Manchester City and the English Premier League Shows American Sports How It Should Be Done
Keep the regular season valuable and crown TRUE champions.
Yesterday, as you’re aware of, the English Premier League ended their season.
You’re aware of it because unlike many sports of traditional American appeal, the Premier League seemed to be on every channel in the United States Sunday morning.
Manchester City, not to be confused with Manchester United, finished their season with 14 straight victories to edge Liverpool by a point to win the Premier League championship.
There’s no championship game like a Super Bowl in the Premier League. There’s no wild cards. The champ is the team that finished first.
But Manchester City’s winning streak and the way they won their fourth straight championship in eight years and second straight overall has captured the attention of the world in a way the New England Patriots could never dream of.
Manchester City has 17 million Facebook followers, or double what the New York Yankees and Dallas Cowboys have.
There’s a lesson to be learned here.
It’s that expanding playoffs destroy the regular season. And if there is less interest in the regular season, then there is less interest in your sport.
By embarking on a 14-game winning streak to win the championship, Manchester City has brought to American sports fans the memories of great baseball pennant races decided on the last day of the season, such as the Atlanta Braves’ 1993 National League West Division championship when they beat out San Francisco.
But now, with the expanded playoff field, what was the last memorable pennant race? The 2011 race had four teams going to the wild card on the final day of the season, including the Braves, but there’s a lack of luster when the pennant race is about collapsing in to third rather than winning a title with a clear view of a championship.
The next year baseball expanded their playoff field even further, sending the signal it’s okay to finish third.
It’s hard to get excited about seeding. There were two tie breaker games played last year to conclude the Major League…