Sports

For Football Fans Only…

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As the gridiron goes quiet for half a year or thereabouts, Ron Hart writes in the OC Register about the appeal of football:

Americans find comfort in football. In a country where most voters cannot tell you who is secretary of state, 95 per know that Peyton Manning quarterbacks the Indianapolis Colts. In "A Fan's Notes," Frederick Exley writes about the importance of football: "Why did football so bring me to life? I can't say precisely … It smacked of something old, something traditional, something unclouded by legerdemain and subterfuge. I gave myself up to the Giants utterly. The recompense I gained was the feeling of being alive."

Hart also brings the funny:

The Super Bowl represents what we Americans are all about: creative commercials occasionally interrupted by violence. During the six-hour broadcast, there were only 11 minutes of actual, live football action. Some of the commercial breaks were so long that, when we finally came back to the game, I had forgotten which teams were playing.

And what better Norman Rockwell-esque ritual could I have with my kids than to watch 20 erectile dysfunction commercials to every snap of the football? "Daddy, why are those people in bathtubs watching the sun set?" I just tell them the people lost their homes to foreclosure.

Whole thing here.

A collection of his cols (full disclosure, I blurbed it) is on sale here.

Exley's A Fan's Notes is one of the great American autobiographies and (libertarian nerd alert!) worth reading as a document of the 1950s along with the works of Ayn Rand and other works covering that period (On The Road, Catcher in The Rye, etc) about conformity, mass society, and related fears. Has anyone seen the film version featuring Jerry Ohrbach? If so, please dish now.

NEXT: Glenn Instapundit Reynolds on Tea Party Party in Nashville

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  1. In a country where most voters cannot tell you who is secretary of state, 95 per[cent] know that Peyton Manning quarterbacks the Indianapolis Colts.

    He’s kidding, right? Maybe 5%, if that.

    During the six-hour broadcast, there were only 11 minutes of actual, live football action.

    This I believe. Some of the breaks were unexplained. They just decided to stop playing for 10 minutes. The NFL has become a joke, albeit on willing dupes.

    1. The 11 min. keeps getting “proven” every few years. There was a recent news item on it.

      1. 10 minutes and 59 seconds too long.

  2. I believe he’s being facetious about the 11 minutes given that there are 4 15 minutes quarters. Unless he doesn’t count the lead up to the snap as “live action”. Also, 6 hours means he counted a couple of hours of pregame.

    So yeah, hyperbole.

    1. Espn recently had a thing on this. From the snaps to the whistle a football game only has 11-14 minutes of game-time action.

      This doesn’t count the span when a RB (or whatever) is down, a huddle occurs up to the next snap.

      IIRC, the article was blasting people who thought that baseball didn’t have enough action.

      Fuck football, as much as it has grown on me recently. I need my Boys of Summer to get me through my existence. I am also a Cubs fan, though, which means that I need baseball to go away (before the inevitable catastrophe) so that I don’t murder my self.

      I don’t commit suicide. Suicide implies giving up. When you MURDER yourself…you really mean it. It’s personal. You force yourself to suffer.

      1. I spoke with an English friend about the Super Bowl. She said she didn’t watch it because, “They’re always starting and stopping!” I’m not a soccer fan and never will be, but its continuity makes it superior to American football in that regard.

        1. Soccer is so inferior to football. It is the very quintessence of snooze.

          Football requires far more intellectual horsepower than soccer. Far more cohesion, far more study and preparation.

          And-please, who in their right mind thinks that the average soccer player can hang physically with the average football player. How many soccer guys weigh 250, 260 and can run 4.4 40s and bench press 400?

          1. What average football player can run up/down the field for 90 minutes without having a fucking stroke?

            1. Tap a soccer player on the shoulder and he’ll fall to the ground writhing as though he’s having a stroke.

            2. What average soccer player can take a hit, over, and over, and over and still get up and make plays.

              It’s two different games. One runs, other runs over. A lineman couldn’t run for 90 minutes any more than a soccer forward could take a hit from an outside linebacker and still get up.

          2. Who mentioned steroids?

          3. This is a joke, right? The essence of soccer is running. In high school soccer, our fucking warm up was a 6 mile run through the woods. The team that can run for 90 minutes and still be strong at the end wins (there are basic fundamentals necessary, but this is still true).

            Football players do sprints? Who the fuck cares. I can do sprints all day.

            1. I can do sprints all day.

              I can too. If by “sprints” you mean “walking” and by “all day” you mean “for 10 minutes.”

            2. The three components of physical fitness are strength, flexibility and aerobic capacity. Let’s do the math.

              Strength – football, hands down
              Flexibility – a toss up
              Aerobic capacity – soccer, hands down

              football – 1 pt.
              soccer – 1 pt.
              with 1 tie

              Darn. That didn’t resolve anything.

              1. Just like most soccer games.

              2. LOL at flexibility being a tie. Soccer wins that one easily.

          4. And-please, who in their right mind thinks that the average soccer player can hang physically with the average football player. How many soccer guys weigh 250, 260 and can run 4.4 40s and bench press 400?

            I’ve never understood why this argument is supposed to convince me that football is more satisfying to watch. I mean, construction workers tend to be physically larger than other human beings, but it doesn’t mean I have any interest in watching dudes build scaffolding all day.

            Not to mention, even if it is a valid argument, then it also applies to baseball, basketball, golf, tennis and pretty much EVERYTHING except maybe boxing and sumo wrestling. And I’m not sure that’s really the point the average American sports fan is really out to make.

          5. (I will say that one nice thing about being a soccer and baseball fan is that you don’t have to listen to men constantly rhapsodizing about other men’s bodies, the way they do in the football world. Um, not that there’s anything wrong with that and all…)

          6. Hogwash. All football codes have their merit. I enjoy them all (mostly our homegrown Amercian code). Buy if you want to play the comparison game, I doubt there are many gridiron players who could stand up to the type of endurance needed for 80 minutes of Rugby (Union or League) – http://www.davesfootballblog.com

        2. Why is continuity such a desirable thing? Less happens in 90 minutes of continuous soccer than in the 15 minutes of football in short bursts.

          Now I’m sure someone will tell me that things are really happening throughout the soccer game and I’m just not in tune with the game enough to see it. Fair enough: but those who don’t think anything’s happening in a football game between the whistle and the next snap is surely not paying attention either. Substitutions are being made, plays are being called, formations are being engineered, etc.

          1. those who don’t think anything’s happening in a football game between the whistle and the next snap is surely not paying attention either. Substitutions are being made, plays are being called, formations are being engineered…

            …fans are getting drunk, wives are being beaten, dogs are being kicked, pizzas are getting sold, children are getting kicked, ignored and sold, wings are being eaten, bets are being made, bets are being lost, children are getting beaten again…good times!

