Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Who are the "World Champs"?

On November 1, 2010 the San Francisco Giants defeated the Texas Rangers and were subsequently crowned “World Champs” by the media and the online world. On June 17, 2010 the Los Angeles Lakers celebrated a game seven victory over the Boston Celtics, adding another “World Champions” banner to the Staples Center rafters. On February 6,2011, along with being the most watched TV program in his history, the NFL celebrated new Superbowl Champions: The Green Bay Packers. I immediately drove to Green Bay to find the headline of the Green Bay Gazette display: “World Champs”. However, following their win over the Philadelphia Flyers on June 9, 2010, the Chicago Blackhawks raised a banner that read: “2010 Stanley Cup Champions”.

I’ve lived in three different countries, visited 13 in total and have attended many professional sports games – Which got me wondering – when should your favorite team call themselves World Champs and when should they simply enjoy being named the Champs of their perspective league?

The Golden Rule: If another country in the world has a professional league for your sport, you CAN’T call yourself World Champs!

But Reuven, American sports are the best in the world. Isn’t that enough? No. The big 4 (MLB, NHL, NFL, NBA) may have the best players in the world, the most resources, the highest TV ratings, and the most sponsorship dollars, but that alone can’t justify crowning yourself World Champs. If that was the case, the miracle on ice wouldn’t have happened because the Russians were the best in the world – so why did we waste our time and effort playing them? because miracles happen, and the only way American teams will ALWAYS be better than other teams is if they never get a chance to play them.

Still not buying it? the current NBA champions are the LA Lakers. The current Euroleague champion is Barcelona. Clearly the Spanish club wouldn’t stand a chance vs the flashy Lakers…. right? wrong! on October 7th, 2010, Barcelona defeated the Lakers with a score of 92 – 88. Basketball is the #2 most popular sport in the world! The NBA is going global by the minute! Give the world a chance, champs!

But Reuven, Baseball is an American sport, and we are the best league. Isn’t that enough? No. You wouldn’t say that Americans have the best apple pie in the world and no apple pie from another country would ever trump it, would you? (If you would, call me and ill perform a blind taste test for you). Have you ever visited Japan and witnessed their obsession with Baseball? Do you know that Cuba won the most “Baseball World Cups”? – Baseball has become a popular sport on a global level, and just because the MLB champion is supposed to beat any other team, that may not always be the case. (If it was, we would crown the Yankees “World Champions” every single year)

But Reuven, what about the NFL? Are they World Champions? Yes! I think it’s okay to call the Superbowl winner “World Champions”. While many countries are intrigued by the concept of American Football, the NFL remains the major fully developed league. Countries like Switzerland, Russia, Israel are all getting their toes wet with club teams and amateur leagues but clearly they would not be ready for even an exhibition game. What about the CFL? I wouldn’t mind seeing something done between the Superbowl winner and the champion of the Canadian Football League – so I will leave you with this question: Am I breaking the Golden Rule by calling the Packers “World Champs”? or is the NFL so much more developed than any other league that it’s ok to crown them champs?


  1. I understand your basketball argument. After all, it was a huge deal that coach k came in and brought back American basketball. For the MLB I don't mind the world series champions being called World Champs. Even Japan is crazy about baseball I still don't think they could compete because the best baseball players from that country are in the MLB. And if you took the best japan baseball team against the world series champions, those Japanese players couldn't play cuz it's league vs league and not country vs country. Finally, green bay packers are world champions and the CFL couldn't compete because who's rules would you use. NFL and CFL have many different rules-also this goes for NBA vs Euro. Nevertheless I thought it was interesting

    -Jared Werner

  2. Thanks for your comment!

    I wouldn't argue that the MLB champs will probably win in a worldwide competition, but I still would like to see such competition take place before they are crowned "World Champs." Otherwise, just call them MLB Champs - if the MLB is indeed the best league in the world, then that title should be enough. I just dont think anyone should be called world champs without a game against a global country

  3. Even in soccer, where the best teams clearly come from Europe has a competition where the best club from Europe (as decided by the UEFA Champions League) plays a game vs a team from the Americas to determine a "world champion"


  4. True. Very true. For me I never called the Packers world champs. Being super champs is good enough for me. Take college for example. Always crowned NCAA champions, never world champs. It should always be the organization that your champions of. NFL champs, MLB champs, etc

  5. Great point, Reuven!
    A team has a right to be called "World Champions" only if this team won in a World Championship, competing with teams from other countries in the world. That'e simple.
    So, you are absolutely right.

  6. Very true,

    I always was angered when sports leagues would call their players and teams the "best in the world." My dad is up in the big offices for the Professional Bull Riders, and every time I went to a Rodeo championship, I was infuriated when they called their bull-riders the world champions when the PBR clearly held the best. But as Mr. Werner stated, how can you compare the two when rules can be different? I suppose if you wanted to have a global tournament, it would require a general acceptance among all of the leagues.

    Yours Truly, Devon.