5 Reasons Why American Football Hasn’t Caught On Abroad

Editor’s note: This article which originally posted in 2015, does not necessarily reflect the views of American Football International but it does make some points that are worthy of discussion.

The big American four—football, baseball, basketball and hockey—don’t have the international appeal that they have in the United States (hockey in Canada being the exception), but there’s something about American football that has the world scratching its collective head.

It’s ironic, since football is, by leaps and bounds, the most popular sport in this country. Heck, it’s one of the most popular television programs in this country, period. Even with epic shows like “Game of Thrones” and “The Walking Dead” on Sunday night, their ratings don’t even touch Sunday Night Football, which is one of the most watched shows of the week.

So why is the world so resistant to football? What are these international stereotypes of this great game and are they even true?

1. “Nothing Happens Between Plays”

HOUSTON, TX - FEBRUARY 1: Singers Janet Jackson and surprise guest Justin Timberlake perform during the halftime show at Super Bowl XXXVIII between the New England Patriots and the Carolina Panthers at Reliant Stadium on February 1, 2004 in Houston, Texas. At the end of the performance, Timberlake tore away a piece of Jackson's outfit. (Photo by Frank Micelotta/Getty Images)

Singers Janet Jackson and surprise guest Justin Timberlake perform during the halftime show at Super Bowl XXXVIII between the New England Patriots and the Carolina Panthers.

Soccer is the ultimate ongoing sport. The clock only stops for the half and even runs through injuries (which does get tacked on at the end of the game). So it’s easy for someone outside of the United States to see American football as a stop-and-go sport with nothing happening between plays.

But anyone who understands the game knows otherwise. Football is a game of chess, not checkers, and the games are really won and lost between plays as coaches and coordinators devise the next move that could make or break the entire season. This is also why good commentary is so crucial to the game. The guys up in the booth help us understand the strategy.

2. “It’s Too Complicated”

NFL - complex play

There’s a lot going on in football, even between plays, and it is hard to understand for someone who has no exposure to the game. Soccer, the world’s most popular sport, is also the easiest to understand. Think about how hard it was to explain football to your girlfriend who never watched a game and apply that to the rest of the world.

3. “The Advertising is Ridiculous”

NFL - advertising

Advertising on the big screen during Super Bowl XLV. Courtesy of https://www.sportsonearth.com/article/67170458/national-football-league-corporate-sponsors-television-ads

TV timeouts are a bummer, but the notion that our version of football is riddled with ads compared to soccer is what’s ridiculous. The American jersey is sacred ground and isn’t laced with a sponsor unlike any soccer team in the world. Sure, every other inch of the stadium, parking lot, and broadcast is covering in corporate ads, but there’s something about the jersey that just isn’t meant to be touched.

4. “Coaches Are An Untouchable Establishment”

NFL - Coaches

Former Jacksonville Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio. Courtesy of lammatlarge.wordpress.com

It’s easy to look at guys like Bill Bellichick in the NFL and Nick Saban in the NCAA and think all coaches are untouchable like they are, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Take Chip Kelly, for example. He left the University of Oregon to coach the Philadelphia Eagles and fans are trying to run him out of town after less than two seasons. In fact, University of Southern California is already seeking a replacement for its head coach and looking for Chip Kelly to step down from coaching in the NFL. There is certainly no job security in that career.

5. “American Football is a Socialist Sport”

NFL - salary cap space

Courtesy of https://www.businessinsider.com/chart-nfl-salary-cap-space-2015-2

Wait, what?

This is America we’re talking about here and nothing is socialist! Except that when you compare football to soccer, it totally is. Most European leagues have no salary cap or revenue sharing, so the teams with the richest owners can assemble teams that would make the New York Yankees payroll look like pennies. The NFL has both a salary cap and revenue sharing with smaller market teams in the league. And also unlike soccer, it has an annual draft to ensure the worst performing teams have first pick of the best new players. Socialism is alive and well in the NFL.

Article by Social Monster

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