            1. Unlike soccer, where fans just beat the shit out of each other.

          2. Which is why I watch it. I watch the other codes (Aussie Rules, Gaelic, Rugby Union/League, and Soccer) for their unique qualities as well.

            BBC America is showing some of the RBS 6 Nations action. Right now at http://espn360.com there is a Rugby 7’s tournament happening. Check it out

            1. I’ll admit that rugby has some good points including the fact that it has players called “hookers”.

              1. As long as you don’t mind the fact that the hookers are male. NTTAWWT.

                1. Don’t you ever watch women’s rugby?

        3. In soccer, the clock counts up not down. That alone tells me it’s not worth watching.

        4. Soccer is to football fans what Sarah Palin is to the Dems…just bring the subject up and watch the hatred fly.

          I happen to love both sports. Each has the positives and negatives, but whatever, I enjoy watching/playing them.

          I’m not sure why those who don’t like soccer feel the need to bang on it so viciously regardless of the website.

          I’d say if you are a fan of athletics and competition, you should appreciate all sports on some level. If a sport is not your cup of tea, then so be it, but don’t act like a 4th grade boy and get all riled up about how my “X” is better than your “X”.

          Forza Italia 2010!

          1. Fuck the Azzurri. Right in the fucking ass! Those cockbags are the biggest bunch of cheating, diving pussies on the planet. And at the same time, the dirtiest players in the sport. Fucking assholes!

    2. the super bowl was technically 14 minutes of action

      http://tv.gawker.com/5467035/c…..ame-action

    3. Aw, damn! I missed a soccer v. football slagfest. Pity. Usual suspects saying that football is more cerebral and all that AND that “real men” play it and such?

      How fun. If football is like chess, soccer is like chess with a time limit of approximately 1/2 second per move and you have to move 3 pieces at once. Those who have watched and grown up with both games realize that.

      Football is more plodding and slow in every way but the time from snap to tackle, and even then, not always. It’s the most top-down team game that probably exists.

      Football, especially at the NFL level, has taken steps backwards, particularly in technique tackling. These fucking numbnuts think that launching themselves missile-like at the center-of-mass of their opponents is a good idea for an open-field tackle. I’ve seen more easy chances to get the ballcarrier down blown by that technique in recent years. Even better, it’s dangerous to the tackler because the morons lead with their helmets all the time.

      1. Soccer vs. football? Don’t you mean football vs American football?

      2. If soccer is like chees, most matches end with only one or two pieces captured and not unusually end in a draw.

        Don’t get me wrong, soccer is fun to play. But to watch…no thanks.

  3. The Super Bowl represents what we Americans are all about: Government handouts for things we like (e.g. giant stadiums that probably wouldn’t exist without giant subsidies)

    1. Except that the Miami stadium (I don’t want to bother with what they are naming it this week)where the SuperBowl was played this year was originally funded out of the then owner, Joe Robbie’s, pockets. The Robbie family had to sell the Dolphins and the stadium when he died because they did not have the ready cash to pay the estate taxes.

      1. The government will punish you and yours if don’t act like a rent-seeking bastard.

  4. ohhhh. you mean American football- how boring.

    1. I beleive handegg is the correct name of the sport.

    2. Boring as opposed to what, exactly?

      “If you expect to score points by whining, join a European soccer team.”

      1. “Boring as opposed to what, exactly?”

        IMHO? Chess or go. Either of those two games. But I must admit I am far in the minority in this. I like games that engage the mind and both of those games do.

        1. Go is awesome. I wish there were more people I knew who played it. I guess I could got to KGS or Dragonserver or whatever, but it’s not nearly as cool without the satisfying plunking down of the stones.

        2. However I wouldn’t want to watch it on TV while drinking a beer and eating wings. Baseball and football are both much better for that.

        3. I like those kind of games to play as well, but not to watch. Organized football is a game of strategy as well and excercises the body.

        4. Chess-boxing FTW !! Never actually watched it myself but it sounds like it has potential.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chess_boxing

          Also, I strongly believe that Curling has a shot at replacing bowling as America’s next beer-sport.

          1. Interesting, I never even knew Chess-Boxing existed! I will have to investigate.

            Thanks

            1. I bet you have never heard of underwater hockey either, have you?

        5. Football does engage the mind. I know it’s fashionable in some circles to think that football is just a bunch of guys mindlessly pushing each other around and running with a ball, but it’s not. To a person unfamiliar with chess strategy, it would appear as silly a game as football does to you.

          1. Many of the NASCAR pit guys are former college football players. Adding more evidence to your assertion.

  5. He obviously didn’t watch the game, or the commercials. There were zero ED ads this year.

    1. America is a virile and vigorous nation once again.

  6. …something unclouded by legerdemain and subterfuge.

    Someone missed the first play of the second half of Super Bowl XLIV.

    Go Pens.

  7. And the real question is, if those pills are so great, why are they in separate bathtubs watching the sunset?

    1. What’s the hurry? You’ve got 36 hours. Surely you can watch the sunset. Also, ain’t everyone wrinkly enough before the bath started? Who wants to share that?

  8. Ron Hart sucks.

    SUUUUUCKS!

  9. There are so many things to like about football.

    The breaks in action which allow one to grab another beer or a brot or hit the head. The tailgating tradition. The amount of tactical and strategic thinking which greatly exceeds that of any other sport. The “combined arms” aspect of the sport which melds athletes of tremendously different physiques into a team. The ability of each player (even O linemen at times) to be the hero of a game by making an exceptional play or by playing with injuries or pain. The sheer athleticism of the players in the NFL.

    The sports of a society strongly reflect its culture and its values. What better sport to reflect both American militarism and its celebration of the individual? The US is doomed if soccer ever becomes its national sport.

    1. I forgot to mention that to be successful in football requires not just great tactical and strategic thinking, but hard work and dedicated practice in order to implement the thinking. Being an “idea guy” is not enough in football. This is a reflection of successful commercial enterprises as well.

    2. Sigh. Baseball is the thinking man’s sport.

      Baseball is the only game where one man looks at another and decides that he’s going to outwit, outdo him.

      Football has this aspect but it’s all jumbled. It’s a scrum (that is part of the appeal, I admit). Only in baseball does a pitcher look at the hitter, with the latter responding with his own glare, and one-on-one try to out-duel him. If you fuck up…YOU fucked up. You can’t blame it on a bad block or a misread play. You hang a curve and he hits it; well, tough. He beat you. You strike out and it’s on you, too.

      Baseball is the athletic version of chess. There are roughly 350 duels (pitches) per game. With that sample size, it is also immensely evident that hitting a baseball is the hardest thing to do in sports. Successful 30% of the time? You are a god and people will throw millions of dollars at you.

      Also, the game involves people throwing missiles at you in excess of 95 mph which can break your face. You have to be ready for that AND the 75 mph curve that makes your knees buckle like my dick when it smells Ms. Pelosi.

