Guest Post: 7 Reasons That American Football is Better Than Soccer
It’s the first weekend of the Six Nations, so who better to hand the 7 Reasons sofa to than blogger, occasional 7 Reasons guest poster and sports nut, Richard O’Hagan. And what more appropriate subject for him to write about than…oh…the Super Bowl? Which is also happening this weekend. Apparently.
It’s Super Bowl weekend. What do you mean you hadn’t noticed? How could you not notice? It’s the biggest single sporting event in the world. No other event makes an entire country grind to a halt like the first Sunday in February does in America. You want to know how special it is? It’s one of only three days in the year when Americans actually manage to eat MORE than usual – no matter how impossible that might be to imagine.
Yes, all over America, football fans will be doing their best Mr Creosote impressions, barbecuing as if their very lives depended upon it and convincing themselves that they have room for just one more giant pretzel, before settling down in front of the television for the sporting event of the year. Meanwhile, people like me attempt to stay awake until stupid o’clock in the morning, because despite all of the above the Yanks haven’t yet worked out that there are people elsewhere in the world who like to watch the game, too, so they start the game at somewhere near midnight UK time.
And why do I put myself through this every year? Simple. American Football knocks just about every winter game into, if not a cocked hat, then a football helmet. And that particularly includes what Americans call soccer, because:
1. Fat People Can Play This Game, Too. Come on, when was the last time you saw a fat guy playing what, to avoid confusion, we shall also call ‘soccer’? A really fat person, the sort of guy who would make the 1980s Jan Molby look anorexic. I’ll tell you. Never. Even William ‘Fatty’ Foulkes, the fattest man ever to play professional football, was only average size for an American footballer. It’s an all-inclusive sport, you see, and for some positions on the field being 300lb-plus is a minimum requirement. And it is not just being over 300lbs that counts, because every one of those guys can run 40 yards in less than 6 seconds, and most of them do it in close to 5. Go and try that for yourself. Most of you won’t even come close.
2. And The Players Are Educated, Too. There’s one unbreakable rule in American Football, and that’s the one that says that you can’t play it professionally unless you have been to university for at least three years. Proper university. No going to the Mail Order University of Chipping Sodbury. And no studying nonsense degrees such as ‘The History of Popular Music Since the Spice Girls’. There are guys playing football with degrees from Harvard, from Yale and all of the other elite US universities. Compare that to a sport where Frank Lampard is regarded as educated because he has more than one GCSE.
3. Cheerleaders. Yes, I know that some soccer clubs have tried this, but frankly they are rubbish and wouldn’t even make a high school cheerleading team in the States. Football teams have proper cheerleaders, most of whom have also gone to university to train as cheerleaders. When it comes to grinning inanely, clenching your butt cheeks and waving pom-poms, you have to say that football is the best.
4. Lingerie. Sepp Blatter famously wanted female soccer players to wear skimpier kits. Americans have already embraced that idea and the women’s football is played indoors in little more than lingerie and protective pads. Google ‘Lingerie League’ and you’ll see what I mean. You might think it wrong and you might think it demeaning, but it gets a heck of a lot more television than the women’s premier league does and pays better, too.
5. Adverts. One of the biggest whinges about Football is the number of ad breaks, but in fact you hardly notice them (and see reason number six anyway). But look at the players’ kit. Notice anything? Takes you back, doesn’t it? Back to the era before every soccer team sullied their shirts with advertising. Every kit is pure and unadulterated and you can wear your team’s shirt without in some way providing your own endorsement for some evil corporate monolith and their tax-dodgy, peasant-exploiting ways.
6. Beer. You can drink alcohol at football matches. In most stadia they even bring it to your seat. You can’t do that at a soccer match. And even if you don’t have in-seat service you still need something to do during the ad breaks, and what better to do than getting another beer?
7. Hardness. Every time I see a soccer player lying sobbing on the pitch because an opponent breathed on him, I reach for the sick bag. You want to see proper hard men, watch the US game. And do it without whinging about the helmets and padding, because that just proves that you don’t know why they are worn (the explanation is too long for here). Instead, think of someone like kicker Nate Kaeding, who in 2008 played three games without realising he had a broken leg. That’s ‘leg’, not ‘fingernail’, soccer fan.
So go on, give the game a try. Take Monday off work, stock up on pretzels, doughnuts and tasteless beer, and settle down for some American action. It’s better than football.