What if… the Premier League was like the NFL

The NFL is growing and the FA is jealous. They decide to mix things up, in the hope of reinvigorating the league and exciting the fans again. As the old saying goes, “if you can’t beat them, join them”, and England decides to copy the structure of the NFL, Superbowl and all. Will the league flourish? Will new teams get a chance at the top? Or will it be the same old…

Could we see the same furore that comes with an NFL season, or will football fans be turned away?

So yup, I’m turning the Premier League into the NFL. Now I want to set out some guidelines. I’ll just be copying the structure of the NFL rather than trying to replicate all the rules. There will be no draft, no wage cap rules, everything on that side of things will remain the same as the Premier League. League format, continental qualification, prize money and cup competitions have all been changed. Oh and team names, because no American transformation would be complete without weird names.

I just want to say a massive thank you to dim13 over at SI Games. I’d be struggling with the setup for this for a while before his work finally pointed me in the right direction!

 

So how does it work?

Structure

If you don’t know the NFL structure, there are 2 conferences. These will be the Southern Premier League, and the Northern Premier League in England. Each conference has 4 divisions of 4 teams. These teams play their own division teams twice, and an assortment of other teams for a total of 16 games. At the end of that, the 4 division winners, plus the two best performing other teams enter a playoff. This is completely seeded with home advantage, so the two best performing division winners get a bye to the semi finals. These playoffs happen separately for each conference, resulting in a winner for the South and a winner for the North. These then match up in a Superbowl. A single, winner takes all match to determine the winner of the Premier League for that season. Simple right?

Divisions are split up roughly by location, and division names are given based on the general area. Occasionally I grouped based on rivalries, like putting Crystal Palace and Brighton together, or split teams apart to balance divisions, as with Liverpool and Manchester. I expecting disagreements with some of these but cut me a little slack. Here are the divisions:

Obviously the 20 Premier League teams made it in. The other 12 all came from the Championship and were decided using a combination of recent league performance and best suited by location. Teams like Norwich missed out because they’re in the middle of nowhere. Team names well… if you don’t like it tough. I wasn’t exactly keen on “Tottenham Cockerels” but I had no choice! Again, based on nicknames or team mascot, so apologies if any of these are wildly incorrect! Oh and Superbowls use roman numerals. The NFL does it so I have to.

Extra bits

There are a few little mechanics I should explain. Firstly draws and knockouts. Like the NFL every single game goes to extra time if it’s a draw after normal time. From there it’s golden goal, first goal scored ends the game, to replicate the first scoring system used American Football. In the regular season, if the game is still a draw after extra time, it ends a draw. The playoffs go to the usual penalties. Points for a golden goal win are given in exactly the same way as a normal result, 3 for a win and 0 for a loss.

For European qualification a team HAS to win the division, so we should get a nice mix of teams with 8 fighting for the 6 or 7 slots. From there, the division winners that make it furthest in the playoffs make the Champions League and highest seeds, whilst the lowest 1 or 2 miss out. If two teams make it to the same stage, they are split by regular season (pre-playoff) record. Prize money goes by regular season record with 1st getting £33M, and 32nd getting £2M. Extra bonuses ranging from £500k to £2.5M are paid out for playoff results.

There’s also two other trophies. The Premier League Shield is given to the team with the best record in the regular season (the divisional 16 game round). It means very little, and gives no prizes whatsoever, but is needed for wild card seeding so it’s there. The FA Cup has been reworked into a two-legged knockout between the 32 Premier League teams, with the winner getting a Europa League spot as usual.

Anyway that’s a hell of a lot of explaining, and not a lot of showing. I’m going to go through this season by season to start with, as that’s the best way to capture the format, information, and pure excitement of what happens. So let’s get rolling.

 

Season 1

Regular Season

SPL

The Chelsea Lions and West Brom Baggies take easy division titles, whilst the SPL North London and SPL South are fought a little closer. The Bournemouth Bears and the Tottenham Cockerels win their divisions on the final day. Tottenham score a golden goal to secure the best record of all SPL teams, and home field advantage for the playoffs.

In the wild card, the Arsenal Gunners claim their slot easily after pushing Tottenham all the way to final day. The second slot comes down to a tight fight between the Southampton Saints and Brentford Bees. The Saints claim a victory against the Bears, whilst Brentford lose, putting Southampton through to the wild card on the final day.