      April, I need you like cocaine’s sweet Drip.

      1. That’s a nice romantic view of baseball, but your teammate’s fielding and baserunning skills do have an effect on what you are doing. Football and Baseball are both team sports.

        1. Oh, certainly they are both team sports. Not my intention to imply otherwise.

          Baseball is just a team sport built on individuals’ actions. It’s all very libertarian.

          A runner on first may try to steal second. He’s doing so for the good of the team (let’s leave sabermetrics out of this hypothetical) but he still has to read the pitcher by himself. A hitter tries to bunt a runner over to third for the good of the team but he still has to lay it down himself.

          I really do enjoy the romantic aspect of baseball. The sac fly is the most beautiful thing in sports; you give yourself up so that your team can score. You succeed by “failing.” Amazing.

          1. I’ve watched and played both baseball and football and enjoy both. I don’t think you appreciate (because the focus cannot be on all of them) how much a football play is a series of one on one struggles between the blockers and defenders and the receivers and defensive backs. Of how a defensive lineman’s job can be less making a tackle than tying up blockers so that the linebacker’s are free to make a play.

            1. Oh, but I get your point so well. A football play IS dependent on blocks/defenders/safeties all working in tandem. My point is that in baseball it’s still a team effort, but no one is blocking for you when you’re at the plate. It’s you against him. The game is made up of players working together, but each at bat is simply one man against another and the whole game is just an aggregate of those trials.

          2. Agreed. Baseball is indeed a team sport played by individuals. Although its many complexities are hidden just beneath its tranquil surface, none of them require complex diagramming by a trailer-full of video technicians and an “analyst” in a booth. And best of all, from a fan’s point of view, the ball is always “live;” commercial breaks are not cynically contrived like those in the NFL and other sports. In fact, the only time you get them is between innings and during pitching changes. In this regard, baseball remains the most honest product of all the major games, and the most perfect of radio sports.

            1. I apologize for drunkenly raving about my favorite sport in advance:

              Baseball on the radio is what I want on my theoretical cloud in heaven. Pat Hughes and Ron Santo. Santo brings NOTHING academically to baseball. But you have to soak in his passion.

              1. Radio baseball is heaven when it’s done well.

                1. Christ! I was kidding with my other George Will comment but now I am serious.

              2. Go Cards…Cubs suck

        2. “That’s a nice romantic view of baseball, but your teammate’s fielding skills have an effect on what you are doing.”

          I personally refuse to believe this, and will not tolerate the presence of anyone who does.

          1. A pitcher who knows his teammates are good fielders does not feel like he has to strike out every batter, which results in fewer risky pitches and fewer pitches in general (on average, groundouts require fewer pitches than strikeouts).

            1. Tulpa,

              Sorry, it was a little bit of an inside joke. Sometimes I tell jokes meant to amuse me and me only.

              And for the record, there are some people who believe that 95% of pitching is contained in the walks, strikeouts and home runs stats. These people are stark raving lunatics, and they and the person who first suggested such an insane idea deserve to be lined up against a wall and shot.

      2. Baseball is the only game where one man looks at another and decides that he’s going to outwit, outdo him.

        Except for tennis, boxing, ping-pong, wrestling, kick boxing, Thai boxing, ultimate fighting, basketball when one defender is isolated on the guy with the ball, badmitten and football when: opposing lineman look at one another, quarterbacks look at middle linebackers, wideouts look at defensive backs …

        1. Tennis, boxing, kick-boxing etc….all one-on-one sports to begin with dumbass. I’m talking about team sports.

          Ping-pong=/= a sport. “It ain’t a sport unless you can break your nose.”

          Every other situation you describe relies on other teammates. “One defender isolated” means the other team is causing him to be isolated, etc.

          1. Read my pull quote from your post before you call me names.

            I did forget to mention cricket.

            1. Fuck. I’ll sheepishly give you that one.

              It is 4am here in Korea. I don’t enough sobriety to absorb EVERYthing…

              1. What the hell is George Will doing in either Korea right now?

      3. it is also immensely evident that hitting a baseball is the hardest thing to do in sports. Successful 30% of the time? You are a god

        Does anybody know the success rate for 65+ yard field goal attempts?

        Also, what is the percent probability to make a soccer shot-on-goal? It can’t be that great since shootouts are so common.

        1. Also, what is the percent probability to make a soccer shot-on-goal? It can’t be that great since shootouts are so common.

          Huh?

        2. Shootouts are common because scoring is hard in soccer. Ties are frequent. In a fast break or a shoot-out the advantage dramatically goes to the attacker. Same as in hockey. Scoring one-one-one isn’t nearly as hard as moving up the field.

          Were soccer like baseball, a player would only have a 30% (if he’s amazing) chance of scoring one on one. The percentage is much higher than that even with a MUCH smaller sample size.

          Nothing in sports is harder than hitting a baseball. Empirically, psychologically, whatever.

          1. Shootouts aren’t common in soccer, is the point.

            1. My bad then. I thought they were fairly common in professional soccer.

              1. They pop up in the final stages of tournament competitions (e.g., World Cup) because there draws must be settled. But in league play, which is far and away the bulk of pro soccer that’s played, they don’t exist.

                So while this doesn’t necessarily negate the broader point — that scoring percentages are low in soccer — it’s just not really relevant to it in general.

                (See post coming below regarding these percentages.)

          2. I wasn’t inquiring about the % success during a shootout, but the overall % during the game.

            The “nothing is harder than hitting a major league pitch” talking point is frequently trotted out by baseball fans. It is a bit silly since few situations in sports, particularly team sports, are of the same well-defined and limited nature as a batter waiting for a pitch. There are some others, such as shooting a free throw in basketball, but most acts of athleticism in team sports are dynamic and variable. Is hitting a baseball harder than jumping in the air, wrestling a ball away from a defender and then stretching to make the ball break the goal plane while falling out of bounds? Very debatable. Is hitting a baseball harder than fending off a double block by two 350+ lb. linemen and then grabbing a strong, fast and elusive ball carrier moving at nearly full speed and pulling him to the ground? Very debatable. Is hitting a baseball harder than dodging a 280 lb. defensive end, pulling out of the grasp of a 340 lb. lineman, reading the pattern of receivers and DBs down field in a blink of an eye and then throwing a tight spiral pass 40 yards with little arc through a window that’s about 1.5 feet on a side? Very debatable.

            1. I will give you that the well-defined aspect of baseball makes it easy to quantify how difficult it is, and that the scenarios you describe aren’t as formulaic.

              But if you hit .280 you’re fucking doing your job. If you’re only successful 28% of the time in any other sport you ain’t.

              But it is ridiculous to cross-compare I admit.

