Sunday, January 07, 2007

10 Reasons The Revs Are Unique

The New England Revolution, for better or for worse, are unlike the other cookie-cutter MLS teams. Here's what sets the Revs apart from the pack:

1. One owner to rule them all. Bob Kraft has owned the Revs since the beginning. Not many teams can claim that. He was the lone owner left when thy decided to save the league from folding who remained, yet still opted out of SUM. Although he would have made some serious bank from the last two world cup rights, Kraft has benefited from learning how to run the Revs in a cost-effective manner. The league has also benefited from this.

2. Steve Nicol. He's a legendary player for Liverpool and Scotland. However, few (if any) past greats have been able to coach american players like he has. He understands the american player and the league. He also has the right outlook. In an interview on World Soccer Daily, he was asked how odd it was that the league, not the team owned the player contracts. He responded: "It took about a fortnight to get over. After that, you realize players are players.". He also was asked about uniform ads an he shot back with a "who gives a toss". The point being he's a legend who could walk around like a peacock, look down at his players, and throw his weight around in MLS. However, he chooses to concentrate on the task at hand: coaching his players to win.

3. Sunil Gulati's ability to hold a position with the team. I've spoke about this before. The fact that the president of US Soccer is also the Head of Kraft Soccer is puzzling. What's even weirder is he live in NYC. He also holds positions on MLS committees that often screw the Revs out of everything from higher player contracts to suspended players. What other team can claim an employee like Sunil Gulati?

4. Paul Mariner. He's a former great english player. He's responsible for much of the development of Twellman, Noonan, and Dempsey over the past few years. He's also a charismatic nut. He was once spotted stocking up at the liquor store three hours prior to a home game. Did he hide it? Nope. Just a very friendly "Hey, how's it going" to the fans who recognized him. Like Nicol, he could act like a snob, but he's very down to earth and effective with the players.

5. The Morgue. Very few teams can claim to play in a huge NFL stadium and not be a financial liability to the league. Gillette Stadium is privately owned by the Krafts. That's good for Kraft, but bad for the fans. They put a tarp over one side over the lower bowl to concentrate fans. They also quarantine the lowest price ticket holders to the worst area of the stadium in regards to sight lines. This is a major pet peeve of mine and I'll be writing about this in the future.

6. We ended Chicago's season three years in a row. I may need input on this, but I'm fairly sure it's unique to have eliminated the same team in the same stadium three years straight (and counting). One thing's for sure, at least one of them balled their eyes out each year. Ahhhh, their tears sustain me.

7. Lowest season ticket prices in the league. If you take advantage of the early bird special, you can get Cat III season tickets for less than $200. No other team has an offer like that. In fact, LA is waiting to see if they can sign a big name before they overprice their tickets. So much for packing the house.

8. The Revs don't trade. A lot of MLS teams have tried to swap a ton of players and expected great results. They don't realize that it takes time for a team to gel. Alexi Lalas has decimated two of our hated rivals in the last two seasons doing this. Thanks, man. We owe ya.

9. Every Revs game has been televised. Although it allows fans to follow the team without going to the stadium, this has kept the Revs in the public eye somewhat. The team pays for that and I'm grateful to them for it. The league is now mandating this for all teams, and the Revs are way ahead of most in this regard.

10. Three MLS Cup scoreless games, followed by three loses. This sucks, but it does make us unique. Hopefully, the team can recover from personnel loses and get back for another shot.