Is American football better than soccer?
The 100th season of the National Football League (NFL) opened with a rival duel on Friday night. The Green Bay Packers beat the Chicago Bears 10-3. Now it can really start!
The NFL is the largest sports league in the world - American football, the national sport of the United States. I was interested in this even before I started working as a US reporter at BLICK. But I only really learned to love the round egg when I moved to the United States.
In the meantime, at least as a neutral fan, I prefer to watch football rather than soccer. These are my four main reasons:
1. Fair system - no Paris Saint-Germain
In contrast to football, where the richest clubs can afford the best players in the world with salaries of any number of millions, the NFL has what is known as the “salary cap”. This is set for all 32 football teams and is the same for everyone. So the worst team can spend just as much as the best franchise of the past year. That makes for a financially fair competition. There will never be a Paris Saint-Germain in football.
The second point: The poorer sporting clubs are somewhat preferred in the transfers. Every summer, the draft system ensures that the worst team in the preseason can choose the best junior player from college. Then it comes to the second worst team and chooses the second best player - and so on. This ensures a more balanced and therefore more exciting competition.
2. Video evidence that works
In the NFL, referees have had technical assistance available for over 20 years. In football, video evidence (VAR) is just two years old and is still in its infancy. The VAR is accordingly problematic.
The first half of the last Bundesliga season will not be forgotten, when one VAR debacle followed the next. Or the 2018 World Cup in Russia, where spectators in the stadium and at home in front of the TV sets asked each other several times what exactly was going on on the field.
In the NFL, the process is more transparent: the audience is informed by the referee himself about the use of the video evidence via a microphone. You will also find out the final decision live and first hand. But don't worry: there are still discussions in football. As in football, there are gray areas in the NFL that can sometimes be argued about for days.
3. More tension thanks to the «less is more» principle
You can watch top football for almost twelve months a year today. When Real Madrid is not playing one of its almost 40 league games, Ramos and Co. play the Champions League, League Cup or Supercup. In December 2018, the Madrilenians also took part in the Club World Cup. An overkill!
It's different in American football: Tom Brady and his New England Patriots can be seen on the field five months a year. Once a week. The teams play a total of 16 games in the regular season. Means: Every single game counts twice as much as, for example, in the Spanish football league.
The top twelve teams make it to the NFL playoffs in January - there are a maximum of four more games. Whoever wins goes further, whoever loses has to go on vacation. A “master” cannot be determined five laps before the end. That creates a lot of tension and even more drama every year. The fans love it!
4. Sport for the (peaceful) people
Unlike football, there are no riots in football. Sure: 99 percent of football fans are not ready to use violence. And yet it is not possible in Switzerland to walk through Basel with an FCZ shirt - or vice versa. In American football, on the other hand, you meet opposing fans before the game for the so-called tailgate party. This is a social event in the parking lots in front of the stadium, where people listen to music together, have a barbecue and enjoy a beer.
And: There are many football games in the USA on free TV. You can also watch at least two encounters per week for free in German-speaking countries (SAT 1 or ProSieben MAXX). Anyone who wants to watch football matches from England, Germany, Spain or Italy in Switzerland has to dig deep into their pockets.
American football is about gaining space to score.
The offensive tries to get into the opposing end zone. The defensive tries to stop the offensive.
The offensive can throw the round egg or simply run with it.
In total, the offensive has four attempts to get 10 yards. If this does not succeed, possession changes.
- Playing time: 4 quarters of 15 minutes
- Number of players: 11 per team on the field
- Playing field, length: 100 yards (about 91 meters)
- Playing field, width: 53 yards (about 49 meters)
So there are points:
- 7 points for a "touchdown" (throwing or carrying the egg into the opponent's end zone)
- 3 points for a "field goal" (shoot an egg into the opponent's tuning fork-shaped goal)
- 2 points for a «Safety» (if the defensive stops the attacking team's ball carrier in its own end zone)
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