SPL MVP: Hector Bellerin – Arsenal Gunners

 

NPL

The only easy division title goes to the Liverpool Liver Birds, as their 14-1-1 record far outstrips Everton in 2nd place, with a 4-2-10. The Stoke Potters open enough of a gap to get the last game day off in NPL Midlands over Leicester. In NPL Pennines, the Citizens lose just once all season. The one team in the way of their undefeated record? The Manchester Devils, who take a golden goal victory on the penultimate weekend. It’s enough for the Citizens to win their division and the Supporters Shield, with the Devils earning an easy playoff slot alongside them.

NPL East goes down to an incredible final day. With Leicester already having secured the 2nd wild card slot. Hull Tigers sit on 7-1-7, and +2 GD, whilst Newcastle Magpies sit on 6-1-8 with -2 GD. With the two playing each other, things look exceptionally tough for the Magpies to make it to playoffs. That soon changes after one incredible half in Newcastle. After 37 minutes the Magpies are 4-0 up, and a shellshocked Hull never recover. Newcastle make it through by the skin of their teeth.

NPL MVP: Luke Shaw – Manchester Devils

 

Playoffs

SPL

The first wild card match sets up a rematch between the Saints and the Bears. The Saints claim revenge for the division title loss, seriously harming Bournemouth’s chance for Europe. Arsenal take an unsurprising victory over the Baggies in the other match.

Semi Final 1 falls between Chelsea and Southampton, which again goes to Chelsea. The other semi-final results in a north London derby. It’s as close as can be, with the teams going all the way through extra time equal. In penalties, Alexis Sanchez chokes, giving Tottenham a classic victory over their rivals, and a conference final vs Chelsea Lions.

Surprisingly the final isn’t close. Having signed in the summer for £25M, Lacazette steps up big when needed. And it’s for Tottenham. The Cockerels make the most of the home field advantage and put themselves in Superbowl I with a 3-1 victory.

 

NPL

Another division duel to sort out, as Leicester and Stoke face off in the wild card. Again, the lower seed wins, as Leicester scrape by to set up a semi-final against Liverpool. The Devils demonstrate that the Magpies are out of their league, not breaking a sweat with a 3-1 victory.

Yet more once again’s, as the north London derby is countered by a Manchester derby. This one’s a little less close, as two early goals from the Citizens puts them through. Liverpool and Leicester chose to ignore defence, and the Liver Birds outscore their opponents 3-2 to join the Citizens in the NPL Final.

The Northern final proves that home advantage doesn’t always matter. The Citizens score early, but the Liver Birds quickly answer back with two. And from there both teams are unable to hit the back of the net, meaning Liverpool advance to the Superbowl.

 

Superbowl I

Superbowl I proves to be the final ever game played at White Hart Lane. The festivities are kicked off when Alli scores 20 minutes in. These are soon silenced, with a quickfire Coutinho double putting the Liver Birds up at the half-time point.

Pochettino fires the players up at half time and they come out first. First Harry Kane in the 48th minute, then Lacazette 2 minutes later to put the Cockerels back in the lead. Things get tense as Alli receives a 2nd yellow in the 85th minute, leaving Tottenham with 10 men to hold out for the final minutes…

And they do it! TOTTENHAM COCKERELS WIN SUPERBOWL I. It’s an incredible feat to top the division, but to win the EPL Superbowl is something else. I might have celebrated a little bit, despite the fact I did nothing to cause it.

Final score: Tottenham Cockerels 3 – 2 Liverpool Liver Birds
Superbowl MVP:
Alexandre Lacazette – Tottenham Cockerels

 

Other notes

Over in the FA Cup, a decent run for the Brighton Seagulls sees them make the final. Unfortunately the fairytale is halted there, as the Devils win the final 2-0. An important win for the Manchester club, being the only route into Europe after losing their division to the Citizens.

With only division winners qualifying for Europe, the Champions League slots are easily deduced. The 4 Conference final entrants all top their division, so head straight to Europe’s top competition. The other 4 division winners all fall at the wild card round, leaving it to regular season record to split them for the 2 Europa League slots. Bournemouth take the first, whilst the Baggies and the Potters end up with a matching record for the second. They end up being split by goals scored, giving Stoke a ticket to Europe.

The Devils to make it to the Europa League final, as a last gasp attempt to make the Champions League. Their they get trounced by Leverkusen 3-0, as the Germans ruthlessly crush that hope.

 

Summary

Superbowl Winner: Tottenham Cockerels
EPL Shield Winner: Manchester Citizens
FA Cup Winner: Manchester Devils
EPL MVP: Mesut Ozil – Arsenal Gunners

 

Season 2

Regular Season

SPL

Things prove a little more decided in the second season, as not a single division has its title in doubt on the final day. In fact all 4 divisions even go to the same winners. The Baggies take the biggest win, with a heavy 18 point victory over 2nd place. Chelsea Lions come out the best record with a 13-1-2 to give them home field advantage.

