Football is a Stupid Game!

Football is a stupid game. It needs to be said. As football season in the US approaches, it’s time to point out that the Emperor Has No Clothes. Football is boring, stupid, and pointless.

I have tried to like our brand of football my whole life. I grew up near Chicago where it was da Bears, the Packers and Notre Dame. Every Sunday meant gathering around the TV and watching in rapt attention while a bunch of overpaid behemoths scrimmaged into a pile of sweaty flesh for 12 seconds at a time. The other 17 hours of the game involved 4 announcers telling us what happened during each 12 seconds of play and also what should have happened but didn’t. This mind numbing boredom led to the invention of beer, snacks, and NFL cheerleaders. If it were not for snacks, beer, and broads there would be no football industry. A good test of this hypothesis is to watch your next game without them. Just sit in your recliner and watch the game. No booze, no beer, no Slim Jims, no Frito Pie or any other diversion. You have to just watch the game.

If you truly want to test you loyalty, turn the off the sound so you can’t hear the play-by-snooze and close your eyes when they show the cheerleaders. Just concentrate on the plays. I guarantee you’ll be asleep or ready to slit your throat before the first quarter ends.

Football-ugly cheerleaders pyramid

Yes, that's me at the very top of the pyramid. I can't imagine why I got beat up all the time...

High school football was king where I grew up. (Actually it was probably the Prince since I grew up in Indiana and basketball is the obvious king.) I never played high school football. I considered it. For about a minute. You see, I was kind of nerdy in high school. (surprise!) I belonged to the chess club and the math club and the yearbook staff. I got beat up often enough without putting on a uniform and inviting a line of fat guys to crush me. That isn’t a sport. It’s felony assault. I had several friends who played on the team. Not to mention any names, but Herb, Eugene, and Cecil all played on the team. These were three really fine young men. They were polite honest young men who never considered violence as a solution to any situation until they put on “the PADS.” I enjoyed playing “touch” football with these same guys. For you folks out there in the rest of the world, touch football plays by the same rules except instead of knocking people to the ground, you “touch” them and that’s it. At times my friends’ definition of touch was different from mine. On one occasion I somehow had possession of the ball through no fault of my own. I saw Cecil heading toward me, and since he ran with the speed of a gazelle and the attitude of a pissed off rhino, I predicted that this play might not end well. As usual I was right. He “touched” me with his elbow as he hurled past. As I saw the ground approaching my face, I simultaneously heard my ribs cracking as my liver shifted and introduced itself to my left kidney that milliseconds earlier had said hello to my right testicle. I rolled over on my back and stared up into the beautiful autumn Indiana sky. Above me looking down was my gentle friend saying, “Gotcha! You’re down!” I tried to reply with some witty remark but the blood bubbling from my mouth made me a little incoherent. So… that’s a “touch” football game. A game that can make a man as gentle as my friend into Satan’s Stepchild.

When I grew up I moved to Texas and found to my dismay that Texas is even more insane about football than Indiana. I didn’t think that was possible but that was the second time I was wrong in my life. However, Texas gave me the opportunity to expand my horizons and I discovered that in the rest of the world, football is not played with an oblong ball and it’s actually an interesting game.

There are two sports that go by the name of football: US football and World football which we in the USA call soccer. Now I realize that the world and indeed the galactic core truly revolves around the US where soccer is thought of as a children’s game. But thanks to my friend Andy, I had a chance to watch REAL football as it was meant to be seen. At a sports bar, with tacos, and with guys who truly love football. The REAL football. For the sake of clarity I’ll call REAL football “soccer” so as not to confuse my US readers. Soccer is the REAL football because it came first and because it’s rougher, tougher, and better than US football.

Historians tell us football started with the Aztecs who would use the head of the losers as the ball. When Vasco de Coronado came from Spain to the New World and saw the game being played, he was intrigued and decided to tell the queen about it.

The Aztec stone describing football, cheerleaders, and the end of the world.

Historians tell us football started with the Aztecs who would use the head of the losers as the ball. When Vasco de Coronado came from Spain to the New World and saw the game being played, he was intrigued and decided to tell the queen about it. Eleven months later the postal ship returned with her reply and she advised him to bring the sport home as it sounded like a good time. Unfortunately, because of the long sea voyage back to Spain the head he had stolen from the Aztecs was unplayable. Disappointed, Vasco approached the queen for a solution and whereas she found no volunteers to be the ball they decided to inflate a pork belly and kick it around. Hence, football (or soccer) was born. These historical facts clearly show that soccer predates US football by centuries.

