Monday, February 04, 2008

On American Football

American football is, basically, rugby for a legalistic, health and safety obsessed nation. It also seems rather girly in that teams dress up in shoulder pads and shiny, skin-tight trousers and compete for some kind of bowl. Never mind, it seems to make them happy and they are showing no sign of getting a grip a cricket.

31 comments:

  1. yes, I suppose, but at least it gave Jack Nicholson the chance to ride Fonda's chopper.

    Is there ever any mud at these games? they look so clean. my god, how girly can you get...

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  2. Grip on cricket, hmmmmm.
    Grip on rugby, 26-19 to Wales.

    Did you see the NY Giants replica revolution mini-helmet, well it must be better than the clatter of those stupid chrome balls. Things which should be made fit in the lugholes of the owner, with the wheel of a bus.

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  3. It also seems rather girly in that teams dress up in shoulder pads and shiny, skin-tight trousers and compete for...

    Point taken - but at least American Football is still about winning, rather than be seen kissing on the pitch, dine at the Ivy, Nobu, the Wolseley, and San Lorenzo, or wearing Gianfranco Ferre embroidered silk shirts and a straggling hair implant...

    I knew people like that in the transvestite business - Danny La Rue had that sort of panache.

    Dreamy

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  4. i'm not anti-American or anything but American football really does seem to sum up their rotten culture - huge slabs of porn-fed beef roaring and slamming into each other, made out like tanks. Compare it with rugger, where a man has no protection, or cricket even, a true gentleman's sport.

    i cannot imagine Roger Scruton playing American football.

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  5. Compare it with rugger, where a man has no protection,

    That's actually a pretty good analogy for comparing the American and Euro-British approaches to national defence, too.

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  6. I dunno, it's kinda fun to watch: We did, last night. My son and husband were rooting for the New England Patriots to have a perfect season (they won all their regular season games) and they stuck me with the Giants (gotta have some competition while rooting for a win). Well, my guys won --and they played brilliantly.

    One reason everyone here likes football is because most of us play as kids -- either the real thing, or "touch" football. In recent years, I've played the frisbee version of football (Ultimate Frisbee) with my kids. Do all Brits play rugby growing up? I'd have thought soccer, maybe.

    And they need the pads: These guys routinely get their bones broken and their heads concussed.

    Lastly, Ian: No dirt because nowadays almost all the fields are fake grass (astro-turf).

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  7. Commoners and chavs play soccer; the privileged, such as myself, went to posh schools and were forced to participate in rugby. i recognised aspects of rugby in Dante's Inferno: the mud, rain, the confusion and shouting, the violence, the sense of futility and insanity.

    Rugby is a great preparation for melee conditions. People on your own team will suddenly settle a grudge by fragging you, Nam style, with a Judas punch or kick to the groin. Everyone is the enemy.

    Supposedly you're not permitted to really beat people in rugby. You're allowed an open hand shove to the face, i think, which at our school became a closed-hand punch to the nose, often followed by a savage kicking and mauling in the mud, Inferno-style "a Filippo Argenti!" - classic stuff, i miss it now.

    One pupil i recall as soon as the game kicked off hurled himself across the pitch at a hated adversary and started savagely beating him down to the approval of all & sundry. The ball was at best a pretext for noble acts of violence and attempted homicide.

    God, i miss school.

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  8. wasn't there something said along the lines of football (soccer) being a game for gentlemen played by thugs while rugby was a game for thugs played by gentlemen?

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  9. Elberry is right. I went to a rugby playing school in a soccer mad area. We were introduced to the sport in the same way North Koreans are taught to revere the Dear Leader. As a callow 11 year old during a practice session in September (we'd only started that month), my nose was busted and my face crimson with blood. I wanted sympathy and an encouraging hug. My contemporaries pointed to me concerned 'Look Sir!'. Whereupon Monty, our guru, shouted 'Good to see blood on a rugby field - Play on!'. Health and Safety be damned. Grid Iron is a tough, violent game and I wouldn't dare call it girly to their faces. But Rugby is special.