The wild card also proves pretty uncontended. SPL Birmingham are nowhere near once again, whilst the Gunners put in a strong performance to claim the 2nd seeded wild slot. The biggest surprise is the marked improvement of the Fulham Badgers, who only lose out by two wins to Chelsea, taking the top wild card place.

SPL MVP: Dele Alli – Tottenham Cockerels

 

NPL

The NPL tells a similar story to the SPL, with not much up for grabs on the final day. The Newcastle Magpies and the Liverpool Liver Birds win their divisions again, although for Newcastle it’s far more convincing with a 12-1-3 record. The Manchester Devils are able to oust their local rivals by 4 points, whilst Leicester Foxes earn an easy victory in the Midlands.

Less surprise in the wild cards too, as the two most likely teams take it comfortably. The Citizens grab the best wild card slot to face the Foxes, whilst the Everton Toffees squeeze through to face the Manchester Devils. The most surprising result comes from the Preston Ducks. They manage the first 0 victory season, taking just 3 draws throughout the regular season.

NPL MVP: Josh Tymon – Hull Tigers

 

Playoffs

SPL

Match 1 in the wild card sees the two weaker teams of the wrong. Bournemouth Bears and Fulham Badgers head into extra time, before an on loan Mitrovic scores the golden goal to send the Bears through. The other wild card game sees a rematch of the North London derby. This time the Gunners come out on top in a tight match.

The Bears face up to Chelsea in the next round, and once again Mitrovic provides the heroics. After Terry gets sent off in the 81st minute, the Serbian pops up with the goal to send Bournemouth to the SPL Final. The Gunners take a tight win again to set up the final matchup, this time over the Baggies.

Unfortunately the final proves a step too far for Bournemouth, as they get outclassed by a strong Gunners side. Mata and Iwobi provide the goals to put the other North London team in the Superbowl.

 

NPL

Golden goal comes into play once again in the NPL. Despite being a man down, Mkhitaryan sticks one in the net in the first minute of extra time to knock the Toffees out. The Manchester Devils progress into a semi-final with the Newcastle Magpies. The Citizens easily control the other game, meaning both Manchester teams make it through the wild card.

Funnily enough both semi-finals end in 1-0. In the Liver Birds – Citizens game, Liverpool score early with Mane to put them into another conference final. Over in Newcastle, it’s a late goal this time from Krejci, putting both Manchester sides out, and a much-improved Magpies team into the final.

Newcastle suffer the first half from hell, conceding two goals and seeing Shelvey sent off in just 25 minutes. Gayle gets one back for the Magpies, but the game is over before any more can happen. Again, a little unfortunate as for the “weaker” team it proves a step too far.

 

Superbowl II

Anfield plays host to the second ever EPL Superbowl. Things get started even quicker than last time, as Bellerin and Iwobi score a quick double to put the Gunners 2-0 in 11 minutes. From there the Liver Birds look a little shocked as Arsenal pepper their goal.

After half time things do pick up for Liverpool, with Sergej Milinkovic Savic firing in in the 65th minute. But it’s not enough, and Anfield suffers with watching the Superbowl trophy slip away right under their noses.

Final score: Liverpool Liver Birds 1 – 2 Arsenal Gunners
Superbowl MVP:
Hector Bellerin – Arsenal Gunners

 

Other notes

In the cup that’s purely for teams that didn’t win their divisions to get into Europe (the FA Cup), the West Ham Hammerheads and the Manchester Citizens make it to the final. With the game in extra time, Coutinho and Aguero put two away to put the Citizens back into Europe.

With Arsenal not winning their division, the Champions League slot falls to a semi-finalist. The Baggies end up with the 4th best record in the regular season and so join Liverpool, Chelsea and Newcastle in the Champions League.

Having failed to qualify the normal way, both the Tottenham Cockerels and Manchester Devils opt for a different route. The pair meet each other in the Europa League final, where an extra time win for the Devils makes them the 5th English team in the Champions League.

With 5 slots already taken, only 2 Europa League slots sit available. The Citizens take one with their cup win, leaving one place open for a division winner. With the best record in the regular season, the Cockerels get that spot.

 

Summary

Superbowl Winner: Arsenal Gunners
EPL Shield Winner: Liverpool Liver Birds
FA Cup Winner: Manchester Citizens
EPL MVP: Dele Alli – Tottenham Cockerels

 

Season 3

Regular Season

SPL

Chelsea Lions take their division by some distance, but from there things hit massive changes. In the SPL South, the Brighton Seagulls keep the division winner rotation going, leaving just the Eagles without a title.

