What would be the more amazing run to a championship? Leicester City or Syracuse?
On the one hand, Leicester City is a team nobody EVER thought would win a Premier League title. They are a small town, low budget team competing in a world of some of the deepest pockets in sports with the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool and the like. This isn’t the Kansas City Royals or Houston Astros rising to the top of Major League Baseball and winning the World Series. This is more like the Rochester Red Wings doing it.
On the other hand, Syracuse is a national power in college basketball. The Orange has been to the Final Four several times. They have played in the National Championship Game three times and won it all in 2003. But they were not up to usual Syracuse standards at all this year. Many thought they did not deserve a berth in the NCAA Tournament. Yet, here they are, two games away from winning it all. And now, they look like a team that may actually do it. They have have from behind late in the last two games. So even if they get down, they are never out.
Syracuse and Leicester City have both made the argument for and against the main difference between European Football and American sports. That would be the playoffs.
There is no playoffs in the Premier League so Leicester has had to be consistently great all season to win the title. So far they have been. All season people have been waiting for them to come back to earth. Last season they were fighting to stay in the Premier League after a ten-year absence, so it was just a matter of time. But behind players such as Hardy who is having the season of his life, they are for real.
Syracuse is a team that did just barely enough to qualify for the playoffs and then caught some breaks, such as drawing Dayton in the first round, the team that knocked them out of the last NCAA Tournament they appeared in, and then Michigan State, the number one seed in their bracket, went down before they were supposed to play them.
The football fan would argue that Syracuse winning a championship is what is wrong with having playoffs. A team is mediocre all year long and then gets on a hot streak? But that same argument is why an American fan loves playoffs. Teams are never really out of it, even if it appears they are.
Imagine if there were playoffs in the Premier League. Would you bet against Manchester City? Manchester United? Liverpool? Arsenal? Tottenham? Would you pick Leicester City?
We still have to wait and see if one or both of these teams wins a championship before deciding which run has been more amazing. But if both do, who would you choose?