Leicester City’s title is the most impressive in all of sports

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - MAY 07: Captain Wes Morgan and manager Claudio Ranieri of Leicester City lift the Premier League Trophy after the Barclays Premier League match between Leicester City and Everton at The King Power Stadium on May 7, 2016 in Leicester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
LEICESTER, ENGLAND - MAY 07: Captain Wes Morgan and manager Claudio Ranieri of Leicester City lift the Premier League Trophy after the Barclays Premier League match between Leicester City and Everton at The King Power Stadium on May 7, 2016 in Leicester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images) /

Many people have claimed that Leicester’s City’s title run is the most impressive in all of history. Is this true?

Leicester winning the Premier League is the greatest accomplishment in the history of sports. These are the type of statements that are being thrown around in the aftermath of the Foxes triumph in this season’s Barclays Premier League title race. So putting affection, fandom, and jubilation aside, are these claims true? Is Leicester City’s season the most impressive in all of sports history? I believe so. 

In discussing this concept with several people, I have found that it’s important to eliminate all biases from discussion. Firstly, I am American, which means like it or not, I am affected by the sports systems in this country. Most of my friends are as well, though their bias is more clear.

I have grown to accept and love the English way of doing things, especially the concept of a league table. This is where my argument begins. Many events have been mentioned that are supposed to rival the feat that the Foxes achieved on Monday night. 

More from Playing for 90

One of which is the New York Giants improbable victory over the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl, the year where the Patriots were one victory away from an undefeated 19-0 season. While surely quite impressive within the realm of American sports, there are several reasons why Leicester’s triumph is far superior to that of Eli Manning’s heroic drive down the field to silence every person in Massachusetts.

First and foremost, American sports, especially football utilizes a playoff system. There are several pros and cons to a playoff system, which can be argued and discussed for infinite amounts of time. The major pro lies in the concept of entertainment value. While many people enjoy the setup of the Premier League, several Americans believe that Leicester’s win was at the very least, anti-climactic. Many would admit that these critics have a point, given the Foxes clinched the league title while partying at Jamie Vardy’s house, far away from the match that actually signified their triumph.

However, when discussing the most impressive, the highest of improbabilities, and the greatest achievements, one has to consider the best way in which to decide a winner and loser. Playoffs are great for entertainment value, but do they truly find a winner? I would argue that they don’t. 

Live Feed

Enzo Maresca hails four star Leicester players
Enzo Maresca hails four star Leicester players /

Foxes of Leicester

  • Harry Winks reveals his easy decision to join LeicesterFoxes of Leicester
  • Southampton 1-4 Leicester City: 3 Foxes positives and negativesFoxes of Leicester
  • Southampton 1-4 Leicester: 3 things learnedFoxes of Leicester
  • Predicted Leicester City starting XI vs SouthamptonFoxes of Leicester
  • Leicester injury return dates: Coady, Praet, CannonFoxes of Leicester
  • While a playoff system surely will have fans glued to the television screen, the infrastructure itself allows too many holes for underperforming teams to utilize luck and improbabilities to move into the latter rounds. A knockout tournament completely invalidates the use of the “regular season”.

    When teams can win the entire tournament, while only being in the top half of the league for the entire “regular season”, it makes the concept of consistency far less important. This is the novelty of a table format. With this system, teams cannot afford to play poorly for any run of time, whether in the beginning of the season or the end.

    It makes the concept of “it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish” sound foolish. Why play the earlier games if they don’t have the same impact? It makes absolutely no sense. Therefore, Leicester City’s triumph is the greatest in sports history because they play in a league that keeps every team accountable from day one until the end of the season. There can be no lapses.

    The Giants entered the playoffs that season as a wild card team. This means that in comparison to Leicester, the Giants only had to be good enough to have a chance to win. Leicester could hardly afford to put a foot wrong. And this is where Leicester’s victory becomes so impressive. They had to be good from day one. The Giants had the luxury of waiting around to find their stride. 

    More from Leicester City

    So why else is the Foxes Premier League title more impressive than any other sporting triumph? It’s important to remind fans that the Foxes were promoted from the lower league just last season. Technically they moved 20 places higher in 2 seasons.

    Furthermore, the Foxes were as low as 20th place in the Premier League in mid-April last season. The turnaround since then has been unpredictable and unfathomable.

    Leicester also entered the season with 5000-1 odds to win the title, the largest odds of a winning team in history. To put this into perspective, the US Men’s Olympic Hockey team were valued at 1000-1 odds to win the Olympics that year. This means the Leicester were five times more unlikely to win the league.

    Similarly, there were shorter odds on U2’s Bono being named the next pope before Pope Francis. Donald Trump winning a Nobel Peace Prize and Elvis Presley turning up alive were two events that were also seen as more likely.

    If this still isn’t enough of a reason to believe that Leicester’s triumph is the most impressive, let’s take a look at one more factor. Leicester exist in a non-salary-capped sport. This means that there is really no limit to spending for the teams around it. Financial Fair Play is a UEFA concern, and it is more of a suggestion with consequences, than a rule.

    Taking this into consideration, Leicester spent £26.9 million pounds in the summer transfer window. To put that into perspective, Manchester City spent £154.2 million, Manchester United £115.3 million, Chelsea £73.3 million, Liverpool £88 million and so on. Aston Villa, a team that’s clinched relegation long ago spent £53.4 million.

    In no other sport will there be this much disparity between money spent on the players in the team. The lack of a salary cap allows the big-spending clubs to invest far more in their sides, with teams that are on smaller budgets failing to keep up. Is this a problem in other sports? Absolutely, but nowhere near to this degree. 

    Related Story: Will Riyad Mahrez really snub Arsenal?

    In every way to look at it, Leicester’s title-winning season is far and away the greatest accomplishment in the history of sports. There won’t be anything like this for years if ever. It’s important to utilize an analytical mind when evaluating their success against other storylines of similar ilk. When you consider that a playoff system doesn’t count for consistency, there is no way that anyone can argue that the Foxes didn’t achieve the most impressive feat in all of sports.