Each year in football, we are given a contest of a very special kind. The Battle for Last Place. There are some epic battles of teams tanking the season so they can get LeBron (How’d that work out for you, Cleveland?), Sidney Crosby or Stephen Strasburg. I really don’t like this and I don’t like rewarding teams with the worst records with having the higher draft picks. I knew some Lions fans that used to console themselves when their team did bad because at least they knew they would get good draft picks (which would have worked if they didn’t have such an incompetent staff).
I really don’t like how some teams face losing. Some of them legitimately have the desire to be the best. They just don’t have the right people in place making the decision: Cowboys (with their unqualified GM), Bengals (the genius who decided on TO & Ochocinco on the same team), Mets (who have removed those who weren’t getting the job done), just to name a few. And then there are those who exist to make a quick buck. The Marlins come to mind first and foremost. This is a team that does a fire sale every year in the hopes that they will make the biggest buck. As a Phillies fan, I appreciate the one less challenge, but I would like to beat the Marlins when their team is trying. Besides, Logan Morrison is one of my favorite personalities on Twitter.
English Football (our soccer) does this. I’m not sure if it would work in the states, and what sports it would work in, but it definitely needs to be something to look at. That is nothing more than “Relegation.” This is a practice of European football. The last 3 teams are sent to a lower league. The top 3 teams in the lower league are sent up to the higher league.
That’s crazy. Yes, it is crazy. But let’s take a look at some sports where it could work:
1. Baseball- This sport is already made for relegation. Since Pittsburgh already acts like a farm team for the New York Yankees, let’s let them do that. I understand that the Farm System works and I’m not necessarily saying let’s do away with it. But maybe we need to look at sending the Nationals down to the minors, since their team is already a minor league team in a major league stadium. Why not let the Durham Bulls get their crack in the majors? Goodness knows, their 88-55 record earned a spot in the majors more than the 57-105 Pirates. I know we’d have to completely revamp the minors system, but why not? Why not threaten the MLB owners that if they are the bottom 3, they’re replaced by a lower league’s top 3? Let’s make it exciting.
2. Hockey-see baseball
3. College sports-Now, again, I know these divisions are not so simple. I know that there are academic standards and such. But if you take a look at 1-12 San Jose State, how do they deserve to be in the top division? What about New Mexico, Akron & Memphis (all 1-11)? Let’s give Eastern Washington a chance to get in the mix. What about Delaware? They gave us Joe Flacco. How about Villanova? Rememeber when Appalachian State beat Michigan and could do no wrong?
Sports, above all else, loves its Cinderella stories. What better way to get one than relegation?