The League

Peter Schaffer
NFL Agent

Peter Schaffer

Agent and professor of sports law

Soccer is UnAmerican

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As a true sports Junkie, I too watched with excitement as the US National Soccer team defeated the heavily favored and once dominant team from Spain on Wednesday. While the game showed that the US has finally arrived on the world soccer stage, when it comes to kicking a white ball into a goal, the American version of football will always dominate the world's game of football in the heart, mind, passion and wallets of the vast majority of Americans.

Like it or not, Americans are rugged individualists. They see themselves as adventurous spirits -- people who voluntarily jumped into boats and ran from their motherlands searching for new lives, opportunity and freedom. Americans then did the unthinkable -- revolted against the old world and thus created the greatest democracy of all times. To expand their nation, Americans settled the Wild West through Manifest Destiny, forever cementing their place as the true rugged individuals of the world's societies.

Why the history lesson and recitation of facts? Well, the American game of football embodies and most closely resembles all that the American citizens live for and believe in. It is the fabric of the American way of life. It is the truest and purest form of battle short of war. A perfect combination of athleticism, brutality, intellect and teamwork, this donnybrook is played out every Sunday and Monday through the balance of the fall and winter.

American Soccer has come a long way over the past half of century; from an afterthought to a mainstream game contested on levels of American society -- from youth to professional -- and by all citizens and genders. The game has moved forward by leaps and bounds since the great Pele donned a New York Cosmos jerseys in the 1970's when the American viewer reluctantly watched American teams filled with international superstars and role playing locals. Today, the American fan can watch natives compete and win on the world's stage as they are doing with the Confederations Cup and hopefully next year's World Cup.

The down side of Soccer, and why it will always be relegated to a second tier sport in the United States, is that the games components do not mirror the attitude and social beliefs of our citizens. Americans love scoring, blood, aggression, incredible fetes of human proportion and most of all sheer contact. Soccer is a game of slow, deliberate advances that sometimes result in a low percentage attempt of a shot on goal. It is analogous to flying a plane, short bursts of terror and excitement surrounded by hours of passive action. It is a game where players who are tripped, reel on the ground with what appears to be fatal wounds, only to be given a shot of ice and then return to play. While at times exciting to watch, and even more so when the home team wears your colors and actually defeats world powers, soccer will never rise to the level of American Football for the vast majority of the American sporting public.

By Peter Schaffer  |  June 26, 2009; 11:31 AM ET  | Category:  NFL , Peter Schaffer Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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a) It's a stupid question, so therefore I can excuse your:

b) stupid answer. Please do not presuppose to speak for what Americans like and don't like.

Posted by: JkR- | June 26, 2009 4:02 PM

??? Why is this necessary.

Aren't we beyond this.

The world is globalizing. Association football (which is what soccer is short for!) is the world's game, which is why it has become more popular lately. In terms of ratings it gets more then the NHL...because demographically USA is becoming more brown.

Also:

"Americans love scoring, blood, aggression, incredible fetes of human proportion and most of all shear contact" - What does this even mean?

Also why do American play their lame @ss version of football and not rugby?

DUMBEST COLUMN EVER. Learn the game before you abuse it.

Posted by: arswift24 | June 26, 2009 4:15 PM

??? Why is this necessary.

Aren't we beyond this.

The world is globalizing. Association football (which is what soccer is short for!) is the world's game, which is why it has become more popular lately. In terms of ratings it gets more then the NHL...because demographically USA is becoming more brown.

Also:

"Americans love scoring, blood, aggression, incredible fetes of human proportion and most of all shear contact" - What does this even mean?

Also why do American play their lame @ss version of football and not rugby?

DUMBEST COLUMN EVER. Learn the game before you abuse it.

Posted by: arswift24 | June 26, 2009 4:15 PM

??? Why is this necessary.

Aren't we beyond this.

The world is globalizing. Association football (which is what soccer is short for!) is the world's game, which is why it has become more popular lately. In terms of ratings it gets more then the NHL...because demographically USA is becoming more brown.

Also:

"Americans love scoring, blood, aggression, incredible fetes of human proportion and most of all shear contact" - What does this even mean?

Also why do American play their lame version of football and not rugby?

DUMBEST COLUMN EVER. Learn the game before you abuse it.

Posted by: arswift24 | June 26, 2009 4:16 PM

Seriously, football is a deranged form of a much better game that has much more of the qualities you mentioned America likes: Rugby.

