Sports fans are familiar with the bracket that shows off how teams got from their playoff berths to the championship of their league.
Hyperakt has created an alternative — the Champions Ring, which depicts playoffs not from left to right on a bracket (or from outside to inside in the case of the 68-team NCAA basketball bracket), but from the outside to the middle of a ring. The initial participants are on the outside, with each survivor moving to the next inner ring on the way to the middle, the championship.
Let’s start with the 2010 NFL season, culminating in Super Bowl XLV:
Moving from outside left to inside, Green Bay (in dark green) beat Philadelphia (in “midnight green”) 21–16, then beat Atlanta (in red) 48–21, then beat Chicago (in orange) 21–14, then beat Pittsburgh (in gold) 31–25.
The same concept applies for the 1996 season, which ended with the Super Bowl XXXI title:
Since the NFL and the American Football League didn’t merge until the 1970 season, HyperAkt shows the NFL playoffs in 1966 …
… and 1967:
The Brewers got to the World Series in 1982 …
… and the National League Championship Series last season:
The one downside to this form is that you can’t easily tell who the higher seeds were in each of the matchups. In brackets, the home or higher-seeded team is usually listed on the bottom. The remarkable thing about the Packers’ Super Bowl XLV win was that they had to win three road games just to get to the Super Bowl, which meant they were the lower-seeded team in every game. In contract, the Packers were the number one seed in the 1996 season, which is how they got two home games in the NFC playoffs.
One aesthetic note (because you know I’m interested in aesthetics) is about the creators’ choice of colors. The Packers are of course in dark green. (That’s even though the Packers went back and forth between navy blue — because Curly Lambeau attended Notre Dame — and green until Vince Lombardi came to town.) So are the Bucks, even though the Bucks (wrongly) deemphasized green in favor of purple in the 1990s and much of the 2000s. (That’s even though the uniforms had three shades of green — for those keeping score, forest, kelly and lime — in the ’70s and ’80s, with red part of the ensemble in the ’70s. The Bucks’ original green and red were supposed to represent, natch, the Packers and Badgers.)
The Brewers are depicted in what’s called Vegas gold (they should call it “lager gold”), even though they were royal blue and yellowgold from 1970 to 1993. The Braves are in red, even though red has always been secondary to blue in Boston, Milwaukee and Atlanta. That may say more about the excessive number of blue teams in baseball than anything else.
(The only reason the Brewers are blue, by the way, is that the Brewers inherited the blue and gold uniforms of the Seattle Pilots, which went bankrupt after their first and only season, in 1969. Brewers owner Bud Selig purchased the team so late in spring training that the Pilots-turned-Brewers had no other choice, going so far as to replace the PILOTS lettering on the front of the uniforms with BREWERS. Photos of the time reveal the old outline on the uniforms. The franchise’s colors really should be black, for dark beer; gold, for lager; and cream, either for the head or for Milwaukee’s nickname as the Cream City.)