Monday, April 21, 2008
In America we cater to one main thing in sports, a champion. We want their to be a single champion for each of our major sports. We want that champion to fight through the regular season and into the postseason. We want that champion to go through the ringer and finish the season raising the trophy above their head as they defeat their final opponent. And this is where European Soccer tradition comes in stark conflict with American beliefs.
Unlike in American sports the biggest trophy in English Soccer is not decided on a single game or a single series but rather the entire regular season. The very idea of the regular season alone without a postseason wouldn't fly in America. Can you imagine taking away the drama of the superbowl? Can you imagine how boring the 2007 NFL season would have been if we had simply handed the Patriots the title which they would have clinched when they went 14-0 or handed the Celtics the title a few weeks ago. It wouldn't work, but that is how it's done in England. But it gets worse.
Currently two teams are vying for the Premiership title, Manchester United and Chelsea with Manchester United currently 3 points up on points (3 points for a win 1 point for a draw). The two teams face off next week at Stamford Bridge the home of Chelsea for what could put Chelsea in a position to tie for 1st place but alas that is not how it works. If Chelsea wins this weekend to tie for 1st they still would need Manchester United to falter in their final two games in order to take home the trophy. Why? Because the English tie-breaking system does not involve actually playing games on the field. Unlike, last year when the Rockies and Padres offered up a thrilling game for who would make the playoffs, the Premiership simply looks at the stats and hands over the title. Thus because Manchester United has a better goal differential this season than Chelsea, if the two finish in a tie at the end of the season, the coveted Premiership trophy will be handed over to the Reds. This shit would not fly in America.