There are seven major UK football leagues in total, with the top one featuring only the best 20 teams. While higher status often equates to better resources, more sponsorship deals, and more fans, AFC Richmond also has a reputation to uphold as one of twenty teams considered the best of the best. Only right now, they’re looking more like the worst of the best. The three teams with the worst record at season’s end get relegated to Championship, meaning that AFC Richmond needs to place above #18 in the standing to maintain their status. Ironically, while AFC Richmond is fake, the team that Nate coaches in the show, West Ham, is currently straddling this line in real life with a #17 ranking as of publication time.

You’d think the purposeful impermanence of Premier League status and the existence of many other leagues would mean AFC Richmond needn’t feel too much pressure, but imagine if American sports worked this way. How would Steelers, Seahawks, or Patriots fans respond if their team suddenly got demoted thanks to a bad season? Would Lakers, Warriors, or Bulls fans react kindly to a relegation? If Americans tend to set cars on fire when their teams win, I can only imagine how much drama the relegation system would cause if it applied to sports in the U.S. AFC Richmond has a lot riding on maintaining their league status, and a lot of people they don’t want to let down.

The pressure is palpable in the the premiere, and with “Ted Lasso” season 3 possibly set to end the series, AFC Richmond could definitely use a big win. New episodes of “Ted Lasso” stream on Apple TV+ on Wednesdays.