Let’s compare the play of the two games:

As I said earlier, US football is 12 seconds of play followed by endless commentary while they set up for the next 12 second play. Soccer is two 45 minute halves of constant action. The action doesn’t stop unless a player has a bone sticking out where it shouldn’t be. Even when there is an injury the player walks it off while the game goes on. US football stops every time somebody needs their mommy.

Let’s compare the two sports side by side:

Game play:   US football generously gives the ball to the ‘offense’ who has a meeting (huddle) about what they would like to do with the ball. They then take some time to get set up and execute their plan. The execution of said plan is an actual 12 seconds of ‘action’. The guys on the ‘scrimmage line’ take one step forward, meet their counterparts and fall down. The guy who has the ball gets to decide to run it or throw it to another player. On most occasions neither decision is successful. They just move the ball forward or backward down the field a few yards and do it all over again. The whole point is to try to move the freakin’ ball just 30 feet closer to the goal. Keep in mind that their goal is the width of the whole field. All they have to do is carry it across the line. If they suck so badly that they can’t move it a lousy 30 feet downfield in four tries, then they have to give the ball to the other team. The other team will debate tactics (huddle) and repeat this process. Who’s yawning yet??

Soccer: Kick the shit out of the ball until somebody tougher takes it away from you. Then you get up in their face and get it back. Move it 40 or 50 yards every few minutes. Offense and defense changes constantly. Put the ball into a 24′ wide by 8′ high goal, not the width of an entire football field. Did I mention they can’t use their hands? Repeat for 90 minutes.

If an NFL team played 90 minutes straight without breaks... Oh never mind, that's just hilarious, they'd be dead inside of 15 minutes.

Soccer player on the left. Giant bowl of running jello on the right.

Athletic Ability:    There is no comparison. If an NFL team played 90 minutes straight without breaks… Oh never mind, that’s just hilarious, they’d be dead inside of 15 minutes.

Substitutions:     US football has unlimited subs in case somebody needs a sandwich, or gets tired, or wants to go potty. Soccer has just three. That’s it. If players leave because of injury or penalty and you use up your subs, then you play short.

Equipment:    US football players wear body armor. Soccer players have a thin 6 inch shin guard.

Timeouts:      US football has a bunch. Soccer players ask, “what’s a time out?”

Referees:     US football refs discuss and debate and watch replays and drag things out. Soccer: Refs call it and that’s it. They suck as bad as US refs but their word is final. It all balances out because they generally suck equally for both sides.

Cheerleaders:     US football has them and soccer doesn’t. (OK, maybe that’s not a point in soccer’s favor.) US football needs cheerleaders to keep people watching and distract them. Soccer moves so fast that the cheers would be lost in the action. Seriously, soccer fans, we need to figure out how to integrate cheerleaders into the game.

And finally please take five minutes to listen to one of the great all time comedy monologues from a 23 year old Andy Griffith in 1953. He describes a country boy seeing a football game for the first time.


17 comments on “Football is a Stupid Game!

  1. Well, I don’t know where to start; I’m torn. I grew up playing soccer, I played in highly comepetitive leagues, I even travelled around Europe playing. I love the sport…can’t stand watching it. As a matter of fact, I am so utterly and hopelessly bored watching it that I apologized to my father for him having to follow me around watching while I played. Football on the other hand despite what you say, is exciting to me. I have no idea why; I think it’s simply the fact that I’m emotionally invested in my team; America’s team, The Cowboys. Anyway, I loved your comparisons of the two sports and they were spot on. My only problem with soccer is that the “acting” is getting a little out of hand. I’ll wrap it up now…I loved your post, it was honest and insightful and humorous. You have a new fan. And do me a favor, don’t go to my page; though humorous, it’s vulgar and foul. Seriously beneath you.

    • @graysonjack: Good points all. Especially the ” honest and insightful and humorous” part. The “acting” in soccer is a little out of hand but overall I fell it’s a good trade off. Indeed your blog is seriously beneath my standards, as low as they are. I enjoyed it tremendously.

  2. Well, was going to comment on your wonderful and most helpful breakdown but Brer Rabbit’s ( aka @graysonjack) warning about the briar patch is too good to resist! Will get back to you on the football issue – personally I love all the attending drama, the announcers and their gnarly, gravelly voices, the pathos with endless possibilities of redemption. I have been lucky, or unlucky enough, to find myself walking through a tailgate party in Pittsburgh when they were playing the Vikings. Honestly, I thought I was on a film set!

