Remember the Miracle on Ice? Of course you do. It’s the biggest upset in sports. Well, in a one game situation it is.
Arguably the biggest upset in sports history has happened today. Leicester City, a small and under-funded club in England, has become only the sixth team to win the championship in Premier League history. In the process, Leicester has shocked the world. No contested convention will be held here by the elite. In the Premiership, championships are settled on the field, and this completely unexpected one is for the books.
Imagine this. Say we had a relegation system in US professional sports like the rest of the world has in theirs. The top teams in AAA baseball would move up to the Major Leagues while the bottom teams would be sent to AAA. It would change everything. Now, let’s say a AAA is in the Majors. What would be the odds of them not only going into the playoffs, but winning the 2016 World Series? Impossible, right?
The official odds for Leicester City to win the Premier League in England before the season was 5000 – 1. This makes this day historic; not even the US Olympic Hockey heroes of 1980 or Buster Douglas with his defeat of Mike Tyson can come close.
So what exactly happened? In the Premier League, you play a 38 game schedule. Imagine if we had Saints football for 44 weeks in a row. Instead of having playoffs, you get three points for a win and one point for a tie. At the end of the season, whatever team has the most points is crowned as champion.
On Monday, it became mathematically impossible for London’s Tottenham Hotspur, the current second place team, to win the championship. Spurs were also trying to make history of their own by beating cross town rival Chelsea to earn their first EPL title. The crosstown rivals played to a draw, clinching the crown for Leicester City.
By the way, the other teams that have won the Premier League since its inception in the early 1990’s are financial giants Manchester United (13), Chelsea (4), Arsenal (3) and Manchester City (2) plus interlopers from 20 years ago who triumphed in a much fairer financial playing field, Blackburn Rovers (1). This year, the title talk was between Chelsea, who will probably finish 10th, and Manchester United, sitting in fifth place right now.
What makes it even more amazing is that Leicester City was playing in the third tier (think Double-A baseball), and not the second, in 2009. The Foxes earned a spot into the top division only two years ago. Stuck at the very bottom of the table last season, LCFC was points away from going back to the second division. And now they win it all! Wow!
There’s no salary cap in the Premier League, so the rich teams who bought the best player available around the world ruled the roost until today. This result will revolutionize how people look at the ‘poorer’ teams in the future.
You can’t also say that Leicester City just got lucky in a championship game. This kind of triumph is accomplished by a body of work, and the Foxes have managed to go 22-3-11 to win it all with two games to spare.
Another amazing fact is that this is Leicester’s their first top-flight title in 132 years. Even Chicago Cubs fans cannot claim that long of a title drought.
Spurs, by the way, had a 2-0 lead at the half today, and it looked like it would keep the pressure on Leicester to avoid defeat for another week. On their home pitch, Chelsea then became determined to make the Spurs earn it. The game became detestable during the end with a few ugly fouls that will be dealt with by the FA (England’s ruling version of the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and MLS).
The elation felt the United Kingdom is off the scale right now. Better not even try to have business tomorrow for this party is not going end any time soon. The little guy has risen to the top!