The SPL North London and Birmingham divisions culminate in a ridiculously tight title and wild card battle. The Watford Hornets and Wolves secure impressive division titles in the penultimate week. From their, Tottenham, Arsenal, West Brom and Birmingham all line up at final week with 2 wild card slots to split between the 4.

North London takes it all, as both the Cockerels and the Gunners win their games against the other two division rivals. SPL Midlands is left thinking what could have been.

SPL MVP: Andrea Polesano – Tottenham Cockerels

 

NPL

North England proves a little less tense. In fact all four division winners turn out the same as last season, with the Foxes, Devils, Liver Birds and Magpies topping the tables. Liverpool spend the entire regular season unbeaten, with the only dropped points being a draw against the Manchester Devils. It seems the Devils are wreckers of any perfect run.

The wild card mixes things up. Hull Tigers ease into the playoffs despite a final day defeat. NPL Pennines provides the second wild card, but this time it’s not the Citizens. The blue half of Manchester disappoints, allowing the Leeds Roses a chance to enter their first playoffs.

NPL MVP: Jesus Vallejo – Everton Toffees

 

Playoffs

SPL

The SPL wild card rounds seem straight forward, but Wolves chose to mix it up. Facing up against the Gunners, Wolves take it to extra time, before Siem de Jong provides the heroics to knock the North London side out. The other wild card match proves more straightforward, with Tottenham beating Brighton 2-1.

Having got through, Tottenham face up against South London rivals Chelsea in a crunch match. Greizmann scores the only goal, putting the Lions into the SPL Final. The other game goes into extra time goalless, before Troy Deeney fires in a golden goal, sending Wolves home and Watford into their first final.

From there the fairytale ends though. Things get back to form in the SPL Conference final with De Bruyne and Fabregas scoring the goals to put Chelsea into Superbowl III.

 

NPL

The NPL wild card round also proves incredibly close as expected, with both games ending in 2-1. First the Foxes knock out the Tigers, followed by an on loan Sterling scoring the final goal to put Newcastle through and send Leeds home.

The Magpies come up against the Manchester Devils in the semi-finals and manage to take the game to a 9-8 penalty shootout. Unfortunately, they find themselves on the wrong side, with Karl Darlow missing the decisive penalty. The Liver Birds – Foxes game sees 4 goals scored in just 6 minutes. Fekir gets one for Liverpool before Juanpi and Klaassen put Leicester 3-1. Liverpool are deflated and fail to reply.

Unlike the SPL, the NPL conference final is quite a cagey affair. Mkhitaryan puts the Devils ahead in the 8th minute, but after that there are very few shots. No extra goals come, setting up a Devils – Lions final.

 

Superbowl III

An incredible tale of two halves in Superbowl III. In the first half, home advantage pays off as Rashford and Pogba both find the back of the net for the Devils. Jardim fires up the Chelsea Lions at half time and they come out with a bang. First Kante in the 46th minute, then Carvajal in the 71st to take the game to extra time.

From that point Manchester are on the back foot. Wedged in their own half, and with no shots on-target other than their two goals, the Devils push for penalties. Their wish is eventually granted, and we get the first shootout in Superbowl history.

The Devils continue to demonstrate their shooting flaws though, with Layun and an ex-Chelsea Matic both missing the target. Christensen is the only saved penalty for the Lions, meaning Pogba has to take the penalty to keep Manchester in it. The pressure proves too much, he blazes wide, and Chelsea Lions claim their first Superbowl victory.

Final score: Manchester Devils 2 – 2 Chelsea Lions (P)
Superbowl MVP:
Ruben Neves – Manchester Devils

 

Other notes

The Arsenal Gunners make up for their failure to win the division by taking the FA Cup to qualify for Europe. Liverpool fall in another final to Arsenal but have the last laugh by qualifying for the Champions League.

The Devils, Magpies, Liver Birds and Lions take the 4 Champions League slots, whilst the Citizens opt for the toughest way in. Once again an English team wins the Europa League, with the Manchester side beating Inter 1-0.

Over in German, Leverkusen are able to break the trend of Bayern victories by winning the Bundesliga. It’s clearly the season for breaking trends, as Lazio are able to do the same. The Rome team earn a shock Serie A title, beating out Juventus by a single point.

