What sport would logically follow the pattern above. If it was an SAT or ACT question then maybe it would be MLB, MLS, or NHL. Or possibly Golf, Tennis, or NASCAR. Maybe Australian Style Rugby, Bowling, or Curling. Possibly, Horse Racing, Cricket, or Water Polo. No matter what all of the sports listed really don't interest me. I will watch some of the Masters and the other majors...but really only when Tiger or Lefty are in contention. I might catch an Angel or Tiger game occasionally. My sons like to GO to hockey games but not watch them on TV. I did watch a few World Cup games. The Williams sisters are interesting because they are talented and have some personality. I like to bowl. Only seen a few horse races and unsure what the difference is between rugby, curling, or cricket. I do know that curling involves some janitors scrubbing and sweeping ice while a big teapot slides down the ice. I think this came from Canada. Here is hoping that Hockey stays the official sport of our neighbors up north.
As you can see, we have 4 basic sport groups that are required to have a healthy sports diet. They are football and basketball at both the college and sport levels. First and foremost, the main sport is and will probably remain the NFL. In the last 50 years, no matter what controversies there may have been in football, whether off field violence, some minor strikes in the 80's, NFC dominated Super Bowls in the mid 80's to mid 90's, untimely and early deaths of former players, violent hits on the field, and the list could go on-this sport runs deep into our collective souls. I am unabashedly a Detroit Lions fan living in California. I live and die by their performance. Though lately, I do not measure their success (or my life and death) by the scoreboard because I would have attended 24 of my own funerals by now. I think of success for the Lions in practical terms like "hey, Matt Stafford didn't get hurt today" or "we only had 2 turnovers." In the NFL, everyone's team to them are like the Yankees or the Red Sox or the Celtics and the Lakers. I mean I see the faithful fans of teams like the Bills hang tough in bad weather, bad drafts, and coaching changes-never wavering of their support. In other sports that are not football, very few teams really have the support of the millions of NFL fans. The proof is pretty much in the Super Bowl. It has surpassed what Lamar Hunt and the owners of the 60's thought it would be. To be honest, Vince Lombardi might be rolling over in his grave, but that first Sunday in February is running neck and neck with July 4th and Halloween as the biggest holiday next to Christmas.
NCAA football is a distant second. On Sunday, most everyone stops to watch an NFL game and millions plan their weekends around the games on Sunday (plus Fantasy Teams throughout the week). On Fall Saturdays, many alumni and boosters live and die with their alma maters and colleges, but I vote for USC all the time and never went there. I have always voted for them from Pat Haden and Anthony Davis to Matt Leinert and Reggie Bush (I still think they were hosed by the NCAA penalties), but when USC loses I may shed a tear. When the Lions lose, I mourn. As you probably know, I spend alot of time mourning. But after I get over my sadness, a new feeling of hope arises and I think that the Lions will be victorious the following Sunday. So NCAA football is exciting and fun to watch, but as where the NFL really doesn't have any true weaknesses in their product other than it is not on all year round, NCAA football really doesn't understand how to crown a winner. Does the Armadillo Bowl or Save the Otter Bowl have the same importance as the Frito Lay/Michelob/Chevrolet/Subway National Championship Bowl called the Rose/Fiesta/Orange/Sugar bowls? Come on NCAA guys, get the playoff going. You know America will watch on Saturday because, DUH it is football. Try to mimic the NFL as much as you can because they usually get it...right now they are having a slight brain fart due to the lock out.
NBA and NCAA Basketball. Both very entertaining at 2 specific times of the year. From April to June, the NBA is relevant and we want it to be a stars league. Let's be honest when looking at the potential championship matchup no one wants San Antonio or Dallas. It is the Lakers and some day probably the Thunder. And in the East, you can't go wrong with the Celtics, Bulls, Heat, or even the Magic given the superstars on each team. The Celtics and Heat have more known stars but Derek Rose of the Bulls and Dwight Howard of the Magic are actually two of the better players around...just remember though when the NBA season starts most fans don't know it because the juggernaut NFL is rolling fast and furious in October. The NBA probably understands that until the 1st Sunday in February, they will be a way distant second banana to football.
Now, I love NCAA basketball and March Madness. Last second shots, great point guards, upsets of top seeds, bracketology BUT if you moved the tournament to some time during football season well then I would miss all the last second shots, great point guards, upsets of top seeds and bracketology because I would be watching NFL football and find that a collision between Clay Matthews and Calvin Johnson in the middle of a blowout in the 3rd quarter is still music to my ears. Music at the level of the Beatles, Elvis, Sinatra, or the Stones. NCAA basketball would be Buddy Holly, the Beach Boys, Tony Bennett, and the Peter, Paul and Mary. Great musicians and singers but not the iconic brands like Paul, Ringo and the boys, Mr. Presley, ol Blue Eyes, and Mick and the band. If the NFL and NCAA basketball played at the same time, have the college athletes play at halftime of NFL games.
So as you can see, in the world of sports, reigning supreme is the NFL and they will continue to do so unless there is some nasty damage done during the lockout. The prince in this world is NCAA football because some of them become pros. NBA basketball and NCAA basketball would be a duke or a high ranking official. MLB would be some boring advisor to the king. NHL would be the security force or bodyguards. Golf would be the royal judiciary or scholars. NASCAR would be the knights and Tennis would be the royal pillow fluffers or gardeners.
No one is going to catch the NFL in popularity unless it is some central religious figure OR in an alternate universe Charlie Sheen.