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?