By Any Name, UEFA Cup Is Still Europe's NIT
Things changed a few years back, though. The big tournament started letting in more and more teams from the bigger leagues. Suddenly, the other tournament was filled with teams that weren't among the best of the rest, and the tournament became little more than a consolation prize for the teams that weren't good enough to compete with the big boys...
Now, if you were American and didn't know this was a soccer post, you would probably assume I was talking about the National Invitational Tournament, the college basketball tournament that was big deal before the NCAA Tournament expanded. But no, I'm talking about the UEFA Cup, Europe's other club soccer tournament, which was quite prestigious up until the 1990s, when the European Cup morphed into the UEFA Champions League and expanded beyond domestic title winners.
Now UEFA wants to change the name of the UEFA Cup to something fancy like "UEFA Europa League," figuring that rebranding it might make it seem more important. The only way to restore the old prestige, though, is to make the Champions League a champions-only tournament again, and that's not going to happen any time soon. No matter what you call it, the UEFA Cup will remain Europe's NIT.