The FA (Football Association) Cup is a year-long competition in England for the to determine the best football (soccer) team in the land.
It is open to EVERY single club to enter.
The teams at the top of the pyramid in English soccer (the 20 teams in the Premiere League) get a bye into the 3rd-round of the competition.
Well - this past weekend, two INCREDIBLY huge upsets happened.
First - Portsmouth (a Premiere League team - currently in 9th place) defeated Manchester United (also in the Prem, currently in 2nd place) on ManU's home pitch (field) for the first time in something like 50 years.
Yes - you read that correctly - FIFTY years.
Imagine losing at Lambeau for 50 years in a row.
Second - Barnsley (NOT a Premiere League team - one from the next league down, the Championship League - and the 19th(of 24) place team, to boot) defeated Chelsea (a Prem team - currently 3rd in the standings) in the other FA cup quarter-final on Saturday.
That puts the Final Four for the FA cup as:
Portsmouth - 9th place in the top Premiere League
Barnsley - 19th place in the #2 Championship League
West Brom Albion - 4th place in the #2 Championship League
Cardiff - 14th place in the #2 Championship League
I'm not sure I'm doing an adequate job in explaining how monumental this final four is.
NONE of the "Big 4" of English football (ManU, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool) made the semi-finals.
Between those 4 teams, they've won all but TWO FA Cups since 1989, including the last 12 in a row.
And now none of them are even in the competition any more.
I'm trying to draw parallels, but there aren't any.
Consider if the USA had a structure where every medium-sized city had a pro football team.
And then imagine there was a giant competition for the Super Bowl title with every team eligible.
Well - the Albany Albatrosses beat the New England Patriots and the Tulsa Oilmen knocked off the Indianapolis Colts.
And the final four are those two, plus the Des Moines Farmers and the Detroit Lions.