Wednesday, 8 February 2012

An Aggravated Response

Just read a Blog by my good friend Richard And his usually impeccably perceptive sporting analysis was this week horribly flawed. here is my paragraph by paragraph response to his article
No apologise necessary mate. 

While Dubbing the Superbowl the greatest show on earth is perhaps a little melodramatic, however it does frequently have the highest viewing figures of any American show every year. This shows that to the average American it is the greatest show on earth. Speaking of the sport in a worldwide context it is also important to remember that the superbowl will probably be the 4th most watched sporting event in the world this year, displaced only by the Olympic opening ceremony (which only occurs every 4 years), the Champions League final and the final stage of the tour de France. Next year it will be the 3rd most watched, giving it a claim certainly to being one of the most watched shows on earth.

World Champions is a true fact. The rugby world cup exists despite the fact only about 8 nations have a chance to win the tournament. Why is NFL any different? Only one country enters but that does not mean the sport is only open to one country, it is called the world championship because it is the highest honour in the sport and they are the best team in the world.

Now you turn to the problems with the sport being dull which is something that you hear a lot from British people who don’t really watch the sport. First in American culture sport is a day’s entertainment, fans turn up to matches with friends for what is called a tailgate sharing drinks with other fans, having a BBQ and snacking etc, this also happens in American homes, inviting people over to watch the game is a social event. You watch a play, have a swig of beer, and chat to the mates, rather than sitting down with the sole intention of watching the sport. The criticism of the sports stop start nature is often presented by people who don’t watch on a regular basis. When a play is run 90% of the time there is time for one reply before the next play starts. In that time coaches are working out tactics to be used in the next play based upon a dynamic game plan and things they notice on the field. A huge wealth of factors go into designing each play, which are not immediately obvious to the casual observer or someone who clearly has no grasp of the sport (such as the blogger in question). The only time when there are significant breaks in the play are at the end of a ¼, at a time out or at a change of possession. This time is used for teams to switch ends, switch game plans and switch personnel respectively. A necessity for the game to proceed.

Plays may only last a few seconds but that gives way to a completely different type of fitness to that used by rugby or football players. Aerobic respiration takes place during a rugby match where players are not full throttle the whole time they are on the field. American football is the opposite, giving everything you have in the tank over a short period anaerobically and then recharging in between. Having played the sport (something the blogger has clearly not) I can explain that every second you are on the pitch from when the ball is snapped to when the play is whistled dead you are sprinting. Questioning the fitness of these athletes is frankly a joke; the hundred metre final is over in less than 10 seconds, yet you would never question their fitness. Failing to acknowledge the difference between aerobic and anaerobic exercise is frankly embarrassing and shows a distinct lack of understanding.

Quarter back is skill position; you’ve over simplified a very complicated game. For starters on average a quarterback has 3 seconds in the pocket before he is tackled by an opposition player, in that time he has to assess the type of defence being played, is it zone or man coverage and if there is a blitz. Once this is done he has to go through a series of ‘reads’ to analyse which receiver is open and where he will be by the time the ball has arrived. Finally he has to throw the ball into an area in which only the receiver can catch it, sometimes from distances as far as 60 yards away. Please try to stand that far away from a wheelie bin and throw an American football at it. If you can hit that every time, you might have what it takes to be an NFL QB, once you’ve mastered everything else of course…

The NFL imposes 15 yard penalties for unsportsmanlike conduct and excessive celebration over celebration is a problem in the NFL, but it is in my opinion no greater problem then diving in football.

I’d challenge you to tell a William Perry or Ndamukong Suh (Slowest man in the 2010 NFL draft) that he is fat. At the NFL combine who ran the 40 yard dash in 5.03 seconds, he also bench pressed 225 pounds (which is around 102kg and more than I do) 32 times in a row. Can jump over 35 inches from standing (the height of his jump - his height standing with his arm in the air) and  jump 8 feet horizontally (also from standing). I would challenge the blogger to match any of these stats yourself.

Your last point is despicable. In rugby, players make tackles in open play with very little padding, this is true. However certain rules exist for the protection of individuals. Players cannot be lifted off their feet, players must “hit and wrap” and may not be touched in the air. In the NFL none of these rules hold. Other rules also exist such as the fact players are allowed to launch themselves into a collision with another player, who does not even see them coming. While in rugby a player with the ball will be able to see where a hit is coming from and brace. An NFL receiver attempting to catch the ball can be hit from behind by a player who simply launches himself, making no attempt to wrap his arms around but driving through with his shoulder. Simply put rugby is a contact sport, whereas NFL is a collision sport. Hence padding is necessary to protect players. 



  1. You don't have to be a player to criticise, remember that.

  2. Why is this the blog of "and LSE undergrad?"?

  3. I'm aware that I got the question marks a bit screwed in the above comment

  4. @Harry, you are of course right, but to publish criticism on something you should do do so with at least some knowledge of what you intend to criticise