March 07, 2011

Parity vs. Greatness: "Winning a title in European soccer, like having fox-hunting experience or standing near Charlotte Casiraghi, is largely a matter of pedigree." - Brian Phillips of Run of Play looks at "the most important debate in sports."

posted by Mr Bismarck to soccer at 11:13 AM - 4 comments

Not a bad summary, but the smart arse tag line about pedigree is rendered meaningless when he then goes on to mention Chelsea and Man City.

/Never heard of Charlotte Casiraghi before this, and still couldn't care less.

posted by owlhouse at 10:45 PM on March 07, 2011

I hadn't either. I was glad to know Grace Kelly's looks had found another generation.

In America, when a team like the Miami Heat acquires three world-class players, it provokes a nationwide meltdown. In Europe, Real Madrid frequently leaves three world-class players on the bench.

Nicely phrased. I wasn't aware the last five Super Bowl champs didn't win a playoff game the following season. Sorry, Packer Nation.

posted by rcade at 02:21 PM on March 08, 2011

I think we're now at the point where the more carefully you follow the Miami Heat, the closer you get to knowing who Charlotte Casiraghi is.

Nothing like a heady tattlin' brew of royalty, drama, and intrigue to help get you through the day.

posted by beaverboard at 03:43 PM on March 08, 2011

The writer talks about the national top divisions where two to four teams always dominate, but not about the Champions League which has much more parity. Also the single table league format tends to reward the best team overall whereas the American playoff system is a bit more random in determining a champion.

European soccer is a bit more like NCAA football and basketball: the European clubs are a bit like the American universities: independent entities, with the top dogs tending to rake in the most cash and championships without any concern for parity.

It's not a perfect comparison, though, since with constant conference realignment for the purposes of taking in more TV revenue, NCAA sports are a bit of an anarchic free-for-all compared to the European soccer pyramid structure where you rise or fall based solely on how well you perform on the field, rather than due to business negotiations.

Since university sports teams can't move to another city like they do in American pro sports, they have built up the kind of loyalty over a century or more of existence which European clubs have also built up. Imagine the NCAA run as a pro sports league where you don't lose your players to graduation or the draft, and you have some inkling of the local loyalty that keeps small European clubs alive even when they have no chance of winning anything.

posted by dave2007 at 04:18 AM on March 09, 2011

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