    Just noticed that wobbling bowl of jello in the last pic . . .

  3. Personaly I always thought American football players were P*ssys for wearing all that protective gear. But then Im just a girl, so what do I know? REAL football is definitly more interesting.

  4. I’m from England so I look at this a bit differently, and have to go with American Football for me at the moment.
    One thing you missed in favour of football is relegation and multiple divisions which is very exciting. I enjoy lower Division football (with its modest players who actually have mortgages and have to work their but off every week to make sure they stay on the team and get paid) over the overpaid and overrated stars of the Premier League. Maybe I’m biased because I support a team who are currently in the 4th division (or League 2).
    American Football has a cult following in this country and I have been drawn to it myself, and not had it shoved down my throat like you have being from Chicago. Every since I’ve got into American football I have found my love for World Football diminish maybe because it has coincided with the influx of mega rich investors to already, very big clubs. The Premier League is now made up of 4/5 teams that will finish in the top 4/5 and only 2 of them have a realistic chance of winning the League.
    The salary cap and draft system in the NFL mean I have no idea who will get to the Superbowl this year.
    But the thing that has put me off soccer the most in recent years is how defensive it has become. Teams are more desperate to not lose than to win. Knowing they have no chance of winning the league, staying in the league and not getting relegated is had become the goal for ¾ of the league. There are very few players I really excite me now, Messi, Luis Suarez, Teves, and the lad Jack Wilshire in your picture up there, but there’s not many. I look back at old “Premier League Years” programmes like this and reminisce how good it used to be, but I’m just not interested anymore.
    Sorry I only wanted to write a short comment and it turned into a mini blog!

    • @Dave, The rule here is that a comment may never be better than my post. Stop it! Seriously, thanks for filling in the points I left off. I stayed away from those topics since the post was too long anyway. My focus is primarily on the actual gameplay. Soccer has all of the same big money and political infighting that US football has. I’m an Arsenal fan so that makes the point. I used Jack Wilshire’s picture because he seems to me to be everything that is good about the sport. Of course he’s young, and that will change in a few years! Thanks for adding the video… and now for you folks who want to know what football was like in the good old days… click this link for a classic:

  5. You forgot another form of football. Rugby! It’s 80 minutes of pure exercise. All players are of different builds so there is a position for fat guys and skinny guys. The only break is 10 minutes in the middle and the only protection you wear is a gum shield. It kind of does start and stop a bit but not nearly as much as American Football. You should definitely check it out. Although it might seem a bit thuggish (it is said to be a ruffians game played by gentlemen).

  6. Damn – a fun read. i once tried to understand US football – not a chance. I fell to sleep before I could get a grip around the rules. In New Zealand we are rugby mad – and as an Australian immigrant I an still learning the rules – but at least it is action packed. And i love soccer having lived in Holland for a while, it is hard not to get into it when everyone goes a little bonkers.

  7. I moved to USA 2 years ago and I really wanted to like their so called football (neither the thing they move around the yard is a ball neither they use their feet to move it) and the baseball but I simply couldn’t. The main reason is that these games are unwatchable on a TV – I HATE COMMERCIALS!!! So I cannot watch anything which by definition is made to be commercial friendly. Once I watched an American football game on a stadium though and I kind of liked it but no way I’m watching this game on a TV again.

  8. L….M….A….O….you did not just say in your article that soccer is rougher and tougher than football. You use later in your bullshit article that US football uses body armor and soccer uses six inch shin guards. HA! Are you that mental??? Why do you think they only need six inch shin guards??? Because the only physical contact that soccer players get is when the opposing player kicks the ball and maybe it hits the other player’s shin and then their down on the ground for God knows how long. You say US football has body armor? Yup! Because if you didnt wear it youd be either dead or paralyzed. Think before you write…

  9. I dont waste time watching sports, but when I do it is soccer ( during the big tournaments) I also enjoy playing soccer more than anything. there was 13 minutes out of 4 hours of actual game time in the super bowl. Such bloody bull. I cant stand football. Even playing it is stupid. You run and maybe get the ball passed to you, if not then you have to wait for the next play and so on. HOWEVER, your comparisons are wrong. Football players are probably the most well rounded atheletes ( speed, power, strength). The sport is obviously more physical than soccer. But that doesnt mean soccer isnt physical. When you deal with ankle and knee problems (tackles, collisions etc. they hurt like hell).

    Americans only like football for the revolving culture behind it… junk food, booze, cheerleaders ( things mentioned in the article)

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