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  10. Being slight and short i compensated by hurling burly monsters to the mud with aikido throws. The rugby squad were all Hitler Youth type Aryan supremacists and did not take kindly to this. In the end i had my comeuppance: they sent an assassin to pursue me and beat me savagely down with hard blows to the head followed by hard kicks to the head and torso. Painful as it was, i had to recognise i had it coming and bore no grudges.

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  11. They were going to allow groin kicking, machete slashing, and pipe whacking into football, but the girly men in charge decided against it.

    Besides, no matter how much conditioning and training the players in America go through, they simply cannot get their bodies and minds as tough as in Great Britain especially. Even with all that protection, and without a single punch thrown, we witnessed several men down from injuries last night--and last night was the Super Bowl, when supposedly the best were on the field.

    Teams used to play in mud on rainy days, but the wives were complaining about the players traipsing it from the kitchen door to the refrigerator, and then out to the living room, all over the carpet after the games. Needless to say this stopped in a hurry, and the movement to domes and simulated turf continues.

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  12. Hey now... plenty of people in the U.S. play a more "informal" version of football (often called "touch" football), generally with the lopsided grin that comes from one's tongue firmly being planted in one's cheek.

    In theory, all one must do is touch the ball carrier with both hands to get a "tackle" and halt the movement of the pigskin.

    In practice, much like rugby's "open hand to the face", the "touch" generally devolves rapidly (if it didn't simply begin there in the first place) into clothes-lining, punching, tripping, elbow-slashing and head-butting. Blood flows like claret at a Roman bacchanal. My own uncle practically broke my nose via a "touch" from his hurtling, lowered shoulder to my face, all in the name of good, clean fun.

    Ah, to be 16 and convinced of one's own immortality again.

    Those shiny Spandex pants always give me the heebie-jeebies though, I agree.

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  13. The reason all the padding/helmets are worn is due to the fact that it is a lethal sport. In the years 2000-2005 28 players (mainly playing at high-school level, but some collegiate and pro) died from injuries sustained directly from contact on the field of play.

    I'm not American, but do like the sport. It has levels of tactics and intricacy that can escape the casual viewer, and the athleticism of the participants can reach Olympian proportions (40 meters in 4 1/4 seconds for the best wide receivers).

    It tends to get bashed in Europe because people don't understand it and are partisan by nature, sticking to what they know.

    Vive la différence! (Out of context, I know but who cares).

    I have to say, Elberry's description of schools rugby is the most accurate and witty description I've ever heard. It almost brings the smell of earth and muck back to my nostrils, and the freezing cold numbness to my hands.

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  14. This is the same tired conversation held every year by people who don't understand either sport as well as they think they do.

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  15. Um . . . American football players wear pads and helmets because if they didn't many of them would end up paralyzed or dead. What you saw on Sunday weren't hard-drinking prepschool kids from the upper classes (rugby players), but rather very big and very powerful men. Brutal athletes who made it through the highschool and college level, this from a nation of three hundred million.

    Granted, there are arguments to be made for rugby over American football. Rugby's homoerotic rituals ("zulu warrior dance" anyone?) are even more excessive and inadvertently comic than those of American football players, which is really saying something. Moreover, the NFL is run by souless, greedy pigs. So you can score two for rugby there.

    American football is a very violent, very intricate game. And you needn't feel bad that both the classic Brit cult of the amateur (provided, of course, he's gone to the right schools and deploys his labored wit with the proper accent) and lingering colonial condescension leave you ill equipped to understand it after one cursory viewing.

    English food has gotten much better in recent decades and, who knows, perhaps if we all live long enough we'll see the day when Brits master jazz, rudimentary plumbing and, yes, and the glory that is American football.

    Till then -- cheers.

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  16. II want to see you go up to Michael Strahan or Justin Tuck and call them "girly" you pomme twit.

    We Americans got a good view of British sportsmen when David Beckham came to the States with his no talent, semi-attractive wife. It would be hard to imagine a more pathetic excuse for an athlete than that chronically injured, metrosexual pansy.

    Oh, and have fun living under Sharia law in 15 years you pathetic losers.

