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The Beauty of Relegation.

dncc

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This weekend's match between Everton and Liverpool wasn't a great example of the beauty of relegation but it was close. And it was likely better than if there was no relegation issue looming over Everton. For those who don't know, in the English premier league, the bottom 3 clubs are relegated...they are kicked out of the Premier League. They are replaced by 3 other clubs who are "promoted" from what we would call the minor-leagues in the US. Imagine the Toledo Mudhens taking the spot of the Arizona Diamondbacks. In the EPL...Club rankings are based on points. A club gets 3 points for a win, one point for a tie and no points for a loss. Everton is in the bottom three. This is massive news in the world of English football because Everton is a huge club both in terms of capitalization and heritage....founded in 1878. Currently they are 2 points behind Burnley with six games to play.

It was sort of funny this weekend because Everton was doing everything they could to delay the game and get, at least, a tie and get the one point. Most of us call it "flopping" but in the EPL they call it "simulation". Of the twelve times EPL refs have carded players for simulation this year, 1/2 of the time they were wearing Everton kits. Sunday was no exception. The clock doesn't stop for injuries although the referee can add injury time to the end of a half (it rarely translates into more time added than wasted). Thus more flopping=less chance for the opponents to score goals. https://www.si.com/fannation/soccer...low-cards-for-diving-given-to-everton-players. There was another hilarious (to me anyway) time where the goalkeeper caught the ball on a shot, cradled it in both arms, demonstrably dropped to his knees...then a second or two later...fell face forward, resting his gingy head on the ball as if it were a pillow. The announcer said, "At this point, I'm surprised he didn't ask the official to come check the air pressure in the ball."

I said all of that to say this. Yes...Everton dogged it. And, in a rare act of karma, they lost 2-0. But on April 6, they played Burnley and lost 3-2--which, if they had tied, they'd be even at this point. Think about how it would have been without relegation looming over both clubs like the sword of Damocles. Picture the Texans playing the Redskins...two teams that have been out of the playoffs since September, neither team cares, both teams are hoping to lose to get a higher draft pick instead of fighting for survival. I know there is no way relegation ever flies in the NFL but it would be interesting to see a club fight for it's survival instead of owners like the McNairs and Daniel Snyder who haven't cared about winning on the field since they came into the NFL.
 
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