            2. I’m not aware of any global statistics on soccer scoring percentages (Voros McCracken here may be your go-to guy). But we can use England’s Premier League season for a snapshot. Two-thirds of the way through the season, here’s what we’ve got:

              Total shots: 5,394
              Total shots on goal: 2,339
              Goals scored: 699

              That gives us a 13% rate from total shots, and a 30% rate from shots on goal. (Alternately you could say that 70% of shots on goal were successfully blocked by goalkeepers and defenders.)

              Figures culled from here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/spo…..stics.html

              1. Those are about right. My recollection was that about 11% of total shots go in (though close to 80% of penalty kicks do). Maybe the EPL this year is a little higher, or maybe my recollection is off.

            3. My understanding of soccer shoot-outs is that they are a coin flip. The goalie essential decides ahead of time which way he’s going to go, because he doesn’t have time to try to read the kick. That’s why you see goalies jumping to one side of the goal when the ball is entering the other.

              Secondly, when people talk about hitting a baseball being so hard, they often overlook the actual leniency of the system. Yeah “if you hit .280 you’re fucking doing your job,” but you get THREE TRIES. If a batter has 2 fouls and 2 strikes, then hits a homer, he’s not awarded partial points, he gets the whole thing. There’s nothing like that in football or soccer.

              1. As long as I’ve been geekily thinking about sports, I’ve never quite thought about that point in those terms. It’s a solid observation.

                In fact, a hitter can get well over three tries, fouling and fouling while sitting on that second strike, until he he actually delivers the ball into the field of play.

              2. “you get THREE TRIES”

                Everyone should get a shot at redemption.

              3. Not only do you get three tries but you may “hit” the ball at much better than 30% but there are players in the field that will catch the ball or field it and throw you out or simply force out one of your teammates. You gotta hit ’em where they ain’t to be successful. That difficulty is why 30% is so great.

          3. What about, in basketball, making a shot from the opposite basket? That’s pretty hard too.

        3. Baseball players don’t have to hit from the stands after they miss the prior one.

      4. One great thing about baseball is that it requires so little skill that people frequently play it while drunk.

        1. Mickey Mantle for example.

          1. Right. MM was a loser. No talent at all.

            1. The Golden Age of NASCAR when you could smoke and drink while driving.

              1. The golden age of NASCAR was Prohibition.

            2. It was a joke. Jeez. That said, Mantle was a godawful drunk, it’s amazing he was as good as he was. The wonders of youth.

              Once Mantle showed up to the ballpark with skin a rather striking shade of green, nursing the mother of all hangovers. The manager took one look at him and scratched him from the lineup. Anyway the pitcher’s spot comes up in the bottom of the 7th and the manager says “hey Mick, want to take a few swings?” Mantle staggers off the bench nearly falls as he gets to the bat rack. Grabs a bat, staggers out of the dugout and tries to compose himself and not look too bad as he gets to the plate. He proceeds to deposit one in the right center bleachers, and rounds the bases, sweat pouring off him as he rounds third. He touches home with the crowd cheering and going beserk. He walks down the dougout steps and then collapses at the first seat on the bench.

              He turns to the guy next to him and says “they have no fuckin’ idea how hard that was.”

          1. My 2nd favorite, next to Glenallen Hill winding up on the DL because of a dream he had about spiders.

        2. …if you’re playing against other drunk people maybe. If you’re playing against the sober, it’s another story.

          1. Playing against other drunks at office parties is what baseball softball is all about.

      5. A man becomes preeminent, he’s expected to have enthusiasms. Enthusiasms, enthusiasms… What are mine? What draws my admiration? What is that which gives me joy? Baseball! A man stands alone at the plate. This is the time for what? For individual achievement. There he stands alone. But in the field, what? Part of a team. Teamwork… Looks, throws, catches, hustles. Part of one big team. Bats himself the live-long day, Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, and so on. If his team don’t field… what is he? You follow me? No one. Sunny day, the stands are full of fans. What does he have to say? I’m goin’ out there for myself. But… I get nowhere unless the team wins.

    3. Look, I tend to over-intellectualize stuff as much as everyone who spends their lives on political sites, but this sort of armchair-sociology stuff about sports drives me nuts. Of course, I’ll take the bait anyway…

      “Celebration of the individual” isn’t the reason American football is popular. That premise falls flat on two fronts:

      (A) Football is far from a “celebration of the individual.” It’s as team-y as team sports come. It features a bunch of players rendered anonymous by gear that obscures their faces and bodies, obeying detailed commands from a collective of coaches. Hell, even the team itself is defined by its internal teams: the defensive group, the offensive group, the kicking group, the “special teams” group, etc.

      It all operates within a sphere that is undeniably command-and-control, whether it’s the locked-down, salary cap-saddled NFL or the dictatorial NCAA.

      (B) The idea that America still exalts individualism is dubious in the first place. Indeed, the sport’s rise came during the era (mid-20th century) when many folks — including most libertarians, I’d think — lament that America turned its back on founding principles of liberty and individualism. The America that embraced football is the one that embraced the New Deal and Great Society and Barack Obama.

      In that respect, then, football may well be a marker of its zeitgeist — just not of the sort you’d like to think it is.

      Ironically, it’s soccer — both the game itself and the economic sphere it operates in — that makes a far better metaphor for the whole individualism/freedom thing.

      Which, more than anything, just shows how useless the whole armchair-sports-sociology routine really is. Sometimes stuff just happens, man. Sometimes historical quirks are just historical quirks: The rugby-ish version of football just happened to catch on in the States (and Ireland and Australia), and the footie-ish version of football just happened to catch on in other spots. Reading a lot into it can be fun, I guess, but ultimately kind of pointless.

      1. Allow me to continue to be pointless.

        “Celebration of the individual” isn’t the reason American football is popular.

        I beg to differ, although I wouldn’t claim that it is the only reason. The evidence is in the sale of jerseys and other gear with players names on them and the use of star players in product endorsements. Football creates heroes. Fans do root for teams, but they also and most definitely identify and celebrate particular players and their individual acumen.

        Granted, the same thing can be said of other sports in the US.

        Now that soccer has been thoroughly introduced into the US, we will see if it can compete in the entertainment marketplace. So far, it hasn’t made much of a dent.

        1. Sure, of course there are football heroes, and of course fans buy player-branded merchandise. My argument isn’t that nobody cares about individual football players. My argument is simply that given the traits I outlined above, it seems off-base (hahaha) to name “celebration of the individual” as one of the sport’s intrinsic, defining qualities.

          Remember, we’re making these assessments specifically in the context of the sports universe. So “people buy jerseys” — which as you point out also applies to other sports — doesn’t separate football in any notable way. It doesn’t make football a celebration of the individual anymore than it does baseball, basketball and, yes, soccer. So we have to turn to other evidence to judge where a given sport rates on the celebrate-individualism scale.

