“Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Who’s the Fairest of them All?”
Those words were spoken by the Evil Queen in Snow White, the classic children’s story. The Mirror always says the Queen (smart Mirror), until one day it decides Princess Snow White has catapulted past her in the overall hottie rankings. The Queen is none too pleased, so (like any other jilted beauty queen) she decides to kill Snow White. Of course, as we all know, the Queen fails and Snow White lives happily ever after, or something to that effect.
In MLS, we have no magic mirror, but we do have the League Fair Play Table which is supposed to let us know which MLS squad is “the fairest of them all.”
Here’s how the table works:
- For every yellow card, a team gets four points.
- For every red card, a team gets ten points.
- For every foul for which no card is given, a team gets a half point.
- For every clean game (no cards), the team gets 15 points off its total score.
Sound confusing? Well, it is.
The league has been awarding the Fair Play Award since 1997. Here is a list of past year’s winners:
2007: Columbus Crew
2006: Kansas City Wizards
2005: Kansas City Wizards
2004: Columbus Crew
2003: New England Revolution
2002: Kansas City Wizards
2001: San Jose Earthquakes
2000: Tampa Bay Mutiny
1999: Columbus Crew
1998: Kansas City Wizards
1997: Columbus Crew
As you can see, the Crew have put together a nice little dynasty when it comes to playing clean. The Wiz have also been showered with Fair Play Awards. So, who will win this year?
Well, I will tell you first who won’t win it.
With 53 yellow cards, five red cards and 400 other fouls, the Goats are by far the least fair team in the league according to the table. Their points per game average of 19.3 is ridiculously high and indicative of their defense’s motto, which seems to be “If you can’t beat ’em, break ’em.”
Who will win it? Well, it’s really down to two teams: New England and Colorado.
For years they have been known as one of the league’s dirtier teams, but this year they sit almost at the top of the table only 0.2 points per game behind the Revs.
How is that possible? Don’t they have Pablo Mastroeni, the Evil King of Leg Crushing Take Downs?
Yes, they do. But they also have six clean games this year, more than any other team (except the Revs who also have six). Those six games can erase four red cards and twelve yellow cards from the Fair Play total.
Chivas has no clean games. Seriously, they’re that dirty.
With six games to play, who will win the Fair Play Award?
If you ask me, I’m going with the Revs.
Well, Colorado is nasty even if they aren’t getting the cards to prove it this year. As they have to play tough down the stretch to make the playoffs, I expect the gloves to come off soon and the Rapids to start picking up cards pronto. The Revs, on the other hand, can coast into the post-season and won’t want to risk retaliatory attacks that could cause injuries prior to the big dance.
The other reason I like the Revs?
Well, I don’t think it hurts them that the Fair Play Award trophy is named after Bob Kraft, NER’s owner.
Wait a minute, Bob Kraft owns the New England Patriots too, doesn’t he???
I’m guessing Mr. Belichick is not aware of Mr. Kraft’s affinity for fair play.