Reeling on the ground? Ever watched a basketball game lately? Also, they dont wear pads like those pansy overweight "athletes" that you think everyone idolizes.

Rugged individualism? What they hell is this 1904 and is Teddy Roosevelt president? Weve come a long way pal and only a "professor" would even start to bring up crap about what America is based on what it was.

You are an idiot if you think Soccer will remain in second tier status.

Posted by: ichigo_kurasaki | June 26, 2009 4:25 PM

To Washington Post Editors: PLEASE have someone copy-edit the above post. There are WAAAAYYYYY too many typos in it. Thx! :-)

Posted by: Juan-John | June 26, 2009 4:36 PM

Ignoring the poor quality of writing here (beyond mentioning it passive-aggressively), I see a flaw in the argument. If football is really a game that appeals to individualists, how does anyone ever end up as a offensive or defensive lineman? Who would ever take on such a physically difficult role knowing that linemen are always unappreciated and go largely unrecognized? Not only that, but a good line requires working as a unit. If one person fails, the whole line fails. That doesn't sound like the kind of thing "rugged individualists" get themselves involved in.

Furthermore, if you think soccer lacks individualism then you must not know of the kind of ego being a great attacking player sometimes breeds. A well-known truism in soccer is that a great striker has to be selfish. One type of player you'll encounter all the time is the playmaker who doesn't do much defending. Entire teams need to be structured around this one individual's preferences and style of play. Quarterbacks will identify with this very quickly.

This argument is old and tired. If you don't like soccer, fine, but don't tell me it's "unAmerican" or any other such nonsense. I don't like baseball, but I don't find the need to see it as a poor fit for the American character. I could, if I wanted to (it's slow, while most Americans live at high speed; it's

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | June 26, 2009 4:45 PM

This guys an idiot, I'm not going to say that soccer will be bigger than football. But un american and always a second tier sport is ridiculous. As more americans begin to understand the game it will only grow in popularity. Actually the fans are already here which is evident by Champions league , World Cup and Ero 2008 ratings, these fans just need converted to american teams. I leave with one argument, soccer no TV time outs, football 15 minutes of actual running 1 hour of comercial, and 14-0 is really 2-0 in football counting by 7 doesn't equal more scoring.

Posted by: jmmills20 | June 26, 2009 5:44 PM

American football is un-American. America is about individualism and optimism, about making sacrifices for the team. American football is about being a drone, performing the play exactly as it was laid out by the coach. Heck, even the quarterback plays with a radio in his helmet so that he can be told what to do. Now, if we were talking about the football of 50 years ago, when guys played both sides of the ball, the quarterback was a leader of men, etc., then yeah, tell me all about the American spirit. But today's game has utterly no soul.

Soccer, on the other hand, is all about initiative and inventiveness, hard work and bodily sacrifice. And it's a game anyone can play. How many people attending a football game play the game, or have ever played the game? Compare that to soccer--*everybody* plays. That is why, some day, soccer will be the #1 game in this country.

Posted by: glfrazier | June 26, 2009 5:50 PM

"the games (sic) components do not mirror the attitude and social beliefs of our citizens"

The citizens in my neighborhood and at my workplace have backgrounds from the United States as well as Europe, Asia, Latin America, and Africa (sorry, no Aussies or Kiwis). So I don't know who he means by "our citizens."

I went to the University of Denver's Law School website and could not find Peter Schaffer listed among their faculty. Nor could I find "sports Law" among their specialties. Would someone at the Post please clarify this before I cry fraud?

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | June 26, 2009 6:00 PM

"the games (sic) components do not mirror the attitude and social beliefs of our citizens"

The citizens in my neighborhood and at my workplace have backgrounds from the United States as well as Europe, Asia, Latin America, and Africa (sorry, no Aussies or Kiwis). So I don't know who he means by "our citizens."

I went to the University of Denver's Law School website and could not find Peter Schaffer listed among their faculty. Nor could I find "sports Law" among their specialties. Would someone at the Post please clarify this before I cry fraud?

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | June 26, 2009 6:00 PM

I love soccer and football. I must love America and hate it, too.

Posted by: Hoost | June 26, 2009 7:55 PM

Someone please give me that minute back. I really shouldn't have read that.