Summary

Superbowl Winner: Chelsea Lions
EPL Shield Winner: Liverpool Liver Birds
FA Cup Winner: Arsenal Gunners
EPL MVP: Andrea Polesano – Tottenham Cockerels

 

 

Season 4

Regular Season

SPL

No particularly close groups once again. Chelsea, West Brom and Arsenal all smash their groups with 39+ points. The Gunners even do so undefeated, with a single solitary draw against the Baggies. SPL South is a little closer, but once again Bournemouth win the title there.

The wild card is a tad closer. Wolves take the top wild card slot before the final game, but the second slot comes down to the Tottenham Cockerels and the Fulham Badgers. Tottenham falter against West Ham, allowing the Badgers to sneak in and steal their spot. The first time only one SPL North London team has made it through.

SPL MVP: Filippo Melegoni – Arsenal Gunners

 

NPL

Most of the NPL groups are straight forward. NPL Midlands is a low points scoring group, as Stoke win with just 26. The Liver Birds and the Magpies top their groups incredibly easily.

The NPL Pennines is a different story altogether. With one game left, the Devils sit on 33, the Citizens 32 and Leeds Roses 30. With all three guaranteed a playoff slot, the two Manchester teams matchup on the final day for a wild card bye. The Citizens score a golden goal winner, sending them top, whilst Leeds also win, demoted the Devils from top spot to bottom wild card. A crazy final day.

NPL MVP: Danny Simpson – Hull Tigers

 

Playoffs

SPL

Wolves fail this time in the wild card round, as Lapadula sends Bournemouth through in a back and forth 3-2. Chelsea vs Fulham proves to be as mismatched as the division indicates, as the Lions walk out very comfortable 3-0 winners.

Chelsea may well be suffering from an easy division and a little complacency, as two early goals from West Brom seem to shock the Lions and send them crashing out at the semi-finals. Bournemouth push Arsenal a little more but eventually fall to a Maitland-Niles golden goal in another 3-2 finish.

The SPL final results in a much closer finish than anticipated. Mata scores twice to put the Gunners 2-0 up and seemingly in control. Rondon opens the game up with a late goal, but it’s not enough, and Arsenal head for their 2nd Superbowl.

 

NPL

The Manchester Devils recover from their shock on the final day to scrape by Stoke. James Rodriguez scores a final minute goal to break Potters hearts. A similar heartbreak for Leeds happens in Newcastle, as Ritchie nets a golden goal to put the Magpies through.

Newcastle rid the form through to a tough matchup against the Citizens, and come out on top. Valencia and Muto score the crucial goals in a 2-0 victory. The Liver Birds have perhaps established themselves as the top NPL team, as the Devils fail to overcome them. A late Fekir goal gives Liverpool a 2-1 win.

An almost exact duplicate of the SPL final saw Liverpool score two goals before a late Newcastle goal set up a nervy finish. It wasn’t to be for the Magpies though, as the Liver Birds reach yet another Superbowl.

 

Superbowl IV

A rematch of Superbowl II and things get off almost identically. Xhaka and Martial put the Gunners up early on, before Fekir levels before half time. The Liver Birds rally and lay siege to the Gunners goal, but a 54th-minute corner gifts a goal to Mustafi and from that point things become hopeless.

Arsenal hold in, and in an exact replica of Superbowl II, Arsenal Gunners walk out with the trophy at Anfield. Despite being in 3 out of the 4 finals so far, Liverpool have still failed to take a single trophy.

Final score: Liverpool Liver Birds 1 – 3 Arsenal Gunners
Superbowl MVP:
Granit Xhaka – Arsenal Gunners

 

Other notes

With their undefeated 18-1-0 run throughout the season, Arsenal are the top team in England. Their Superbowl rivals Liverpool also qualify for the Champions League, joined by West Brom and Chelsea with their playoff performances.

The Manchester Devils and Tottenham Cockerels both fail to win their groups so spend a season without European football. The Citizens and Magpies take a turn in the Europa League, whilst the Bears earn their slot on the back of an FA Cup win for Chelsea.

Summary

Superbowl Winner: Arsenal Gunners
EPL Shield Winner: Arsenal Gunners
FA Cup Winner: Chelsea Lions
EPL MVP: Hirving Lozano – Liverpool Liver Birds

 

 

Season 5

Regular Season

SPL

Both London divisions on the SPL go to plan, with Chelsea and Arsenal taking their respective division titles. Tottenham also restore some normality with a strong season to take top wild card. SPL South deviates a little, with the Eagles winning their first division title, and the Saints taking second wild card.

