If you are American, the chances are American football will be a part of your life in some way, even if it’s just that Super Bowl Sunday feels like a national holiday. You might not follow it or know much about it but it’s always there in the background much like wisdom teeth.
As for other countries around the World this sport has a lot less interest. Some loyal international fans will love the sport sacrificing even sleep to watch a late or early game. Others might have a team cap or Jersey for the sake of fashion. Either way it’s roots go deep and it’s influences go wide like a giant Oak.
In England much of the population mock the padding worn by the players, comparing it to Rugby “a real man’s sport”, others find it too slow with an average game lasting around 3 hours, while others complain that the rules are too complicated. Some people would have seen a few movies around the American football theme, but of course it’s just a movie so the games are snippets and action filled which can be a little misleading if you then sit and try to watch a game. Realistically you have to view American football as a giant game of chess, strategic plays to out match your opponents which happen to include a ton of action and plenty of Checks and an Action packed check mate.
With the success of the NFL in Europe during the 80s it gained a large long-term following but with game times being so late in Europe, due to time zones, the support fell off for the average viewer. TV coverage stopped, an NFL magazine kept die-hard fans in the loop in the UK but even that disappeared, unfortunately just before the NFL’s rebirth in Europe when they began bringing season games to Wembley Stadium. The popularity increase was so much so since the international games began in 2007, between the Miami Dolphins and the New York Giants at Wembley Stadium, that they have recently increased the games from just 1 a year to 3 a year this coming season. So now the chances of being able to see your favorite team play live has greatly increased.
Sky sports Now has plenty of weekly coverage of live games from 5:30pm Sunday evening, channel 4 has a weekly show on Saturday mornings, the Super Bowl is usually on Sky Sports and one of the terrestrial channels. With the internet now there are plenty of ways to keep up with news and NFL.com even has a subscription to watch almost every game online.
Understanding American football as a sport is as simple as these main rules: Each team has an offense and defense, the offense has 4 attempts to move the ball 10 yards or more, failing that the other team gains control of the ball. You can score either a touchdown gaining you 6 points plus a free 1 point kick (field goal) attempt or a kick (field goal) without a touchdown gaining you 3 points. If you can tackle the offense with the ball in their own touchdown area you gain 2 points. At any time the defense can intercept the ball and gain possession for your offense.
All other rules are picked up as you go and ultimately add up to protect players from serious injury and to enforce sportsman like conduct.
So with the Super Bowl coming up in 2 weeks on 2nd February 2014 why not tune in and see what all the fuss is about, after all the Super Bowl is the largest one day sporting event in the world, it has a half time show and plenty of fireworks. Failing that go online to NFL.com or NFLUK.com pick a team and see how ell they do next season.