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  17. Ugh, this is the same knee jerk criticism that seems to get made by some Brits around every Super Bowl.

    American football is and always was an extremely violent game. Take a look at how violent it was ~100 years ago. There was a good reason they eventually introduced pads and helmets - people were getting killed and crippled on a regular basis. Ironically there is some evidence the better padding has only allowed players to hit harder. (A bit like boxing - the gloves protect the puncher's hands more than the other guy's face)

    From what I've seen of rugby, I think American football is a more wide open game, mainly due to the forward pass (or threat thereof), which leads to more high speed collisions than in rugby.

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  18. Anyone who asserts that Americans are health obsessed is hereby disqualified from ranting about fat Yankees, hamburgers, and McDonald's.

    I'm not much of a fan of our kind of football, but must agree with the folks who ssay that the padding and the helmets are there to keep players out of the hospital. NFL players hit harder than Brit rugby players.

    That said, everyone knows baseball is better than any kind of football.

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  19. This is just an uninformed attack on American football. I doubt anybody on a rugby team can run 40 yards in 4.2 seconds. The athletes in American football are by far more superior and the contact more intense.

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  20. Remarkably executed troll, sir, but don't you think a man of your intelligence could do better than to drop dynamite into the barrel of fish that are American football fans?

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  21. A Kiwi friend who played for the All-Blacks and San Jose State football once told me that rugby is plenty tough, but the pads and helmets in the American game make it infinitely more so.

    Rugby is a savage game played by gents. Football is a gentleman's game played by savages.

    And David Beckham would be planted beneath the pitch if he took a whack at the American game.

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  22. >>"Rugby is a savage game played by gents."

    Heh, heh. That is certainly a matter of perspective. The last bunch of rugby players I knew were banned from hotels because they'd soak hallway carpets with beer, take off their clothes, and go body sliding.

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  23. Years ago there was a survey. People were asked if they had a sense of humour. 98 per cent said they had. This tell you exactly what proportion of the population had a sense of humour - 2 per cent.

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  24. And the English accuse Americans of being ignorant about the other country's traditions? Good God, get a hold of yourselves!

    Near as I can tell, Rugby looks like 22 guys who are just making shit up as they go along--and not very well, at that. And where one sees shiny knickers on a 280 lb athlete as girly, others see garish horizontally striped shirts with collars to be entirely the province of slow children whose mothers still choose their outfits.

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  25. I am appalled at the trash talk in regards to American football. For those who think it is a "girly man's" sport shall I remind you of CHRIS EVERRETT of the Buffalo Bills NFL team who snapped his neck and nearly died back in Septemeber???? American football IS a violent sport and pads, helmets, and protection IS needed in order to avoid these types of injuries. Astro turf has replaced the grass fields of old Ian Russell, no grass fields = no mud. NOW, one can argue grass field vs. astro turf, but thats another blog altogether.

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  26. As a Canadian female who plays both rugby and tackle football, it seems that the use of pads in football is due to the fact football players hit almost without thinking. In rugby, there is a much stronger emphasis on the form of the tackle, whereas football players seem to be a lot more reckless in their tackling. Of course, this may have resulted from the introduction of padding...

    But who knows, there may be some gender difference I'm not aware of.

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  27. The only sports worthy of a man are cricket and bare knuckle gypsy boxing. Rugby at least approximates to the latter in its unadulterated violence and homoeroticism. W

    hen the Americans learn to enjoy being mutilated and stomped and plastered with mud and blood and human gore, then they will begin to understand rugby, and hopefully discard their tank-like clothing and foolish accents.

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  28. Proper football, or soccer for the yankees and rugger buggers, is the most aesthetically pleasing to both watch and play, with cricket a close second. Rugby in England is played by members of the gentry too inbred, inept, or both, to play football.
    However, it's defects pale compared to American Football, where matches always seem to look like a camp, poorly budgeted sci fi movie.

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  29. let's compare and contrast for a moment here

    football player:
    http://k43.pbase.com/o6/56/295056/1/74058165.k1TI29Pg.Picture250pb.jpg

    rugby player:
    http://www.virginmedia.com/images/cipriani_gal_287.jpg

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