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Sunday, August 08, 2004

Why I like American football

In answer to this question left be Al:

You mean to tell me a Brit prefers American football to the European blend? Amazing! How in the world did that happen?

It happened mostly because I have never ever liked soccer. I have watched a total of two soccer matches in my life, and I have never been so bored. And those were national games where I had a chance of getting excited. I find it dull and utterly uninteresting. I can't even be energised enough about the sport to properly insult it.

On the other hand I have always liked watching rugby - speciacally Rugby Union. Rugby is exciting. It can be utterly magical as the ball is passed along the line, faked and switch-passed, as the line gets broken, to see centres or forwards powering through, dragging would-be tacklers for several yards, to see wingers take off and side-step around befuddled defenders, or to see one of the those defenders close of an attack with a bone-crunching, spine-chilling tackle.

Rugby and (American) Football are rather similar. Rugby is more free-flowing, and therefore somewhat less tactical. The game is more physical than Football, surprisingly so at first glance, and players are less specialised. Football is more tactical, the down system breaking each play into well-defined units. The quarterback position also has no analogy in rugby - and therefore adds its own wonderful dimension.

If pressed I would have to say I would give rugby a slight edge - but only because I can get to watch England playing rugby and that's something that Football does not offer.

However, back to the question about how it happened. The answer is a trip to Boston 20 months or so ago, to see Waddling Thunders. I arrived on a Friday. Naturally that Sunday WT thought it was high-time that I was introduced to Football. It was the Patriots vs the Bills (iirc). Shall we say I was hooked from the first play. Unlike in baseball where I do definitely have a "favourite" team I don't really in NFL/college. Perhaps that is something that'll start to develop this year. who knows.

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