Posted by: Hoost | June 26, 2009 7:59 PM

If Americans were truly rugged individualists they would play soccer, not football. In football the plays you run are diagrammed and endlessly practiced, then relayed to the quarterback by radio. In soccer, you create on the run to accommodate changing circumstances. Also, Americans are said to love democracy, but football is anti-democratic. It's a hierarchy, with the quarterback as king (really it's the coach who radios him the plays); the running backs and receivers are nobles; and the linemen are serfs who serve in the trenches and never touch the ball. It's a caste system! Soccer is the true democracy, because everyone on the field with the possible exception of the goalkeeper has to have the same skills and is capable of scoring goals.

Posted by: b18bolo | June 27, 2009 12:18 AM

If Americans were truly rugged individualists they would play soccer, not football. In football the plays you run are diagrammed and endlessly practiced, then relayed to the quarterback by radio. In soccer, you create on the run to accommodate changing circumstances. Also, Americans are said to love democracy, but football is anti-democratic. It's a hierarchy, with the quarterback as king (really it's the coach who radios him the plays); the running backs and receivers are nobles; and the linemen are serfs who serve in the trenches and never touch the ball. It's a caste system! Soccer is the true democracy, because everyone on the field with the possible exception of the goalkeeper has to have the same skills and is capable of scoring goals.

Posted by: b18bolo | June 27, 2009 12:19 AM

This guy is a professor of Sports Law? Really?

"adventuress spirits"? ( I think he means "adventurous")

"incredible fetes"?? (Um, "feats", maybe? Unless there's some dancing and finger foods at the 50 yard line?)

Spell checker in Aisle One, please!

Never mind that his entire premise makes no sense... American Football as the embodiment of rugged individualism? So that's what all those choreographed set plays are about?

Posted by: mpl2 | June 27, 2009 12:58 AM

I played football in High School and I enjoyed playing it a great deal. I did, and still do, have a problem with the entire aura that surrounds it. Sportsmanship has lost to the win-at-any-cost mindset.

Other sports like soccer, baseball, and hockey seem to be much more democratic. One does not have to be genetically destined to be 250 lbs. to play any of these sports. A soccer athlete must run up and down a field, larger than a football field, continuously and that requires much more stamina then an "Football" player who has several second bursts of activity and up to a minute to rest in between.

Posted by: risejugger | June 27, 2009 1:58 AM

I have to agree with some of these commenters, why is the author of this article lumping all Americans into such a pigeon hole. If there is ever a classification to what is quintessentially American, it would probably not be this shallow description laid forth in this article, and more about the vast variety of opinions and personalities that Americans embody. As an American, I certainly do not love what this author claims most Americans love, "blood, [and] aggression." Also, as an American, I still can't understand why American football is called football when the game is not even played with the feet. Grrrrr, now I'm upset I wasted my time reading this provincial article.

Posted by: average_person | June 27, 2009 2:02 AM

Perhaps the stupidest opinion I have ever seen on Washington post, exceeding George Will, Kristol, Kagan and their like.Peter Schaffer Agent and professor of sports Homo erotica? I don't get it he is a fan but not. American but lost in rhetoric of a world he cannot understand...Like it or not, Americans are rugged individualists. They see themselves as adventuress spirits -- people who like sychophants hang on the word the sports pundits...I hope the Heck not..pull up your huggies Peter buy a ball and play sports don't just watch then perhaps the two small orbs twixt your legs will drop and rather than pundit thou shalt become a man.

Posted by: jpenergy | June 27, 2009 2:21 AM

Perhaps the stupidest opinion I have ever seen on Washington post, exceeding George Will, Kristol, Kagan and their like.Peter Schaffer Agent and professor of sports Homo erotica? I don't get it he is a fan but not. American but lost in rhetoric of a world he cannot understand...Like it or not, Americans are rugged individualists. They see themselves as adventuress spirits -- people who like sychophants hang on the word the sports pundits...I hope the Heck not..pull up your huggies Peter buy a ball and play sports don't just watch then perhaps the two small orbs twixt your legs will drop and rather than pundit thou shalt become a man.

Posted by: jpenergy | June 27, 2009 2:21 AM

Perhaps the stupidest opinion I have ever seen on Washington post, exceeding George Will, Kristol, Kagan and their like.Peter Schaffer Agent and professor of sports Homo erotica? I don't get it he is a fan but not. American but lost in rhetoric of a world he cannot understand...Like it or not, Americans are rugged individualists. They see themselves as adventuress spirits -- people who like sychophants hang on the word the sports pundits...I hope the Heck not..pull up your huggies Peter buy a ball and play sports don't just watch then perhaps the two small orbs twixt your legs will drop and rather than pundit thou shalt become a man.

