In our last blog post, with the Super Bowl approaching, we compared the regular seasons of the NFL and the Premier League. Our argument was that the Premier League's season was better than the NFL. After all, you did not really have to watch much NFL football during the regular season; the existence of playoffs makes the regular season less important to watch.
And yet, when it comes to sports, Americans are geared to think about playoffs. We are used to regular seasons feeding into playoffs. A champion is always decided in the final game of the playoff/season.
Last year, we had friends who were so confused about how Leicester City won their title. One of us was asked how Leicester could win the title when they still had matches to play in their season. It was really baffling to them that they could win the title while partying at Jamie Vardy's house.
Of course, it's because there is no playoff. Because there is no playoff, every single Premier League match has equal value toward crowning the league's champion. This is something that no sports league with a playoff can claim.
It's also why it's mid-February and you are watching Premier League soccer this weekend.
In this 2016-17 season, all of us neutrals are feeling a little disappointed. Chelsea FC is coasting to the league title, it seems, which might create another early crowning of a champion (can you imagine a party at Diego Costa's house?).
It's leading some to want a Premier League playoff, including one of our favorite American commentators:
This idea of a playoff was further promoted by Men in Blazers -- heroes of this particular podcast. To hear them not only like Alexi Lalas' tweet about playoffs but also to envision what playoff matchups would look like was devastating.
A Premier League playoff would do the same thing to the Premier League as playoffs do to any other league with one. It means that we don't have to watch playoff teams play during the regular season. Playoff teams' games have minimal importance until the playoffs.
Wouldn't you much rather watch 38 meaningful games (like you do now) than to only have 3 that truly matter in an 8-team playoff?
Thankfully, it is unlikely that the Premier League will cave to playoff pressure any time soon. As the American market becomes more and more influential in the sport, however, the more that playoff pressure will exist.
It's one thing for us to envision what a non-playoff system would look like in our American sports leagues. When someone takes our favorite non-playoff league and suggests that playoffs be added, we start to fight.
Do us a favor. Think outside the box. Embrace the long season that matters. Enjoy the countdown to the crowning of a champion during the season. Keep watching the regular season. After all, it truly matters.