SPL Birmingham however, culminates in an incredible finale. With only the division winner taking a playoff spot, and just 3 points between 1st and 4th, the four teams play each other on the final day in a winner takes all scenario. The Baggies beat the Bulldogs, but it’s not enough as the Villains take a 1-0 win over Wolves to grab the division title on win record. Incredibly tight stuff.

SPL MVP: Florentino Luis – Tottenham Cockerels

 

NPL

NPL ends a little less dramatically. The usual suspects come out with the division titles: Stoke, Manchester Devils, Liverpool and Newcastle. The Liver Birds do so in style, taking the best record in the entire regular season.

Some unfamiliar faces enter the wild card round, as both the Citizens and the Roses falter, allowing the Huddersfield Terriers to finish above them. Unfortunately for the Terriers, the Rams and Black Cats come out with better records, leaving the Yorkshire team with no reward for their form.

NPL MVP: Niels Leemans – Liverpool Liver Birds

 

Playoffs

SPL

The wild card round proves a round for the wild cards. It seems daft I know, but a Pulisic goal puts the Cockerels through at the expense of the Villains, whilst Southampton need penalties to beat division rivals Crystal Palace.

We get the return of the playoff north London derby in the semi-finals, with Tottenham coming out barely on top thanks to an Alli goal. The other semi proves much less close, as Chelsea Lions brush aside Southampton 3-0

So to the final, which takes forever for either team to get on the scoresheet. Embolo puts the Lions in front in the 75th minute, before Lacazette saves the Cockerels in the dying minutes. The joy is short-lived though, as a Boga golden goal fires Chelsea to the Superbowl.

 

NPL

Newcastle chose to make things difficult in their wild card match, as Ceballos gets sent off early. The hold on for a while before a Niang golden goal seals a dream semi-final for the Rams. Stoke show the division dominance, beating Sunderland 2-1.

With no Citizens or Toffees to make things interesting, both semi-finals look a little unbalanced. The Rams don’t put up much of a fight against the Manchester Devils, losing 2-0. The other game proves far close, with Stoke taking Liverpool to extra time. The favourite wins once again though, as a golden goal puts the Liver Birds into yet another final.

A cagey affair between two old rivals results in 9 shots on target all game. As it happens no goals come from open play, with a penalty from Mkhitaryan being enough to split the teams. The Devils head to the final to set up a replay of Superbowl III.

 

Superbowl V

The Devils fans are barely in their seats when Rashford wins a penalty in the first minute. The English youngster tucks it away, kicking the party off. Old Trafford is silenced when 8 minutes later Greizmann fires in the equaliser. Just before half time, the Lions win a penalty, which Joao Mario converts, putting Chelsea up 2-1 at half time.

From there it gets worse for the Devils. They fail to muster much of an attack with Ziyech and James faltering. Kante seals the deal in the 66th minute, marauding forwards to net himself a Superbowl goal. Manchester fail to answer, and the result ends in the same way as Superbowl III. Chelsea walk out winners at Old Trafford once again.

Final score: Manchester Devils 1 – 3 Chelsea Lions
Superbowl MVP:
Joao Mario – Chelsea Lions

 

Other notes

With their runs to the respective conference finals, Liverpool, Manchester Devils and Chelsea qualify easily for the Champions League. The 4th spot goes to the playoff semi-finalists, where Arsenal smash everyone else thanks to their 2nd best regular season record.

Manchester Citizens get oh so close to qualifying for the Champions League via the Europa League once again. Dortmund get in their way in the final, scoring an extra-time goal to confine the Citizens to no European football.

The Eagles get a nice reward for their first division with Europa League qualification, joined by the Magpies and the Potters.

Summary

Superbowl Winner: Chelsea Lions
EPL Shield Winner: Liverpool Liver Birds
FA Cup Winner: Manchester Devils
EPL MVP: Florentino Luis – Tottenham Cockerels

 

Well that was interesting…

It sure was. At this point though if I want to do many more seasons, I’m going to have to shorten the format to prevent this being a dissertation level piece. How about we speed this up as usual, and look at 5 year segments.

 

Season 6-10

Some surprises in these five seasons, as three new teams enter the playoffs. Middlesbrough Riversiders make it the furthest, getting to a semi final. The Owls and the Terriers both fall at the wild card round on the first attempt. The Burnley Clarets almost make their first playoff appearance with the 6th best regular season record in season 8. Unfortunately 5 of the 6 above them are also NPL teams, meaning they miss out once again.

We do get out first ever NPL Superbowl winners. First the Citizens in Superbowl VI, then the Liver Birds in Superbowl IV attempt to show up the SPL. The Badgers were the team to hand Liverpool their first title, as the London team proved unable to cap an incredible run with the Superbowl trophy.