Posted by: jpenergy | June 27, 2009 2:22 AM

Seriously! Have you ever watched a soccer game? Have you ever played a soccer game? Your analysis of a soccer game is so far off that you shouldn't be writing articles for the Post.

Posted by: AnotherRealAmerican | June 27, 2009 2:23 AM

Someone needs to spank this guy. On his bottom!

Posted by: AnotherRealAmerican | June 27, 2009 2:23 AM

Perhaps the stupidest opinion I have ever seen on Washington post, exceeding George Will, Kristol, Kagan and their like.Peter Schaffer Agent and professor of sports Homo erotica? I don't get it he is a fan but not. American but lost in rhetoric of a world he cannot understand...Like it or not, Americans are rugged individualists. They see themselves as adventuress spirits -- people who like sychophants hang on the word the sports pundits...I hope the Heck not..pull up your huggies Peter buy a ball and play sports don't just watch then perhaps the two small orbs twixt your legs will drop and rather than pundit thou shalt become a man.

Posted by: jpenergy | June 27, 2009 2:23 AM

Stupid computer showed error 3 times then...sorry about the repetition

Posted by: jpenergy | June 27, 2009 2:28 AM

I love both football and soccer. And honestly soccer fans, this is the most benign column I've seen discussing this faux issue. Whether you buy it or not, at least it was interesting, and I can kinda get where he's coming from. And it's not full of the regular garbage you usually get from your typical sportswriter. Seriously, we've all heard worse about soccer. Why would anyone be upset about this post. It's an opinion column and fairly balanced at that.

Posted by: jethronilsen | June 27, 2009 4:42 AM

Soccer: not for fat guys.

Americans: fat.

End of story.

Posted by: cdamore1 | June 27, 2009 5:19 AM

While I agree with all of the commenters about the flaws in this piece, the part about aggression got me thinking. In American football, the intensity of the contact increases as the players reach higher levels, and the players handle it the same or better. The first part of that is true for soccer, but then the players start flopping around like they've been stabbed every time they take a toe to the shinguard.

Soccer players aren't wimps, but a casual observer might assume they are. Or, if you're like me, you know it's gamesmanship and you hate it with a passion, even if you love the sport. (I can't even watch Italian league it irritates me so much.)

I don't think the behavior will stop any time soon, and it will continue to slow the acceptance of soccer in the US.

Posted by: hbc1 | June 27, 2009 6:05 AM

I love soccer and I love football but this column really is not a good representation of the football side. I'm not sure where this guy comes from or who he is but he's a complete idiot and makes me embarrassed to be a football fan.


Posted by: Southeasterner | June 27, 2009 6:38 AM

Peter Shaffer plainly exposes his limited understanding of the game. Soccer is too slow? I guess baseball is more Peter's speed. Five minutes of action spread across three hours. Football? Too many timeouts and stoppages of play. Basketball? They're in great shape and tremendous athletes but I tire of the zillion timeouts and the crybaby attitudes of players and coaches alike.

As for the play acting of "injured" players, I wholeheartedly agree that it's an unsavory aspect of the game that makes it unappealing to a certain sector of American society. I think if Peter actually watched more than occasional match he'd be proud to note that members of the American team don't play that game. I think they understand that it's just not the American Way when it comes to sports. Flopping and playing the fake victim in soccer is best left to players from other cultures.

Finally, soccer requires a level of fitness rarely seen in most other American sports. You won't see any fat soccer players. Let's see if any of the Redskins could last 90+ minutes running non-stop around FEDEX Field without timeouts they way they'd have to in a typical soccer match. I seriously doubt many of them could.

Posted by: Nomad1 | June 27, 2009 7:35 AM

One other thing I forgot to mention to Peter is that soccer has been around the US just as long or longer than American football has. In fact, the professional game in America pre-dates the establishment of the NFL.

Posted by: Nomad1 | June 27, 2009 7:37 AM

First off, I'm an American and proudly so. I registered here JUST to say that this commentary, loaded with cliché patriotism and commentary on essentially our society's love of violence made me laugh. The viewpoint of this writer is fairly ridiculous.

