Posts tagged NFL
Posts tagged NFL
Football and futbol are enjoyed all over the world at the professional and amateur level although they are structured differently.
Professional Football Structure
Football’s foremost professional league is known as the National Football League, or NFL (shown below.) The league consists of 32 teams. There are two Conferences, American and National (just like baseball) who each have four divisions: North, South, East, and West. Each division has four teams.
Example: The AFC West contains the Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders, and San Diego Chargers. The NFC East contains the Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, and Washington Redskins.
Only division opponents play each other home and away every season. The season lasts 17 weeks, teams have 16 games and one off or “bye” week.
Each team aspires to make the playoffs and compete for a Super Bowl. The playoffs consist of six teams from each conference. Each division champion earns an automatic berth in the playoffs, and each conference receives two Wild Card berths. A Wild Card team can be from any division in the conference, usually the two with the best win-loss record. Tiebreakers are usually decided by the record in head to head matchups (Games against each other or common opponents.)
The playoffs are seeded 1-6. The top two seeds receive a “bye” in the tournament, they do not have an opening round game. Seeds 3-6 play each other (No. 3 plays No. 6; No. 4 plays No. 5) and the winners play the top two seeds in the conference semifinals. The winners of that advance to the conference championship game, the winners of the conference championship game play in the Super Bowl.
Example: The New York Giants were the NFC East champions and No. 4 seed. They defeated the Atlanta Falcons, the No. 5 seed, the No. 1 seed Green Bay Packers, and No. 2 seed San Francisco 49ers. The Giants then defeated the New England Patriots, the No. 1 seed in the AFC East, in the Super Bowl.
Professional Futbol Structure
In futbol, a professional league of some sort exists in almost every country. There is much debate over what league is the best, and it changes over time. For our purposes, I will use the professional leagues in England as a comparison.
The foremost professional league in England is known as the Barclays Premier League, or English Premier League. It contains 20 teams from across England and, for the first time since its inception in 1995, Wales (Swansea City.)
The Premier League is England’s top tier of professional futbol. Futbol leagues in most countries use a tier system and do not organize into divisions a the highest level. In England, the second tier is known as the Championship, the third is League One, the fourth is League Two, the fifth is the Conference National. There are eight tiers total.
These tiers use a “table” to organize their standings. The “table” compiles all the results (wins-losses-draws), goals forced, and goals conceded and ranks each team according to points (three for a win, one for a draw, zero for a loss.) Ties are broken by goal differential (goals forced - goals conceded = goal differential.)
Example: Manchester United has a record of 5-1-2 +12. They have 17 points and have scored 12 more goals than they have conceded.
Each team plays each other once at home and away, so the season consists of 38 games.
Futbol also has “promotion” and “relegation,” determined by results. The bottom three teams in the Premier League are “relegated” to the Championship at the end of the season. Conversely, the top two teams in the Championship gain automatic “promotion,” moving up a tier, to the Premier League. The third team is determined by playoff between the teams who finish third through sixth.
Example: Wigan, Wolverhampton, and Bolton finished 18th, 19th, and 20th in the Premier League and were relegated to the Championship.
Norwich, Queen’s Park Rangers, and Swansea (through the playoffs) earned promotion to the Premier League from the Championship.
In the Premier League, there are two principal objectives for the best teams:
1. Win the Premier League by finishing with the most points at the end of the season.
2. Qualify for the Champions League, a competition with Europe’s top teams. The top four finishers earn an berth. The third and fourth place teams have to play qualification matches.
1. Manchester United 5-1-2 +12, 17 points (Champion and automatic qualifier)
2. Chelsea 5-2-1 +10, 16 points (Automatic qualifier)
3. Arsenal 4-1-3 +10 15 points (Must play qualification match)
4. Liverpool 4-2-2 +8 14 points (Must play qualification match)