December 04, 2018

Football - the Last Days of the Old West

Timothy Birdnow

Recently a discussion erupted among the editors here at The Aviary over the future of Football. Dana Mathewson observed:

"I like this too. Do you suppose the NFL is FINALLY getting the message?"

This over a story about an NFL campaign "My Cleats, My Cause" and the donation of a player to promote U.S. Israeli relations. This led to a discussion about the future of Football and the NFL, and why they keep (maddeningly) promoting the Kaperneching of the League. below is the rest of the thread:

Tim states:

I think they are just slapping a band-aid on their hemorrhaging wound. Or at least this player is. But I think the NFL is still committed to becoming international, and getting a new, non-white, non English speaking fan base. They think it's the wave of the future, but they may well have no future.


Dana Mathewson says:

How much popularity does American football have outside the states, do you think, Tim? Canadian football is an aberration (that's all I can think of to call it), if it even still exists; and the rest of the world dotes on that wimpy, boring, socialistic non-strategic melange called soccer, futebol, or whatever, depending on what s**thole country you are watching it in -- hopefully on TV, not in a stadium where you may end up in a riot for no good reason. It may have been a great sport once, when Pele was an international star, but these days it's similar to wrestling as far as phoniness. It may be that the NFL is throwing mucho buckos down a rathole. Dare we hope?


Jack Kemp states:

There a small American football clubs in countries like Italy but I doubt if it will replace soccer over there or anywhere else in Europe or South America or Asia. It will not have the popularity of baseball (or beisbol) in South and Central America. If you break a collar bone in football, what socialized medicine country knows how or wants to bother treating it?

The NFL games played in Europe are a type of one off entertainment event, like a visit from an American pop singer.

Tim replies:

I agree, Jack. I fear the NFL owners may think (hope) otherwise.

Football is uniquely American and it just doesn't translate well to other countries. Fighting to take ground presupposes 1.property can be owned 2.you have a right to fight for what you have, and try to take what a competitor has away 3.you work as a team but everyone is an individual who matters 4.there are rules to play by but one does not live and die by them 5.officials are not supposed to govern the game but call violations of rules 6.you can come from behind to win, even late in any game 6. there is a strategy in every play, even when it seems chaotic 7. victory comes to those who are bold 8. Victory comes to those who do the best job of executing. These are al American virtues, largely at odds with the socialist mentalities of other countries. Who can imagine the British playing football, or enjoying it? It's individualism meets team effort would not make any sense to them. The same holds true for most of the world.

I think the NFL is wrong to believe they are going to turn football into a world sport. And if they do, will it still be football? The whole concussion thing will see that it is watered down, made into more of a run and throw game and less of a hit and tackle sport. Take the roughness out of football and you suck the Americanism right out of it. Football was at it's most basic a celebration of the rough and read American frontier spirit. It was the last home of the American cowboy. Cow punchers turned to offensive line players, and the trail bosses are Quarter Backs or coaches. The spirit of the old West was kept alive in football. I doubt any Latinos will enthusiastically take to the game.

When the NFL turns to touch football, with women playing in the backfield and whatnot, the game will be lost. You know that is coming soon.

Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at 10:44 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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