Tuesday, September 1, 2009

El Chupa Rants: MLS Parity, Marketshare, and Strippers

By El Chupa

As promised, here is an account of parity in the MLS this season, and my thoughts about why the MLS can go suck it.
To begin, allow El Chupa to rant. Great job MLS! You've raised the least common denominator in the league to the point where only one or two teams truly suck, but most teams are all pretty much the same. Plus, they all pretty much have the same chance of getting into the Playoffs and most of them WILL get into the playoffs. What incentive is there, then, for a team to acquire first rate talent and coaching? NONE! Parity, when it is a result of each team struggling mightily to be better than the others is one thing; parity when it is a result of an entire league rigged to reward mediocrity is something else: it's called Major League Soccer.

As the chart above indicates, through last weekend's games, 11 teams have earned 31 pts or more. The top two teams in each conference plus the next best six teams regardless of conference make the playoffs. The word on the street is that the current minimum number to qualify for the playoffs is 33. As the numbers suggest, 11 of the 15 teams in the league currently still have a shot at the playoffs. Let's think about this for a minute, shall we?

First, the playoff system is a joke. It's driven solely by the interest in generating revenue not the logic of sport and certainly not the logic of the beautiful game. Explain to me why over HALF of the teams in the league should qualify for the playoffs? Such a system insures that average and even mediocre teams get "rewarded" by additional games. Further, the EPL has no playoff system, La Liga has no playoff system, the Bundesliga has no playoff system. Why? Because it makes no freaking sense, that's why. In the MLS, after 30 games, including home and away against every other team in the league, it's clear who's the best team in the league in any given year: the team with the most points! Duh!

But it gets worse, the third column of the chart (PAA) indicates how many points above the league average (Points Above Average) each team has earned thus far. Notice that the top four have each achieved a respectable number of PAA. But notice also that seven teams are only within one or two points of the league average. No bell curve for MLS, we want everyone to be the same: average! Yay! We have the most mediocre league in the world! A bad call here (and there a lot of them in the MLS), an unlucky bounce there, and practically the entire league would be the same.

But it gets still worse. Look at the last column in the chart or points earned per game. Notice anything? How about the fact that a full 13 teams are within one point, or one draw, of each other. Read it two ways. One, the chart clearly shows that regardless of how many games each team has played (the more games, the more potential PTS, remember, so this column makes up for the fact that not every team has played the same number of games) virtually every team earns about the same number of PTS/GM as every other; indeed, the difference among 11 of the teams is negligible. Two, this means that when these teams play each other, each team has pretty much the same chance of coming away with 1 to 3 PTS as every other team. Look at the win-loss ratio. The average number of wins is 8, the average number of losses is 8. Most teams are within 1 or at most 2 W/L of the average. If the team was comprised of 15 Man Us, or 15 Barcas, it would be one thing. But we've got a league of 13 teams who would get carved apart by Portsmouth, currently at the bottom of the standings in the EPL, and two who are so awful they might get carved apart by the teams in USL 1.

The bottom line of course is, does parity equal good football? We think not. Unlike our friends at MLS.Talk, we think parity is bullshit and a symptom of just how far the MLS has its head up its ass. Allow El Chupa to rant a bit further.

The MLS has got to quit marketing to American Sports Fans and start marketing more to American SOCCER Fans. We don't drink Bud Light, we don't want cheerleaders at the games, we don't want two conferences which completely distort how the teams really compare to one another. We don't want a bullshit playoff where lame-ass teams who are incapable of playing exciting, creative, beautiful football get rewarded with more TV time and more TV revenue. Hey, MLS! You're losing TV marketshare to the European leagues. Hey, MLS! You're losing TV marketshare to the South American leagues. Why? Because we know better you twits! Why should I watch some dismal game between two mediocre MLS teams when I can watch a much better match from Europe or S.A. on FSC, GOL, Setanta, or their Spanish-language sister stations?

We want a single freaking table! We want relegation to the USL! We want at most four teams in the playoffs if we have to have a playoff just to keep the league afloat. And for the love of God, microbrews, and country, get rid of the Crewzers! High School and certainly College cheerleaders are actual athletes; professional cheerleaders are strippers without poles and far too many clothes on. Give me a break.

1 comment:

Graham said...

You are out of your mind. Get off your high horse