You're talking about the world's game, there's a reason THAT many people love it. The fact that you can't see the genius of the game isn't surprising since you try and relate democracy to sports. I think the highlight of the article was when he said soccer was slow. You seriously won there... please go put on your fail pants for this article.

Posted by: nRGon | June 27, 2009 7:47 AM

First off, I'm an American and proudly so. I registered here JUST to say that this commentary, loaded with cliché patriotism and commentary on essentially our society's love of violence made me laugh. The viewpoint of this writer is fairly ridiculous.

You're talking about the world's game, there's a reason THAT many people love it. The fact that you can't see the genius of the game isn't surprising since you try and relate democracy to sports. I think the highlight of the article was when he said soccer was slow. You seriously won there... please go put on your fail pants for this article.

Posted by: nRGon | June 27, 2009 7:47 AM

Anybody who's raised a child in the last 20 years knows which sport is gaining fastest in young participants. Just take a look at most any vacant space in your town on Saturday morning - there's likely to be a kinder-soccer league springing up.

My little rural Virginia town now produces high school players who can score on a bicycle kick (laid out flat in midair, kicking the ball backwards), reach back with a foot to flick the ball forward over their shoulder past a defender, instinctively pass the ball backwards to better move forward, or attack with overlapping runs.

In high school in 1967 I was an honorable mention all-Ohio football player. But the times they are a'changing.

Posted by: HankNTennessee | June 27, 2009 7:54 AM

Anyone who has raised a child in the last 20 years should know which sport is gaining fastest in young participants. Just look at any vacant space in your town on Saturday morning. There is likely to be a kinder-soccer league springing up.

My little rural Virginia town now produces high school players who can score on a bicycle kick (laid out flat in midair, kicking the ball backwards over their head) or reach backwards with a foot to flick the ball forward over their shoulders past a defender, or instinctively pass the ball backwards to better move forward, or attack in overlapping runs.

I was an honorable mention all-Ohio football player in 1967. But the times they are a'changing.

Posted by: HankNTennessee | June 27, 2009 7:59 AM

Anyone who has raised a child in the last 20 years should know which sport is gaining fastest in young participants. Just look at any vacant space in your town on Saturday morning. There is likely to be a kinder-soccer league springing up.

My little rural Virginia town now produces high school players who can score on a bicycle kick (laid out flat in midair, kicking the ball backwards over their head) or reach backwards with a foot to flick the ball forward over their shoulders past a defender, or instinctively pass the ball backwards to better move forward, or attack in overlapping runs.

I was an honorable mention all-Ohio football player in 1967. But the times they are a'changing.

Posted by: HankNTennessee | June 27, 2009 8:00 AM

Anyone who has raised a child in the last 20 years should know which sport is gaining fastest in young participants. Just look at any vacant space in your town on Saturday morning. There is likely to be a kinder-soccer league springing up.

My little rural Virginia town now produces high school players who can score on a bicycle kick (laid out flat in midair, kicking the ball backwards over their head) or reach backwards with a foot to flick the ball forward over their shoulders past a defender, or instinctively pass the ball backwards to better move forward, or attack in overlapping runs.

I was an honorable mention all-Ohio football player in 1967. But the times they are a'changing.

Posted by: HankNTennessee | June 27, 2009 8:01 AM

Anyone who has raised a child in the last 20 years should know which sport is gaining fastest in young participants. Just look at any vacant space in your town on Saturday morning. There is likely to be a kinder-soccer league springing up.

My little rural Virginia town now produces high school players who can score on a bicycle kick (laid out flat in midair, kicking the ball backwards over their head) or reach backwards with a foot to flick the ball forward over their shoulders past a defender, or instinctively pass the ball backwards to better move forward, or attack in overlapping runs.

I was an honorable mention all-Ohio high school football player in 1967. But the times they are a'changing.

Posted by: HankNTennessee | June 27, 2009 8:02 AM

Its a silly and a not thought though argument.

The difference between American Football and Soccer is like Orchestral music (American Football) and Jazz (Soccer). American football is very militaristic and controlled. Soccer has a general shape and strategy but there is a lot of fluidity and flexibility in its game. Also when you consider that American Football is stopped every few minutes to dictate a new instruction, is that that way the American?

Posted by: lowcg | June 27, 2009 8:04 AM

Its a silly and a not thought though argument.