          1. If jersey buying is the metric then Dale Earnhardt, Jr. proves NASCAR is the ultimate sport.

        2. As for soccer in the U.S. marketplace: Kudos for recognizing that the sport is now thoroughly here. But I suspect you’d be surprised by the size of the dent it has made.

          You’ll probably get an inescapable look at that dent when the World Cup rolls around this summer. ESPN, cognizant of the sport’s fast-blossoming popularity, has decided to take a flood-the-zone approach to its coverage. It’s going to be full-bore, and you won’t be able to overlook it even if you want to…

          1. Of some relevance, an interesting little factoid here from ’07:

            More than 200,000 David Beckham Los Angeles Galaxy jersey have been ordered worldwide since the English star joined Major League Soccer in the United States last month, said Evan Wiener, a spokesman for adidas.

            Beckham boasts the best-selling jersey in America, topping sales of jerseys belonging to Kobe Bryant, Derek Jeter and Peyton Manning.

            http://www.examiner.com/a-8724…..sales.html

            1. That is interesting.

            2. Yeah, he had the best selling jersey for a brief period following his much hyped signing with LA 2.5 years ago. How have his jersey sales compared to Bryatn, Jeter, and Manning since then?

              1. I have no clue. But I’m sure whatever it is, it automatically proves that Americans Don’t Like Soccer?, and that the broader point about the game making a dent here is completely false.

                1. Soccer’s been making a dent for nearly forty years. When Pele started playing for the New York Cosmos of the NASL back in 1975, that was supposed to be the turning point. Didn’t happen. Then, when the kids who played in youth leagues all grew up, that was supposed to be the turning point.

                  I don’t understand why it’s totally understandable for most other countries to not care about baseball, but it’s somehow sinful/wrong/unbelievable that native Americans don’t care for soccer.

                  1. Are you kidding? What do you mean it “didn’t happen”? It absolutely happened.

                    You think Pele and the NASL wasn’t a turning point for soccer in the United States? You think all the kids playing soccer hasn’t been a turning point for soccer in the United States? Seriously?

                    Those things — along with the ’94 World Cup, the establishment of MLS, etc. — have all been steps up the ladder for soccer in this country. What — you think the soccer situation in America is the same as it was in 1975? It’s not.

                    We couldn’t even qualify for the World Cup in the 1970s. We’re ranked #14 in the world right now.

                    It’s not “sinful/wrong/unbelievable” if some Americans don’t care for soccer. Who gives a shit if you don’t like soccer? And if you think Pele was supposed to turn pro soccer into the NFL or something, that’s your strawman, not soccer fans’.

          2. Ultimately, the measure of the dent will be whether or not it attracts the top athletes. I don’t see that happening in the US just yet.

            To the extent that I played soccer (just at the intramural level), it really seemed to be a sport that made it hard to have an impact either positively or negatively. Very talented athletes really couldn’t dominate a game the way, say, a talented basketball player can. Also, an untalented player could participate without completely damaging his team particularly if the player had at least some basic conditioning. I’ve always thought that’s one of the reasons why youth soccer leagues have been springing up in the US – it allows clumsy Clyde to play too.

            But maybe I don’t know enough about the game.

            1. I’ve always thought that’s one of the reasons why youth soccer leagues have been springing up in the US – it allows clumsy Clyde to play too.

              Some would argue that it’s actually this — as opposed to not drawing the highest tier of athletes — that holds back U.S. soccer’s performance on the world stage.

              Youth soccer in America is very different from youth soccer elsewhere. I’m talking even about the very mindset of the thing: Here soccer was explicitly co-opted and groomed into an egalitarian enterprise for kids. (See the history of the AYSO for specifics.) It was kind of a hippie-dippy project in the ’60s, and it created hurdles that are only now being addressed in any meaningful way.

              It’s also responsible for a lot of soccer’s stigma here — most Americans really DID grow up with a soft, communist-ish version of the game. What they don’t get is that THAT’S not really soccer; it’s just a certain version of the game that was specifically molded that way for a specific purpose.

              American soccer doesn’t need the country’s very “top athletes” to compete successfully against the rest of the world. For starters, the sport requires a different sort of athlete than, say, the NFL or NBA anyway. But more than anything, we’re big enough and potent enough to do really well without it being our biggest sport. We just need to shake up the way young players are developed here — that’s going to be the big tipping point.

              1. For anybody who gives a crap about more details, this illuminates what I’m talking about with the AYSO. For decades these were its “foundation tenets”:

                Everyone Plays
                Balanced Teams
                Open Registration
                Positive Coaching
                Good Sportsmanship

                Lame, obviously. Under much external pressure, a sixth tenet was finally voted into place last summer: Player Development.

                In other words, for the first time in half a century, America’s youth soccer association has finally decided that developing talent is at least as important as “everyone gets to play and have a nice shiny participation trophy at the end.” It should start to become pretty clear why U.S. soccer has been held back internationally…

            2. “Ultimately, the measure of the dent will be whether or not it attracts the top athletes.”

              Athletes really aren’t our problem in soccer. Skills and reading the game are our problem. There’s likely not a linebacker in the NFL that could catch Landon Donovan. When guys like Deion Branch and Ocho Cinco played soccer, they were not regarded as outstanding players (Jarrett Payton was a legitimate prospect however). Taylor Twellman was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals, but played soccer instead and became a good but not great player. Current National Striker Charlie Davies was a prep All-American wrestler in high school and had blinding speed before his recent car accident. Hopefully he regains it.

              We have such a massive population advantage, we don’t need the Nation’s best athletes to compete with the rest of the world. We just need a fraction, and we do get that. The problem is the coaching here isn’t up to par, and the development systems are a shell of what they have elsewhere. We fall behind in player evaluation and training and so our players tend to have holes in their game.

              1. Athletes really aren’t our problem in soccer. Skills and reading the game are our problem.

                The cool kids and the best athletes don’t aspire to be soccer players. They aspire to be football or basketball players. That’s where the money is and fans are. That’s what gets you laid.

    4. In what possible way is football the “celebration of the individual”? A small band of rulers decide what is going to happen before each play. The autonomy of each player is severely limited. EVERYTHING is planned.

  10. I have got to agree with Joe Queenan on this year’s Super Bowl. Super game, stupid ads as written in teh WSJ:

    http://tinyurl.com/yf9vrgm

    Honestly, just from watching the commercials from this year’s Super Bowl, I’d think Madison Avenue had lost it. Queenan is right, it’s almost as if there was a collaboration to reduce American men to the lowest common denominator. That is to say Madison Avenue must think that all men in America are drunk, crass, pantsless idiots. Urban-liberal elitism, indeed.

  11. Hart is dead right, it is 11 mins of play time in a game. The rest is signal calling and clock running.

    Great column again by Hart. I love his humor.

  12. Yea one guy does not like him, P dickhead, but the rest of us enjoy the PJ O’Rourke type humor of Hart.

    I love the credit card declined line.

