North American Soccer League
Years of Existence: 1968-1985
Nothing says "win or die" quite like feigning an injury with an exaggerated, demonstrative roll in the grass. Soccer players are willing to do whatever it takes to win, even if it means emasculating themselves in front of a sold out stadium. Hockey players get a lot of credit for playing with broken eye sockets and lacerated kidneys, but if they were that committed to winning, they'd stage a fit to set up a power play or something.
The New York Cosmos ignited America's love for the global game of soccer by bringing in an over-the-hill Pele from Brazil and a has-been German superstar in Franz Beckenbauer. During their '78 Championship win, Giants Stadium hosted a crazed crowd of more than 70K fans. It was a moment that captured the Big Apple in a way the Islanders and Rangers could only dream of.