Welcome to Bleacher Report's Weekly Why, a place where we discuss world football's biggest questions that may go neglected and/or avoided. Ranging from the jovial to the melancholic, no subject matter is deemed off limits.
Why Did Leicester City Win the Premier League?
I still haven't fully processed what happened on Monday.
I'm not dreaming. I've not gone insane. I'm not on any medication, yet somehow, Leicester City Football Club have won the Premier League. It's an incredible thing to witness; it's an incredible thing to even type: Leicester City, Premier League champions.
It's supremely awkward, but I can't stop smiling.
Every time an implausible sporting event happens, there's always someone proclaiming: "You'll never see anything like this again." My entire life, I've always thought that was nonsense.
When Donovan Bailey ran a then-world-record time of 9.84 in the 100 metres at the 1996 Summer Olympics, I remember hearing: "You'll never see anything like this again." I didn't know Usain Bolt existed in 1996, but remember sarcastically thinking, as a young kid: "Really?"
Too often we get caught in the moment, losing all sense of clarity and objectivity.
That said, would I be wrong for having second thoughts after Leicester City won the Premier League? It's almost like everything I know about football—and sports in general—has been knocked from a shelf, waiting for me to rearrange it.
Half of me thinks: "Surely, another club will come from the depths of relegation, overcome 5,000-1 odds (should those even exist anymore) and win England's top domestic league." The other half says: "Daniel, get real; it's never happening again! There are too many variables, too many things that must transpire for these kinds of inexplicable stories to happen."
Somewhere down the line, another Leicester City will arrive; but will I be alive for them? Probably not.
We must, therefore, appreciate this extraordinary season for what it was—acknowledging the breathtaking work Leicester City completed on behalf of themselves, their manager, Claudio Ranieri, their club, their supporters and the global footballing community at large.
To fully comprehend Leicester City's accomplishment, understanding should come from their would-be title rivals.
Why did the Foxes win the Premier League?
Commitment, perseverance, determination, solidarity and maturity. Those attributes—combined with Riyad Mahrez, Jamie Vardy, N'Golo Kante, Wes Morgan, Robert Huth, Danny Drinkwater, Marc Albrighton and others having the seasons of their respective careers—are the primary reasons why their captain Morgan will lift the Premier League trophy.
Should we, though, neglect secondary reasons to further deify Leicester?
Would that be fair to history?
Would that be fair to them?
Would that be fair to us?
I don't think so.
Leicester City's triumph cannot be fully explained without exploring the toil of others. What gave this season its complexity and colour wasn't just the unforeseen arrival of Ranieri's men, but also the crumbling of empires around them.
Chelsea, who won the league by an eight-point margin last year, have offered possibly the worst title defence in Premier League history. Their demise is just as inexplicable as Leicester City's rise.
Having sacrificed their best-ever manager, Jose Mourinho, and entering a summer of uncertainty, Chelsea's story—while not as romantic, rather tragic—is directly correlated to the Foxes' first EPL crown. If the Blues played the entire season as they did against Tottenham Hotspur, for example, 2015/16's trajectory changes.
Manchester City spent £137.5 million this season; Kevin De Bruyne (£55 million) and Raheem Sterling (£44 million) were the bulk of that outlay. The Citizens could finish 15 points worse than they did last year. Compounded with Pep Guardiola's midseason managerial announcement, the champions twice removed didn't cope well with their title aspirations.
Manchester United are likely to finish outside the top four, signaling a regression from 2014/15. Manager Louis van Gaal was under pressure from the season's first whistle, and that unsettled energy seemingly permeated throughout the Red Devils' dressing room.
Arsenal—who beat Leicester City twice—should feel the most aggrieved. With every other recognised title contender falling on their backside, the Gunners only spent £15 million this season. A more aggressive Arsene Wenger in the transfer market, securing a world-class centre-forward, and maybe the season's story is written differently.
At every turn (whether in their control or not) Leicester won. Capitalising on the misfortune or indecision of others, the Foxes grabbed each chance and collected the magic number of 77 points, with two games in hand.
Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal having subpar years in the same season is difficult to interpret on its own. One might expect, then, Tottenham, Liverpool or Everton to reap the benefits of those hardships, but not Leicester City.
This King Power Stadium collective usurping and upstaging perennial contenders—becoming the sixth club to win the Premier League (before Tottenham, Liverpool, Everton, etc.)—boggles the mind.
It doesn't make much sense. Then again, maybe it's not supposed to. Leicester City won the league because of their own persistence plus the carnage surrounding them, but to be honest it's going to take time to process the past 10 months.
How much time? I don't know.
One thing I do know: For at least the next 12 months, I'm going to hear: "We know what we are, we know what we are, champions of England, we know what we are," cascading from terraces like a waterfall.
When I realise it's the Foxes' supporters, I'll be forced to smile—we all will.