  13. There were a few ED commercials, but not as many as most NFL games.

    So they really need to sell men on drinking beer and getting laid…tuff sale!!

    Hart rocks, this is well written and damn funny.

  14. I would think more people know that Peyton is the QB of Colts than know the Sec of State at any given time.

    Hart writes well and is fun to read. He is dead on about the commercialism of all of that, but we have grown to love the creative ads.

    LOL funny column by Hart.

    1. How is it that fewer people know that the Anti-Christ is Secretary of State and GOD is the quarterback of the Colts!

      1. There shall be no other sports GOD before me!

  15. The lowest common denominator watch the Super Bowl. They have to market to their audience. The gay ad being pulled was the real story, Hart dealt with it in the right way, with humor that makes his point. Great column!

    1. Gay ad pull is proof that they don’t market to lowest common denominator.

  16. Look at the SNL Cialis 3 way skit Aston Kucher did…very funny.

    And yes, count me in with the many that like Hart’s column. He is our local paper and is a hero here for saying what most of us think.

  17. Yes Jeannie, here it is and it is funny as hell:

    http://www.hulu.com/watch/126476/saturday-night-live-cialis

    And I too loved this column by Ron Hart, it is a nice and light hearted look at the SuperBowl. I think Hart is buddies with Peyton, on his website there are pictures of them on golf trips.

  18. Fuck the NFL, gimme college football any day.

    1. College sports is full of shit. I just don’t fucking get it.

      Love of the game my ass. Like Memphis or IU or Ohio State gives a shit about academics. I always root for Duke in basketball ‘cuz they’re the underdogs. People give me weird looks. They actually have to go to class and achieve. The poor kids at Northwestern have to get good grades. I know at IU you don’t have to do shit if you’re on the basketball team. It’s all subterfuge and fake “equal playing field” bullshit.

      Make it about the money. At least then it’s honest. No underhand recruiters or scholarships or incentives. Fuck it.

      1. The military academies also produce real student athletes.

      2. I always root for Duke in basketball ‘cuz they’re the underdogs. People give me weird looks. They actually have to go to class and achieve.

        BS. Anyone can get by in any college if they choose the right degree (Af-Am, comm, sociology, history, anthro, etc.), and you can see the majors of many players in-game. Duke is no different in that respect than any other ACC school.

        FYI, declared majors (from GoDuke.com):
        Kyle Singler – Visual Arts
        Jon Scheyer – History
        Nolan Smith – African-American Studies
        Lance Thomas – Visual Arts
        Brian Zoubek – History

        That’s it for players who get minutes. What an academic dream team. And you can check Wiki for what other stars graduated with, like Redick (history) or Shelden Williams (sociology). Hell, Laettner was a sociology major.

        I’ve never understood how people manage to care so much about major sport athletes “getting their degrees” or whatever. Everyone knows they take the easiest majors they can find. Basketball and football players are already studying: a sport, complete with its narrowly defined career choices. “But these guys went to Duke and studied art history!” Really?

  19. The entire point of football (and every other major spectator sport) is to create an experience that people can share together.

    The fun of watching sports comes primarily from using it as a modality to interact with other people. People watch the games together. They argue about sport together. The commiserate together. Sports bonds people.

    Sports also serves as a universal shared interest that cuts across boundaries of class, race, ethnicity etc. A black janitor earning middle-wage can discuss sports on an equal footing with a white CEO pulling down millions. It lets people interact when they have little to nothing else in common.

    I think the latter is the major reason that so many self-describe intellectuals sneer at sports. Sports and discussions of sports are radically egalitarian. There is no high place from which a pseudo-intellectual can sneer down on others.

    NASCAR became big only after the promoters figured out that people really came for the tailgating. It’s all about the shared experience. You can always tell if someone is clueless about American culture by how much they sneer as NASCAR.

    I think the entire “political protest as a big party” culture on the left is an attempt to create a sports-like bonding by people who think themselves to good to rub elbows with the masses. I think this is why we see such over identification with political parties and individual politicians on the left. They’ve ego identified with political entities the same way other people ego identify with sports teams. For many politics become their primary grounds for socializing.

    It’s creepy. Sports is just a game but politics is about deciding who we kill. The latter is not something you can just shrug off if your guys lose.

    1. Good post.

      1. Birds of a feather….

    2. “The entire point of football (and every other major spectator sport) is to create an experience that people can share together” make money. That being said, some sports have created a better product than others. With the NFL, all I see are the dollar signs. Occasionally a game breaks out. They had me for a long, long time. Then they lost me forever.

      1. Sports attract money because they attract and hold people’s attention. School sports in small towns isn’t about money, it’s about community.

        But you have a point. Money corrupts almost as quickly as politics.

    3. I thought political protests were just cheap dates.

      NASCAR may just be the biggest of all cultural blindspots for those in the legacy media.

      1. I think that’s more due to its popularity base being disproportionately Southern and non-megalopolitan. Unlike other major pro sports, there are no NASCAR events in NYC or LA, so media elites don’t rub shoulders with NASCAR fans like they do with NFL or NBA fans.

        The disdain for NASCAR among liberals is especially ironic given that it is now the only major sport to have a woman compete on the highest level on a national stage.

        1. Damn it Tulpa! Wait,you almost got me there.

          Fontana, CA is too far away from LA for a certain crowd. Just like Pocono is too far from Manhattan and the races in Canada and Mexico just don’t count.

        2. The disdain for NASCAR among liberals is especially ironic given that it is now the only major sport to have a woman compete on the highest level on a national stage.

          I can’t flip the remote past any of the ESPN channels without their politically-correct ticker going on and on about what vulvadriver is doing, with the subtext being that if you don’t root for vulvadriver, you’re somehow horribly sexist.

          So vulvadriver finished eighth fastest (or whatever the number was) in practice? Let’s ignore the actual fastest person, and go on and on about the one with a vulva.

          It’s much the same as the way they treated Michelle Wie before all her problems, or the Williams sisters and race.

          1. Referring to vulvadriver is offensive and demeaning. Please use the term gynadriver. It’s much better because it sort of sounds like dyna.

            Why is talking about me so bad even when I’m not winning? Tiger Woods used to get the same treatment.

          2. The use of misogynist epithets here is totally uncalled for. It’s not even Danica’s fault that a media frenzy follows her wherever she goes. In fact, I’m sure she would rather not have had to deal with a media circus in the run-up to her NASCAR debut.

            I agree that the disproportionate coverage of Danica is annoying, but that’s because Danica draws eyeballs, mostly for non-feminist reasons. As libertarians we should not disparage ESPN for providing something the market demands.

            1. Congrats, Tulpa, you just earned yourself a tube cleaning.

            2. Tulpa makes a good point. Following Patrick around is good business for male and female NASCAR fans. Women like having someone to root for and men like watching a hot piece of tail.

