Saturday, December 22, 2012

Another Reason I Love English Premier League Soccer

I'm downstairs in the Command Center* of the Catican Compound, wearing my Jonas Gutierrez jersey, drinking coffee from my Newcastle United mug, awaiting the start of what will be one of the most important games of the year for the Magpies. Today, #15 Newcastle plays #19 QPR. Two teams having terrible years are going at it and for me, it's as exciting as a playoff game.

There are 20 teams in the EPL. At the end of the season, the bottom three are "relegated" to the league below and the top 3 teams from that league are "promoted" to the EPL. If the NFL did this, the Cleveland Browns would have been sent to the NCAA a long time ago and Alabama would be playing in the NFL. Relegation makes almost all games interesting. You rarely get teams laying down and playing dead because their seasons don't mean anything. Today's match between Newcastle and QPR has big implications.

Last year was a great one for Newcastle. They finished high enough to qualify for one of the European tournaments and the extra wear of those games combined with a rash of injuries has wrecked what was already a very thin team. This year it's a fight for survival and I'm passionately rooting for players I hoped I'd never see take the field.

Philadelphia Eagles fans should be so lucky.

Update: Newcastle won on a goal by Shola Ameobi in the 81st minute. Hurrah!

Howay the lads!
* - Well, it's the family room, really, but it's where the TV is, so if you look at it the right way it's kind of like those video screen-infested command centers in Hollywood action films.

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