It's still January, but I'm already looking forward to March Madness. The NCAA basketball tournament is far and away the best annual event that U.S. sports has to offer: a 68-team, single-elimination tourney, filled with all the passion and drama and upsets that make sports worth watching. It gets even the most casual of fans involved by entering (and usually winning) bracket competitions--Star dominated last year's pool by picking Duke to win it all... because her grandparents' last name is Duke. I especially enjoy the first two days of the tournament, with sixteen (!) games per day and all the Cinderella teams to root for.
As much as I love March Madness, however, it has NOTHING on the FA Cup, the annual English soccer tournament crossing all eight tiers of British footie, from the Premier League's Manchester United down to Isthmian League's Corinthian Casuals. Every professional team in England is eligible, and there are a lot of them --759 squads entered this year's competition! The single-elimination tourney is not seeded, and the next round's matches are drawn randomly at the conclusion of the previous round. As could be expected, the Premier League teams generally come out on top, but lower-tiered "Giant Killers" conquer the bigger guys every year.
This is pure genius. Inspired by the British system, I hereby suggest that we Yanks adopt a similar annual contest, but with our version of football. If you think the NFL playoffs are exciting (or are still steaming over the BCS), imagine this: We gather teams from every football league in America-- every JuCo, Division III, Division II, NCAA FCS & FBS, NFL, UFL, CFL, whatever remains of the XFL, and why not, the Lingerie Football League-- and throw them into one giant tournament. Sure, the pros are going to win the whole thing 99 times out of 100, but what about the occasional USC over Cleveland Browns upset? You can't tell me that this wouldn't be the best sporting event of our lifetime (barring the Giants World Series, of course).