    4. Way off-base, Shannon. You’re apparently not familiar with trash talk, which is a huge (and fun, when you’re on the giving end) part of sports conversation. It’s far above and beyond any sneering and condescension that you’ll see from an intellectual.

      And then, of course, there’s the sneering and looking down from people who know a lot about sports, directed towards newbies. For instance, I was at a Steelers Super Bowl party last year, where one of the attendees wondered aloud why, if penalties could be “declined”, why a team would ever allow itself to be penalized. As I politely explained that it was actually the other team that chose to decline penalties, not the team that would be penalized, several of the other attendees were busy laughing at and making fun of his lack of knowledge.

      Trust me — the reaction in a sports bar to a person who demonstrates that they don’t know who Brett Favre is, is going to be at least as severe as that at an art museum toward someone who doesn’t know who Monet is.

      Sneering and condescension is part of human nature — it’s not unique to intellectuals, and especially not unique to lefty intellectuals. Once again, your attempt to paint your opponents as not merely mistaken but morally defective is overblown.

      1. Yes, sneering and condescension are parts of human nature but leftists are the only ones who have based a political ideology upon such attitudes.

        All leftists policies (except those related to sex) boil down the concept that the vast majority of people are two stupid and hapless to manage their own lives and that therefore that the natural intellectual aristocracy must manage their lives for them.

        This is always the subtext when leftists sneer at ordinary people. The subtext of sneering at sports and people watching sports is “Look at what they’re doing! They’re wallowing in violence and blood lust. These people are so stupid and dangerous they need us to look out for them for their own good. These people need to be dominated and controlled!”

        Even when leftists try to be compassionate and understanding they can’t help condescending the targets of their self-serving compassion.

        By comparison, mocking people for their lack of sports knowledge is innocuous and often a form of bonding. No body uses a person’s lack of knowledge of sports as an excuse to their freedoms away.

        1. Yes, sneering and condescension are parts of human nature but leftists are the only ones who have based a political ideology upon such attitudes.

          This is, of course, so patently false that it hardly deserves a response. Reread your post, and see how it applies equally to statist conservatives, statist moderates, etc. Conservatives emphasize “dominate and control” of different activities than leftists, for sure, but the basic motivation is the same.

          As I said before, the errors of leftist thought are legion; there’s no need, and little justification, for proving in general their moral turpitude as well.

        2. I disagree that much of the elitist and sneering is exclusive to the left. Social and Religious Conservatives are just as guilty. Being in my mid 20s these groups dont like us too much since we dont go to church (I rather be working), could care less about sex issues, and dont trust the police.

        3. This is quite a sneering and condescending post. Are you a leftist too?

    5. Shannon, you’ll be thrilled to know that Noam Chomsky made this very point. He argued that sports and sports media were the most democratic part of our society. Anyone can have an opinion regardless of social status. Beyond even the janitor vs the CEO, you hear on sports radio the amateur/fans debating with the professional athletes and coaches. There’s never a claim or appeal to authority in these debates. Not sure why you think the left doesn’t appreciate that though. After all Keith Olbermann was a sports broadcaster before he turned to politics… 😀

      1. Chomsky is not a complete idiot. He has been a strong opponent of a lot of post-modernist silliness.

        Chomsky is a cultural dinosaur. He hails from the pre-60’s leftist culture when leftists at least pretended to venerate the common man.

        It’s hard to remember now but back then leftists, especially your average Democrat, had pronounced middle-class taste. When you talked about people with Ivy League educations and taste, you were talking about Republicans. Prior to the sixties you would never had heard a Democrat/Leftist sneering at people for driving pickup trucks and shopping at Walmart. Prior to the 60’s the brash, loud and tacky Fox news, as well as the self-made Sarah Palin, would have been Democrats.

        I think Chomsky a few others like him still have those values.

        1. I suspect that you are in school now or recently left school. I left college despising the cultural pretensions of the leftists who dominated the conversation there; their affectations, their presumptions, their lack of any practical knowledge or experience. That does not mean, however, that everyone on the ‘left’ is a condescending prick. While there are people who would sneer at you for driving an SUV or reading the wrong book, there aren’t that many of them. There are, however, a lot of people who walk around with a chip on their shoulder worried that someone thinks they are better than them, and they are just as bad, or worse. I’m not sure why the right is cultivating a philosophy of resentment and insecurity, but it suggests a retrenchment on their part. After all, the majority of people did vote for Obama, and they didn’t all go to Ivy League schools, and most of them probably shop at WalMart. The right, for it’s part, takes a condescending elitist stance when it declares all these people ‘followers’ who think Obama is the messiah.

          1. I don’t recall anyone saying that every Obama voter thinks he is or was the Messiah.

            But there is definitely a sizeable (though ever less sizeable as time goes on, thank God) subset of them who do think that he is.

        2. “back then … your average Democrat, had pronounced middle-class taste”

          Yawhs, indeed. Where’s my cigarette holder and limo, Eleanor darling?

      2. Most people’s opinions on sports are either worthless or plagiarized from someone else who actually knows what they’re talking about. (This includes most TV and radio commentators.) Just like every other field of human endeavor!

        For example, all the commentators who claimed that Peyton Manning’s one interception in the Super Bowl kept him from being the greatest quarterback in NFL history, are clearly either incredibly stupid or mindlessly repeating something they heard from another stupid person. If he’s not the greatest NFL quarterback, he wasn’t going to be if he didn’t throw that INT either.

    6. A black janitor

      What the hell does David Dinkins have to do with this?

  20. Hart paints it as what it is: Violence the American people want and crave.

    At least Hart makes us laugh at it all.

    1. The difference is, American football fans enjoy watching violence during the game, while Euro soccer fans enjoy partaking in it after the game.

      1. Now an interesting point about North American vs. Euro attitudes toward violence could be made by looking at the way ice hockey is played in the two regions. In the European game, fighting is prohibited, while in the North American game there are player-enforcers whose entire purpose on the team is to fight. At first blush this might make one think the N American game is more violent, but as it turns out, European players learn quickly how they can play rough without getting penalized by the refs, and when the ref isn’t looking all bets are off. While in the North American game, excessively rough play is guaranteed to earn you some one-on-one time with the opposing team’s enforcer, whether the ref calls you for a penalty or not. So the levels of violence are actually comparable.

        1. So the Euro hockey players are not like those soccer fags pretending to have a coronary when another player breathes on them. Good.

      2. You call this a soccer riot? Let’s take ’em to skool, lads!

  21. Only fools watch foot ball. It’s over commercialized version of the American consumerist nightmare.

    Kansas Basketball is the epitome of sports should be.

    1. Dad? Is that you?

    2. Losing to UT is the epitome of what sports should be.

  22. Only fools watch foot ball. It’s over commercialized version of the American consumerist nightmare.

    Kansas Basketball is the epitome of sports should be.

