of goals first, then number of behinds and then number of points. Goals are worth six points and behinds one. In most games, the number of scoring shots by each team is an accurate reflection of the play while the breakdown of goals and behinds shows their accuracy in kicking for goal.
2. The terms used above for the three rounds ― though different from those used by sports like curling ― are the original terms given to the games by the system's Australian inventors and therefore are the proper terms in the system.
Page playoff results from the 2004 Nokia Brier:
|1||Nova Scotia||7||1||Nova Scotia||10|
|3||Newfoundland and Labrador||5|
Page playoff, including a bronze medal match, from the 2011 Scotties Tournament of Hearts.
|Page playoff system||Semifinal||Final|
|Bronze Medal Game|
Players and fans alike have had a mixed reaction to the system. Broadcasters also enjoy it as it produces one more game than the single elimination format.
- For a detailed history of the evolution and development of the finals system used by the Victorian Football League (VFL) and, later, by the Australian Football League (AFL) see Early VFL Final systems and McIntyre System.
- International Softball Federation. Technical & Venue Manual (PDF). Retrieved March 23, 2006
- Dalla Costa, Morris (March 3, 2006). Page playoff system prompts much debate. London Free Press.
- Soudog's Curling History Site. 1996 Scott Tournament of Hearts. Retrieved March 23, 2006.
- Fischer Random Chess Email Club. FRCEC’s Annual Championship Tournament. Retrieved March 23, 2006.
- New Horizons Backgammon. New Horizon Ladder Super League. Retrieved March 23, 2006.
- Canadian Curling Association. Archived Statistical Summaries. Retrieved March 24, 2006.