Sports are perhaps the best environment for modern-day David vs. Goliath stories to play out. The template is simple, but always effective: first, you need a player, coach, team, or all three that no one believes in. Next, some form of incredible adversity, usually along the lines of a long-standing powerhouse opponent. Finally, the inevitable toppling of said powerhouse by none other than the little one(s) that never stood a chance.
Last night, soccer's Leicester City of the English Premier League didn't totally complete the above script. What the team actually did over the course of the season was take those near-impossible odds, multiply them to a level that was beyond impossible, and overcome them anyway. After Tottenham failed to beat Chelsea, Leicester secured the first top-level title in its 132-year history — and some are calling it the greatest sports story of all time!
Why? Because of sheer odds. Before the season began, the team was at 5,000-1 to become Premier League champions, and rightfully so after it nearly fell out of league last year.
"I'm so proud," said manager Claudio Ranieri upon his team's triumph. "I'm happy for my players, for the chairman, for the staff at Leicester City, all our fans, and the Leicester community. It's an amazing feeling and I'm so happy for everyone."
For some perspective, ESPN put together a list of the longest odds in history that have been overcome or nearly overcome, and the closest one to Leicester's was 1,000-1, when the 2013 Auburn football team almost won the national championship. Those 5,000-1 odds? They're the same as a legitimate bet in England that Elvis is still alive. Yep.
If you wish you somehow had the foresight to put some money on the feat at the beginning of the season, $100 then would have led to a $500,000 payoff now. Hindsight is 20/20, isn't it?
The team itself could care less about your lost opportunity, though. It'll bask in the sheer improbability of the title it just brought to its rabid fan base for years to come.
Cover image: Michael Regan / Getty Images