  23. What the fuck is up with the alliterative Ron Hart blowjob bot upthread? WallyWorld, Baybay, HungryHerb. This is creepier than Chris Kelly.

    1. It happens in every Hart article that Gillespie links to. Also, the bot fucking hates P Brooks, which makes it all really hilarious to me.

    2. P Brooks is the only thing standing between Ron Hart and Total World Domination of small market print dailies as a third tier Kathleen Parker with a libertarian bent.Ron can’t afford flying monkeys and he is too technically illiterate to use real ‘bots so he types those sockpuppet comments himself.

  24. From the title of this post, I thought it would have something to do with this Velntine’s day promotion from Puma. That’s dedication to the sport to think that toothless British soccer hooligans singing in a pub is romantic.

  25. The greatest sport in the world is rodeo…prison rodeo.

    1. Specifically, convict poker.

  26. ron hart sockpuppet

    your slavish adoration

    cannot conquer me

    1. Keep up the good fight

  27. There is a good war analogy in football. All of that practice, all of that planning for a few seconds of action that usually results in attrition. A few decisive plays will often decide the game.

    I do have nothing but praise for the Pop Warner program. It’s probably the closest thing we have to a rite of passage. 15 hours of hard practice a week really brings kids together. I remember being jealous of the little leaguers running bases while we were stuck doing 50 yard bear crawls. But that experience made me 30 close friends from extremely diverse backgrounds. If you’re worried about your kid being bullied, get them enrolled in Pop Warner.

    1. Oh yes, there’s no bullying in youth football.

    2. Just make sure Steve Smith isn’t the coach.

      1. imagine all the rape comitted by 10 – 12 year olds on the feild if it were so.

        1. RAPE LEFT! RAPE SLOT! 14 RAPE 78! RAPE SAN DIEGO! HUT HUT — RAPE!

          1. And you think you have a shitty job.

            *wah wah waahhhh*

  28. While terribly late to this interesting thread, I must assert that the lot of you know nought when it comes to the Daddy-Rabbit of all time when it comes to team sports. And while most will have no idea what I speak of, I hear proclaim that HURLING is without a doubt the most demanding sport among the many varieties which concern athleticism… anyway- enjoy the weekend…

    1. The only interesting thing about hurling is the visit to the pub afterward.

      1. Hurling is what you do AFTER the pub crawl.

        1. prolefeed, I see you have spent time in Ireland.

          1. I have spent time as a part-Irish wastrel youth — wherever you are, one brings Ireland with them in those circumstances.

    2. I think you mean “curling”, right?

  29. Wrong. Think of an Irish Harry Potter on the ground with short fat hockey sticks and plenty of mud.

    1. Uh, no thanks. An Irish Hermione, I could do.

  30. It’s a real man sport Tulpa. Stick to t-ball 😉

  31. Wow, now that makes a whole lotta sense!

    Hess
    http://www.isp-logging.net.tc

    1. Funny you should show up. You really are the classic hurler on the ditch.

  32. Soccer is football’s gay cousin as Hart said.

    I really enjoyed this column, it weaves between the factual and funny. He is a good writer, and very bright.

  33. Seems to me like these guys are over paid and over rated.

    Jess
    http://www.isp-logging.net.tc

  34. Tulpa is right. The people who can’t appreciate the strategy of Football are the ones who do not understand how Formations work.

    American Football features the fastest, strongest, sharpest minds in sports hands down. Regular football is good but it’s not nearly as complicated and it doesn’t showcase nearly as many talents.

    1. If the novel “North Dallas Forty” bears even a slight resemblance to reality, then your theory about the brightest minds in sports is questionable.

    2. Mouthbreathing troglodytes who couldn’t think themselves out of a wet paper bag in a stressful, split-second situation often make this claim.

      Set piece thinking gives one the luxury of being slow.

      1. Timon19, had a tough time with the jocks in high school?

  35. I’d hate to say Tulpa was righ too.

    1. I’d hate to have “Hurler on the bitch” say I was righ as well.

  36. Thank you for posting this! I love your blog!

    Common Cents
    http://www.commoncts.blogspot.com

    ps. Link Exchange??

  37. Tulpa, Righ….no I still can’t say it.

  38. Next to feeding christians to lions Hockey is the greatest sport ever conceived by mankind

  39. Fine columnist, he is in our paper here in Texas. Hart is damn funny and has a libertarian take on things, in a southern way!

  40. Soccer will never be a significant sport in the US. As someone said further up the thread, the majority of kids want to be whatever the most popular sport is. In europe and around most of the world soccer is the number one sport. The beauty of soccer (im calling it football from now on) IS its simplicity. You get a bunch of guys, you find a park, you split into equal numbers, you stick some jumpers down as goal posts and play. Or (as I sometimes did as a kid) you get a wall and kick a ball against it for hours on end. Seriously, the best footballers in the world did this. Kids in africa play for hours in the dirt in bare feet just dreaming that they were pro’s.
    American Football is slowly getting bigger in the UK of course, but it will never overtake the national sports. Because our national sports are our history. Exactly the same with the US and your sports.
    I would never criticise a sport though or question its qulaities, or even worse tell people the sport they follow is rubbish. Football of both kinds must have certain qualities to have such huge audiences dont you think? Admittedly there our problems in modern day football, its become far too comercialised. Pricing true supporters out of the stadiums. And on the pitch a lot of the physical contact which fans love is slowly being edged out by the powers that be.
    One question id like to ask to those who follow American Football teams. Do you consider yourself a fan or a supporter? Football in the UK and accross the world is supported, you have home fans and away fans in a stadium supporting their team. An atmosphere created by supporters can drive players on, can crucify individuals (including officials) and intimidate even the best. ‘Going the match’ is a whole experience. You wake up, you read the papers, you go the pub (or if your an away fan you get on a coach) you walk up to the ground talking about how good such and such is and how if you were in charge that player would on the bench or in a different position. You go into the ground, watch as the stands fill and the atmosphere builds before kick off. You sing, you sware, you go blue in the face with anger as the ref gives them another free kick. You have some banter with the away fans, pick up on something personnal about an opposition player, ‘you fat b*****d, you fat b*****d’ the irony completely lost on 50k men chomping on pies at half time. Your team score and you celebrate wildly. I mean the way we celebrate seems normal but when you think about it we must look ridiculous, just losing your mind for a minute as you hug every person around you, get on your seat and jump up and down waving your hands everywhere. Haha, its absolutely mental. But I love it and its all part of why I enjoy watching/attending football matches. There is something very raw about it, as for all the tactics and week long planning (which we also do) one player can do something magical and destory all that work and there is nothing you can do but say well done. Oh look at me getting all nostalgic about football. I’ll stop now, I imagine most of you stopped reading when I started calling it football rather than soccer…Cheers fellas.

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