The difference between American Football and Soccer is like Orchestral music (American Football) and Jazz (Soccer). American football is very militaristic and controlled. Soccer has a general shape and strategy but there is a lot of fluidity and flexibility in its game. Also when you consider that American Football is stopped every few minutes to dictate a new instruction, is that that way the American?

Posted by: lowcg | June 27, 2009 8:05 AM

I hope Schaffer is a better agent than writer. As for his flawed history, just about every aspect of soccer he hates is reflected in the national past-time: baseball. Low-scoring, teamwork, slow pace of play ... I could go on and on. Is Schaffer somehow arguing that the US mindset changed significantly from the 19th century (when football wasn't even played but Manifest Destiny was indeed invoked as a rationale for imperialism) to the twentieth century (when baseball eclipsed football and the Office of War Information exhorted American workers to pull together for the war effort) to the present-day? Perhaps Schaffer needs a few remedial history classes before he starts such grandiose posturing. If nothing else, Schaffer would be well-advised to review the late, great George Carlin's exposition on baseball and football.

Posted by: oilhistorian | June 27, 2009 8:12 AM

I agree soccer is unAmerican.

We Americans like Football, Baseball, and Basketball which were all invented in the USA.

Our sports heros are almost exclusively giant men of 6 feet or more. Instead of tension and drama our games satisfy our requirement of instant gratification.

Our "teams" are dominated by a single player/hero - quarterback and pitcher.

Our athletes trash talk, taunt, celebrate to the extreme, have criminal records, abuse dogs, inject roids, and other American ideals while soccer bans such displays of sportsmanship.

Our superior media like to paint soccer as boring and unAmerican...so much that the average American thinks rioting is a much of soccer as fighting a part of NHL. We don't riot...except when we celebrate a victory...or when a player decides to beat a white boy who had the nerve to heckle him. We feel superior to soccer cause our young men wearing their team colors high on alcohol traveling to another country encountering young men equally drunk wearing their colors, speaking another language, and often with historical tensions between the groups...Americans would never ever resort to violence under equal circumstances...we Americans recognize its soccer that causes violence not proximity, culture, alcohol, history...soccer is an evil unAmerican sport...we Americans are better than the rest of the world.

Yes, soccer, that game the rest of the world have the nerve to call football...that game you play with your feet...backwards and unAmerican fools don't even have enough sense to pick up the football with their hands...

so unAmerican

Posted by: ram_xxx_ram | June 27, 2009 8:55 AM

I agree soccer is unAmerican.

We Americans like Football, Baseball, and Basketball which were all invented in the USA.

Our sports heros are almost exclusively giant men of 6 feet or more. Instead of tension and drama our games satisfy our requirement of instant gratification.

Our "teams" are dominated by a single player/hero - quarterback and pitcher.

Our athletes trash talk, taunt, celebrate to the extreme, have criminal records, abuse dogs, inject roids, and other American ideals while soccer bans such displays of sportsmanship.

Our superior media like to paint soccer as boring and unAmerican...so much that the average American thinks rioting is a much of soccer as fighting a part of NHL. We don't riot...except when we celebrate a victory...or when a player decides to beat a white boy who had the nerve to heckle him. We feel superior to soccer cause our young men wearing their team colors high on alcohol traveling to another country encountering young men equally drunk wearing their colors, speaking another language, and often with historical tensions between the groups...Americans would never ever resort to violence under equal circumstances...we Americans recognize its soccer that causes violence not proximity, culture, alcohol, history...soccer is an evil unAmerican sport...we Americans are better than the rest of the world.

Yes, soccer, that game the rest of the world have the nerve to call football...that game you play with your feet...backwards and unAmerican fools don't even have enough sense to pick up the football with their hands...

so unAmerican

Posted by: ram_xxx_ram | June 27, 2009 8:56 AM

I agree soccer is unAmerican.

We Americans like Football, Baseball, and Basketball which were all invented in the USA.

Our sports heros are almost exclusively giant men of 6 feet or more. Instead of tension and drama our games satisfy our requirement of instant gratification.

Our "teams" are dominated by a single player/hero - quarterback and pitcher.

Our athletes trash talk, taunt, celebrate to the extreme, have criminal records, abuse dogs, inject roids, and other American ideals while soccer bans such displays of sportsmanship.

