So the Superbowl was on last week and it got me thinking... well, actually the letter to the Times that I'm now repeating almost verbatim got me thinking...
...this years Superbowl featured the Pittsburgh Steelers vs Seattle Seahawks - which is a little like Tottenham playing Birmingham City in the FA Cup Final. And I dare say that two completely different teams will be matched up at the end of the next American Football season. And two more teams after that. Thanks largely to a system where all clubs are more or less equal - all team shirts are made by the same company and are free of corporate sponsor logos and the like; the players are all subject to a salary cap, which means you can pay a star player all you like, but only if all the other players on the team agree to take a cut in pay - which is fairly unlikely. And the worst performing teams each year get the first choice in draft picks at the start of the next, which as well as ensuring that teams will get success by actually playing better than other, evenly matched teams, stops the disturbing trend in European football where sugar daddies are allowed to throw money at problems until they get results.
What results is a fairer league where predicting the eventual winner at midseason is far trickier.
Compare this to the state of the English league where 3 or 4 teams have been allowed to dominate league and cup competitions for the past decade and a half. And where as far back as late 2005, saying Chelsea weren't going to win the league would prompt disbelieving laughter.
I know I'd probably watch football more if the league was structured along NFL lines - teams in the league are split into 2 conferences - the top 4 teams in each conference go into a playoff competition at the end of the league and the eventual winner is king of the castle.
And essentially, the best player of the year gets a big shiny new car - that's what swung it for me.