August 2011, and the Premier League is kicking off for a new season. It’s all over the sports pages, in fact it has been for weeks in England, but you know what? I’ll take the NFL over football thanks, and here’s why…
Let’s get something clear at the outset – for the purpose of this article, ‘football’ means the game played with the feet using the round ball, and ‘NFL’ means American Football. Some people get in a right state about the names, but that’s how I’m handling it, ok?
I’ve been watching football for years. I probably first got into it back in 1974, and as the national sport here it is all over the media. For a young lad interested in sport it was great to watch, and many people argue that I was able to enjoy the heyday of the sport here.
I’ve also enjoyed the NFL for years. I first watched it in 1984 when a new TV station launched here, and had the NFL coverage as part of its’ effort to seem different. I fell in love with that game, as did many others here, before the NFL priced itself out of TV coverage here.
It’s been back on TV for a good few years now, and as both sports approach the start of a new season, I find football leaving me rather cold, whereas I’m looking forward to watching some NFL. So, why would I prefer a US import over the national sport here..?
Well, the Premier League has become all about the money in my view. Clubs are bought by billionaires who care little about the actual sport, and simply want to buy success. That’s led to an inflated transfer market, with prima donna stars touting their service to the highest bidder.
It’s led to a position where the field is taken by one team of mercenaries playing another team of mercenaries. The stakes are so high that players will try and con the officials as much as they can, preferring to beat opposition by falsely gained set plays instead of free flowing open play.
Don’t get me wrong, the NFL is also money hungry, oh blimey yes! In fact the 2011/12 season very nearly didn’t happen, as the club owners and players argued over how they shared the ever increasing revenues coming into the game.
The lockout lasted for months, and was only settled when both sides finally cottoned on to the stark reality of losing a whole season.
As it happens, I don’t like the league structure of the NFL, it creates uneven playing schedules, whereas in football every team simply plays all the others twice. Nor do I like the fact that teams don’t get promoted or relegated from different levels of league in the NFL, which adds urgency to the results in football.
What I do like about the NFL, is the game itself.
It’s a cross between violent full-on contact, great athleticism, and tactical chess afforded by the breaks built into the game. Yes, you get players trying to con officials, but rarely with fake injuries. The game is played by men, and non triers are found out pretty fast in an environment which is way more unforgiving than football.
Both sports have a rich heritage, with clubs that have massive fan bases – locals that will follow their team through thick and thin. At the other end of the spectrum, both sports will pick up ‘bandwagon’ fans, people who will claim to be a fan of a team when it has success, but moving on to another when times get hard.
So, there we are. The autumn sees the start of a new season for two massive sports, both with their pros and cons. I will keep a keen eye on the Premier League results, but when it comes to watching, I’ll take the NFL over football, thanks.
Find out the technique I use to make money just by writing about sport, in my guide ‘Make Money From Sport’