Liverpool suffer from a serious amount of pain to win that first title. They attend every Superbowl from VII to X, only taking to single win in 2024. The three defeats come twice at the hands of the Chelsea Lions, and once to the Gunners.

The Magpies and the Citizens earn some extra silverware, as both take the Europa League on seperate occasions. The EPL is still chasing a Champions League win however, with the Liver Birds coming close in Season 10. Real Madrid send them home from the final empty handed thanks to a Dybala masterclass.

On the international scene things are looking strong. The Coefficient is almost at the same level as Spain, and the national team makes it to both the Euro and World Cup finals. No silverware earned, with Germany and Italy getting in the way, but it’s close!

 

Season 11-15

Some more new entrants into the playoff ring, as both the Birmingham Bulldogs and Burnley Clarets win their divisions on seperate occasions. The Hammerheads also make their first appearance, scraping in through the wild card. A NPL Final is the best performance between them, as the Clarets lose out to the Black Cats and fall short of a dream superbowl.

At the bottom of the order another record. Season 15 see’s Preston become the first ever team to score 0 points with a 0-0-16 record. They now sit as one of three teams never to have qualified to the playoffs, alongside Brentford and QPR.

The Devils and the Gunners also falter slightly, as both miss out on the playoffs for the first time in their histories. The Manchester team do so in season 11, with the Gunners failing a season later. Chelsea and Liverpool now sit as the only teams to have qualified for every playoff.

But at the top we have 4 different winners in the 5 Superbowls. Fulham and Sunderland make surprise appearances in Superbowl XII and XV respectively, but both come away without a trophy. The Gunners take X and XV, whilst the three in the middle go to the Liver Birds, the Citizens and the Lions. For Liverpool their win in Superbowl XII is their only appearance in the final, so a lot less heartbreak this time round.

Over in Europe there’s one trophy to mention, as the Tottenham Cockerels win the Europa League in season 13. The EPL coefficient is now top in Europe though, so the league as a whole is strong. The teams seem far more equal now though.

 

Season 16-20

With just three teams never having qualified for the playoffs, new teams are a rareity. There is still one entrant, as the Rangers finally qualify to remove themselves fro that list. Unfortunately, they get instantly put back in place by division owners Chelsea.

The biggest surprises come at the hands of Aston Villa, who make a remarkeable run to Superbowl XVIII. They come out with there heads held high, losing just 2-1 to the Citizens. The Saints also appear, in Superbowl XVII, but like Villa end up losers. Still no team outside the top 6 has claimed the title.

In Manchester there are parties galore, as the city takes 3 of the 5 Superbowls on offer. The Devils take two of these, which happen to be their first two EPL wins ever. A surprisingly long time for that to happen. The other two go two Arsenal, who are by far the top SPL team now.

The EPL manages to accumulate over 20 points of coefficient in all 5 seasons, keeping the league top. This is helped by the fact an English team wins the Europa League every single season. To add to that, the Gunners finally claim an English Champions League title, the first under the new EPL format.

 

Seasons 21-25

Both Preston and Brentford still haven’t made it to the playoffs, so no typical “new team” section here. Both the Tigers and Wolves do return to the playoffs after over 10 year absences. Hull make the best stab at it, falling to the Devils in the NPL final in season 21.

Other teams are very much creeping into the Superbowls now. This culminates in a Superbowl XXII between the Aston Villains and the Derby Rams. The Villains win 2-1 on their own turf, to become the first non top 6 team to win the EPL. The Rams take a second stab the very next season, but fall to the Gunners this time.

The other Superbowl trophies go to the normal teams, with the Liver Birds, Devils and Citizens taking one each. The Saints have also become a top team, taking the Shield one year with a record low 34 points. No Superbowl win to speak of yet though.

England continue their domination of the Europa League, taking four out of the five titles once again. Surprisingly Middlesbrough step up to claim two of those four. The Champions League rate is also improving, as the Gunners and the Lions win one each.

 

Season 26-50

Yup I know, this is a bit of a jump. I wanted to reach 50 seasons, but didn’t feel I need the 5 year intervals anymore. So here’s a summary of the 2nd set of 25 years.

Naturally most titles go to the top 6 teams, as 18 of the 25 go to England’s elite. We do get a couple of runs, with Tottenham winning 3 in a row from Superbowl XLI to XLIII. They don’t manage to beat Chelsea’s earlier 4 win run though, going from Superbowl XXX to XXXIII. Those prove to be some of the Lions last wins though, with no Superbowl appearances whatsoever after Season 36.

