Originally posted on Goonersphere.
Football is constantly in battle with itself.
Fans of differing generations put forth their strongest hands, claiming it was better in their day.
What is overlooked often though, is that all generations of the sport have their part to play in creating the behemoth we see today.
So, in essence, we are all correct and wrong simultaneously. The ills that blight the game are simply symptoms of the path the game has walked, set on its way by the elders we all look upon with the highest regard.
There are current factors in the game that are pored over thanks to their nefarious nature. Diving, playacting, pleading for set-plays and the booking of the opposition, the obscene amounts of money. All eating away at the soul of the beautiful game.
Well I’m here to tell you that we could have it far worse.
America embrace sports just as passionately as us. The big games across the pond are treated with such gravitas that they are akin to a public holiday – and none are bigger than the Superbowl.
The buildup to this auspicious day is so gargantuan it has now started to bleed into our day over here. Not only this, but American Football is now big business over here. Fan clubs and games played in the UK means gridiron is now standing alongside our very own sports for attention.
I have recently attempted to dip my proverbial toe into the waters of American Football. I follow pretty much all sports, some more avidly than others, but if it is competitive and has points, I’ll watch it. I have watched some games on the TV and recently, I went to Wembley with my brother and dad to catch a game.
It was an absolutely awful experience, and even though our very own football has its wrongs, they pale into comparison alongside gridiron.
We moan about stoppages in football.
We have NOTHING to moan about.
American Football, in the majority of matches I have seen, have three seconds of play, followed by at least three to five minutes of stoppages. It is so staccato, so regularly peppered with nothing, that the entertainment that takes place in these hiatuses in play is fundamental.
Without it, spectators would just be sitting and watching the players stand in a field. The blow is softened somewhat when watching on TV as pundits and replays fill the voids, but four quarters of fifteen minutes drips by thanks to this awful system.
And we thought we had it bad with players moaning at referees and holding the play up.
My experience with American Football has left me thirstier for actual football. If these two sports were movies, then football would be Die Hard and American Football would be Die Hard 4. With less action. And the guns replaced with balloons.
Gridiron fans wax lyrical about the hard hits these hard men take. Granted, occasionally these men covered in padding receive a really vicious tackle, but compare this to Rugby where players are constantly in the thick of it, not allowed to have a breather after three and a half seconds of action.
Stop, stop, stop, start. There is no rhythm to that American sport. It is frustrating to watch, it isn’t fun like sports are meant to be.
Anyone who disagrees with me, watch a game of football alongside a match of gridiron. Watch how time ticks by in a natural manner on the clock during ‘soccer.’
Then look at the gameclock during a game of American ‘Football.’ Gadzooks! Time stands still as if frozen? What is this sorcery?
Physical sport is meant to be frantic, it is meant to tick by. Even goalless draws have those minutes at the end of the game where chances are made and spurned. In Gridiron, there are exceptions, but it is hard to stay pumped for the duration.
The last two Superbowls are great exhibitions that this sport can thrill, but they are the exceptions.
American Football has the capacity for huge excitement. Of course it does, the audience numbers it generates are testament to this. Look at last season’s Superbowl comeback from the Patriots when they defeated the Falcons. That was a true spectacle.
It is also the exception though.
I think I’ll stick to football.