Thursday, September 16, 2010

Seven Reasons Soccer Fans Should Be Happy American Football Is Back

If the American sporting landscape was like a Discovery Channel or Animal Planet special, soccer in America and football in America would be natural enemies in the wild. One, American football, brutish and violent, stalking the sleek, but formidable American soccer.

It would be easy to say that American soccer fans have a bit of a complex when it comes to comparing themselves and their sport to the king of all sports in the United States, football. Their stadiums, their crowd sizes, their fan bases, their revenue are the envy of the sporting world, here and abroad.

We often detest the monstrosity that is the National Football League (and the college game) while also quietly respecting the product they've created and marketed so successfully. If baseball is "America's Pastime", then football is "America's Now-time" (awkward there, we know).

Ironically, many American soccer fans are also big fans of football (us included) and so it is hard as sports fans in general to maintain the passion and commitment to both when the pointy-ball's professional season kicked off this past week. And those that are solely fans of the real football (soccer, that is) find their self-esteem taking a hit like an only child learning that number two is on the way.

But we at the Free Beer Movement... builders of American soccer one beer at a time, do not fear the coming tidal wave of kitten-eaters and meatheads to our televisions. We do not fear the coming overload of NFL highlights on ESPN's SportsCenter at the expense of the nearly non-existent Major League Soccer scorelines. Our quest is to bridge the gap between the the current sporting obsession of Americans and it's future sporting obsession (or so they weird lady with all the tattoos and the crystal ball told us for sixty bucks).

We've gone ahead and put together (not definitively) a list of reasons why soccer fans in America should be happy that American football is back.

Oh hey... don't mind us. We'll just put these lines
here for your convenience.
* We Can Now Double Check that the Free Kick Wall is Really Ten Yards Back
- Ask yourself how many times you've screamed at the TV or from the stands to that incompetent MLS ref that the defensive wall has, yet again, crept too close to your star freekick specialist. Now your fearless captain has conveniently painted yard-markers on the field to point out to the paint-chip eater in the center circle that clearly the wall is only eight yards away. Problem solved!

* A Wonderful Reminder that MLS has the Best Tailgating Season in Professional Sports
- In a few months you're going to see dumbasses at Lambeau Field sitting in fourteen layers (including one snowmobile suit under a blaze orange hunter jacket under a camouflage cheesehead) in the parking lot grilling Johnsonville brats in 10 degree weather and four inches of snow and you're going to remember how awesome was to sit in the sun and 80 degrees outside of Crew Stadium with a beer that was awesomely cold (but not so cold you'd fear your tongue freezing to it like it was "A Christmas Story") and food that would stay warm long after you pulled it off the grill.

Major League Soccer runs from April until MLS Cup in October and if all goes well one never has to wear more than two layers (including a light jacket) when attending any soccer match in America.

Thank you, NFL. Lovely idea. (Photo: CDChivasUSA.com)
* Cheerleaders
- If it wasn't for the NFL and college football the Dynamo Girls, ChivaGirls, the Crewzers, and all the other cheerleading squads/dance teams of the MLS would just be a glimmer in some pervert's eye.

Plus, the end game of this all is what you've seen in Central and South America.

* The Weekly Excitement of Finding Out What Color the Soccer Lines Will Be
- Now that American football has bought up the domestic supply of white field paint MLS teams that still share stadiums have to grab the bargin bin colors. Will New England feature yellow lines? Maybe the Dynamo will go with the jersey colors in electric orange? I can hardly wait to see! Hope it's fuchsia!

* Beer and Sports
- Remember the "Bud Bowl" Super Bowl commercials? Those were our favorites when we were a kid watching the Throwball Championship. Sure you could get a cold one at the stadium of most professional sports, but American football tied beer to sports like it was a three-legged race at a family reunion picnic. American football made it acceptable to start drinking at eight in the morning before your college took the field at noon (the old "acceptable" benchmark to start drinking).

Now soccer fans in America don't think twice about having a brew-ski (or better yet an Irish Coffee) during those early morning kick-offs from Europe. Even better is the fact that one could make their way around the soccer world and never have to set their drink down. Being a fan of the global game is the new "It's Five O'Clock Somewhere"!

Photo Graphic: WSJ.com
* The Collective Smirk We All Get When Someone Who Loves a Sport that Contains Barely 11 Minutes of Action Claims Soccer is Boring
- This summer we're sure most soccer fans who tried to pass on their love of the sport to soccer newbies (hopefully through the Free Beer Movement) heard, at least once, that "soccer is boring" and "nothing ever happens". These two whines form the crux of most soccer haters limited vocabulary and debate skills.

But, of course, this is coming from the stout defenders of a sport that features roughly 11 minutes of actual gameplay amongst a sixty minute game clock and (sometimes more) three-hour window of broadcasting.

Now, we love football just as much as the next person, but we also acknowledge the absurdity of such statements coming from this camp as well. There's no arguing with forty-five minutes of fluid match play, interrupted by a sole fifteen minute halftime, followed by the remainder of the final forty-five minutes.

In fact, it's one of the few sports (barring knock-out round extra-time or penalty kicks) that you can schedule your day around or fit conveniently into your schedule. Try that with football and you've got to block off your whole afternoon just so you can see fourteen Cialas commercials between twenty-size Coors "frost indicator" promos... oh, and a game somewhere there, too.

* Something to Aspire To
- But when it is all said and done, we soccer fans are jealous of a good many things that American football has done. They've consistently filled some of the world's largest sporting stadiums week-in-and-week-out, the Super Bowl is still the crem della crem of one day sporting events in the U.S, they've provided shelter to most MLS clubs now and in the past when they had no other place to play, and have a passionate and committed fanbase that continues to grow at stadiums and in front of the TVs. This is what we want, too.

And, like it or not, the quest World Cup back to the United States in 2018 or 2022 may well hinge on the commitment of a group of NFL owners (even if it's just because they see dollar signs in their eyes over the event) that are helping make a convincing case to FIFA. Notice that many of the stops on the recent FIFA Inspection tour we're at NFL grounds (including Miami's Dolphin Stadium, New York's New Meadlowlands, Houston's Reliant Stadium and Dallas' Cowboy Stadium).

Any other reasons, as a soccer fan in America, you're happy to have American Football back? Leave 'em in the comments section.

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1 comment:

  1. Excellent use of tongue-in-cheek statements and sarcasm to make your point.

    ReplyDelete

"Anyone who tells me soccer is boring, I'm going to punch them in the face."
- Former Dallas Burn (aka FC Dallas) coach Dave Dir

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