The surprise titles go to Sunderland, Burnley and West Brom, who all take one each. Arsenal winning in season 44 is also a bit of a surprise, having been on a long dry run. They just beat Preston in the Ducks first ever Superbowl appearance. The Villains meanwhile take 4 more titles, all in the last 6 years. It’s safe to say they’ve become a top team.

Having made the Superbowl, it’s pretty obvious that Preston finally make the playoffs. They do so several times, starting first in season 28. Brentford have still yet to make it, with just one 2nd place in the SPL South London not enough to get them through. Their division rivals Chelsea do eventually falter, losing their title of the only team to qualify for every playoff in season 38.

The English league is still competitive in Europe, but only in the Europa League. Teams like Leeds and Brighton contribute to a hefty 12 Europa titles, with 3 Champions League titles earned in the same period. Germany is at the top, and dominating anyone that challenges.

 

The result?

Well there’s not really a result to be had here, as I wasn’t aiming for anything. But the database worked, so I’m going to class it as a personal success. There was a far great mix of winners and potential winners than the usual Premier League format gives. And with the division winners going to Europe, the variants of entrants there was more interesting. 10 different teams won a title in 50 years, whilst a total of 19 entered the Superbowl. Over half the teams one game away from winning.

The records from the 50 seasons of the NFL. Some low scoring seasons.

The Chelsea Lions come out as the most successful team, with Arsenal just behind. The Manchester pair are a little off in comparison, but incredibly close to each other which made for a fascinating division. Naturally the divisions with those teams ended up the least competitive, with at least one whipping team per group. SPL South, NPL Midlands and NPL East come out the most competitive, with a very similar playoff performance all round.

The full playoff results of all 50 seasons. There is a key on the right if you don’t understand! The conf and total columns represent rank in conference and overall respectively, based on total points from playoff rankings.

 

The state of the world

Spain

The usual early closer battles soon give way to Real Madrid dominance. From 2020 to 2050 the white half of Madrid takes 24 titles, including 2 unbeaten seasons and a streak of 77 games without losing. Barcelona and Atletico make a habit of coming 2nd and 3rd respectively. The 50’s sees a break in this, with Villarreal rising to the top and eventually taking 9 titles in a row, some shock dominance there.

Germany

Bayern, Leverkusen and Dortmund battle it out titles until the late 30’s. From there Dortmund step up to dominate, before a 50’s RB Leipzig teams takes their turn at the top. It’s safe to say Bayern are deposed, winning just one title after 2036.

Italy

A bit more of a mixed bag, and some almost collusion like activity in Italy. Some early scrappiness gives way to teams taking turns at 3-4 titles in a row. This rotates round AC Milan, Inter Milan, Roma and Juventus, with everyone else barely getting a peep into the top 3.

Europe

Spain and PSG have some good fights for the early Champions League titles, with few other teams getting a look in. In the 50’s Germany up their game, with RB Leipzig, Dortmund and the new Spanish superpower Villarreal taking the trophies home. Most of the Europa League surprises come from the weird English entrants, as teams like Middlesbrough, Leeds and Brighton all win.

The domination of Germany and France in Europe

International

Germany, Portugal, Italy, Argentina and Brazil all take a couple of World Cups home, with the other two going to Spain and France. No real surprises there. The Euros also throw up nothing new, with Belgium the “oddest” team taking a title. Paraguay do win a Copa America, but for the most part the International scene stays relatively normal.

Players

The best regens of the save can be found here! Shoutout to Bastian Liesenfeld as one of the rare 200 CA players to pop up. And also to Joshua Dijkman for 6 Ballon d’Or’s in a row despite being active in the same period as Liesenfeld.

 

The end

No extra test this time, as there was nothing I felt was small enough to fit, or large enough to be important. Plus I think the experiment as it was was sufficient enough. I loved doing this one as it has quite a creative twist to it and allowed me to try something a little new. I will say though, it took forever to make. The structure is an incredible pain to recreate in FM, so the next one might be something a little easier…

I’m always going to be doing more experiments, and if this generates enough interest I’ll look at doing the same format for other countries. Or applying other unique formats to the EPL. But I hope you enjoyed it. As I say the format is a little different, so let me know if you want prefer the old style or want to see even more variation in what comes up. If you hated it just say “I hate this”. I’ll get the message.

Thanks for reading!

 

Want to try this database yourself? Well you can download it via mediafire or Steam! Apologies for the name, by the time I was ready to use it I forget to remove the “test” part!

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