=== Viability ===
It's funny, because the NFL and MLB give "death sentences" to athletes who get anywhere near the periphery of fixing games or points shaving.
The NFL and MLB figure, rightly, that if the fans began to suspect that they were going to waste a trip to the stadium, on a fixed game, that the fans would stop showing up. Right! I certainly would. I'm a relatively new fan to soccer. With the U.S. game, soccer lost about 50% of its hit points with me. It's not going to take many more of those fiascoes for me to turn it off, for the same reason that I turn off Big Time Rasslin'.
It's an amazing contrast. The U.S. believes that fair ref'ing goes to the very survival at the sport, while other contries seem to believe it doesn't matter much at all. Chat board after chat board, for'ners tell U.S. soccer fans hey! Just calm down already! What's the big deal?
Which leaves us the amazing question: why does every country, other than the U.S., watch soccer despite this lack of confidence in a true outcome?
Is it because they've got nothing better to watch? If that's true, SSI concludes that the U.S. system of sports entertainment is fundamentally, and vastly, superior to the European system. Watching MLB, and NBA, and the NFL, is just a far better sports experience than watching fixed soccer games because there's nothing else to watch.
Soccer fans who disagree, make your case.
When the 1997 (??) Phoenix Suns got sent to the finals against Michael Jordan, by shooting 50 foul shots to the Sonics' 18, or whatever .... I felt I knew who pressured the refs.
I thought it was the league itself that wanted a Barkley-Jordan matchup. And because I felt like I knew the man behind the curtain -- Stern -- I felt like a had a real good handle on how much the league script affects NBA games. (Not that much.)
In 2005, I thought that probably the NFL itself had a stake in Pittsburgh winning, though I still can't quite figure out why. If the NFL scripts winners in order to drive up its industry TV revenue, it does so subtly enough that I can live with it.
But in Italian soccer, I feel like the cheating and fixing goes on, on such a massive scale, that the sport is not watchable. The English Premier League is different: I've watched it for two years and referee influence is more like that in the NBA or NFL.
=== Top 10 Dept. ===
To lighten the mood a bit :- ) here's an info-taining rundown of one fan's worst 10 blown calls.
Real good list and descriptions give us a good start on it. He's got Eric Gregg's strike zone in the 1997 World Series ... Don Denkinger's first base call that cost baseball not a statistical accomplishment (perfect game) but actually swung a World Series the other way ... he did miss the 2005 Eddings call that swung the Angels - White Sox playoff series, though. (I didn't even know that blogspot site was still up!)