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The fictional soccer team from “Ted Lasso,” AFC Richmond, has always been one of the underdogs. The show starts with the team in the Premier League, the highest-level tier of the English football league system. Still, they’re not doing great, and the addition of a Midwestern team manager who has only ever coached American football doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. But encouraging, unorthodox Ted (Jason Sudeikis) helps AFC Richmond get its groove back, and the first two seasons have featured some big wins for the team.

Season 3 begins with AFC Richmond back in the Premier League after being demoted at the end of season 1, but they’re not exactly on steady ground. The premiere episode makes much ado of the fact that pundits have the team ranked 20th in the league — which opposing coach Nate (Nick Mohammed) quips is because there’s no 21st place. The preliminary ranking has got Ted’s team spooked, but what exactly happens if a team ends up in dead last? To understand, American fans have to trade in touchdown talk for a minute to look at the other type of football.

English football (or soccer) league systems are a lot different from the NBA or NFL systems Americans are used to. Teams don’t stay in the league forever, but can be demoted or leveled up through a system that’s commonly called “promotions and relegations.” AFC Richmond has already been relegated to a lower league once, after their loss against Manchester City in the first season finale, but they worked their way back up to the Premier League throughout season 2. Now, with a number twenty ranking, they’re back on the precipice of a downgrade, which would mean they’d return to the second-tier league that’s colloquially called “Championship,” much to Ted’s confusion.

Let’s Talk English Football Leagues

There are seven major UK football leagues in total, with the top one featuring only the best 20 teams. While higher status often equates to better resources, more sponsorship deals, and more fans, AFC Richmond also has a reputation to uphold as one of twenty teams considered the best of the best. Only right now, they’re looking more like the worst of the best. The three teams with the worst record at season’s end get relegated to Championship, meaning that AFC Richmond needs to place above #18 in the standing to maintain their status. Ironically, while AFC Richmond is fake, the team that Nate coaches in the show, West Ham, is currently straddling this line in real life with a #17 ranking as of publication time.

You’d think the purposeful impermanence of Premier League status and the existence of many other leagues would mean AFC Richmond needn’t feel too much pressure, but imagine if American sports worked this way. How would Steelers, Seahawks, or Patriots fans respond if their team suddenly got demoted thanks to a bad season? Would Lakers, Warriors, or Bulls fans react kindly to a relegation? If Americans tend to set cars on fire when their teams win, I can only imagine how much drama the relegation system would cause if it applied to sports in the U.S. AFC Richmond has a lot riding on maintaining their league status, and a lot of people they don’t want to let down.

The pressure is palpable in the the premiere, and with “Ted Lasso” season 3 possibly set to end the series, AFC Richmond could definitely use a big win. New episodes of “Ted Lasso” stream on Apple TV+ on Wednesdays.

Read this next: The Best TV Episodes Of 2022, Ranked

The post Why AFC Richmond’s Premier League Ranking is So Important in Ted Lasso Season 3 appeared first on /Film.

/Film – Why AFC Richmond’s Premier League Ranking Is So Important In Ted Lasso Season 3
Author: Valerie Ettenhofer
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March 15, 2023

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