Our superior media like to paint soccer as boring and unAmerican...so much that the average American thinks rioting is a much of soccer as fighting a part of NHL. We don't riot...except when we celebrate a victory...or when a player decides to beat a white boy who had the nerve to heckle him. We feel superior to soccer cause our young men wearing their team colors high on alcohol traveling to another country encountering young men equally drunk wearing their colors, speaking another language, and often with historical tensions between the groups...Americans would never ever resort to violence under equal circumstances...we Americans recognize its soccer that causes violence not proximity, culture, alcohol, history...soccer is an evil unAmerican sport...we Americans are better than the rest of the world.

Yes, soccer, that game the rest of the world have the nerve to call football...that game you play with your feet...backwards and unAmerican fools don't even have enough sense to pick up the football with their hands...

so unAmerican

Posted by: ram_xxx_ram | June 27, 2009 9:00 AM

I agree soccer is unAmerican.

We Americans like Football, Basebase, and Basketball which were all invented in the USA.

Our sports heros are almost exclusively giant men of 6 feet or more. Instead of tension and drama our games satisfy our requirement of instant gratification.

Our "teams" are dominated by a single player/hero - quarterback and pitcher.

Our athletes trash talk, taunt, celebrate to the extreme, have criminal records, abuse dogs, inject roids, and other American ideals while soccer bans such displays of sportsmanship.

Our superior media like to paint soccer as boring and unAmerican...so much that the average American thinks rioting is a much of soccer as fighting a part of NHL. We don't riot...except when we celebrate a victory...or when a player decides to beat a white boy who had the nerve to heckle him. We feel superior to soccer cause our young men wearing their team colors high on alcohol traveling to another country encountering young men equally drunk wearing their colors, speaking another language, and often with historical tensions between the groups...Americans would never ever resort to violence under equal circumstances...we Americans recognize its soccer that causes violence not proximity, culture, alcohol, history...soccer is an evil unAmerican sport...we Americans are better than the rest of the world.

Yes, soccer, that game the rest of the world have the nerve to call football...that game you play with your feet...backwards and unAmerican fools don't even have enough sense to pick up the football with their hands...

so unAmerican

Posted by: ram_xxx_ram | June 27, 2009 9:01 AM

I agree soccer is unAmerican.

We Americans like Football, Baseball, and Basketball which were all invented in the USA.

Our sports heros are almost exclusively giant men of 6 feet or more. Instead of tension and drama our games satisfy our requirement of instant gratification.

Our "teams" are dominated by a single player/hero - quarterback and pitcher.

Our athletes trash talk, taunt, celebrate to the extreme, have criminal records, abuse dogs, inject roids, and other American ideals while soccer bans such displays of sportsmanship.

Our superior media like to paint soccer as boring and unAmerican...so much that the average American thinks rioting is a much of soccer as fighting a part of NHL. We don't riot...except when we celebrate a victory...or when a player decides to beat a white boy who had the nerve to heckle him. We feel superior to soccer cause our young men wearing their team colors high on alcohol traveling to another country encountering young men equally drunk wearing their colors, speaking another language, and often with historical tensions between the groups...Americans would never ever resort to violence under equal circumstances...we Americans recognize its soccer that causes violence not proximity, culture, alcohol, history...soccer is an evil unAmerican sport...we Americans are better than the rest of the world.

Yes, soccer, that game the rest of the world have the nerve to call football...that game you play with your feet...backwards and unAmerican fools don't even have enough sense to pick up the football with their hands...

so unAmerican

Posted by: ram_xxx_ram | June 27, 2009 9:06 AM

Let's get this straight for posters like Ram_XXX_Ram. First came football, invented in England, a game played mostly with the feet. Next came Rugby Football, named after the school in England where it was invented. Next and quite legitimately came American Football which is distant cousin to Rugby Football. Football is a world game. American football has aspirations to be but isn't, yet. The only reason that true football, i.e. the game first invented and played with the feet, is not an American sport is that it doesn't lend itself to commercial breaks - its too fast flowing - and hasn't prostituted itself to allow commercial timeouts to dictate to players and coaches when it wants control of the game. Call that a sport when someone unconnected to your team controls your strategy on the field?

Posted by: jameswork52 | June 27, 2009 9:06 AM

Let's get this straight for posters like Ram_XXX_Ram. First came football, invented in England, a game played mostly with the feet. Next came Rugby Football, named after the school in England where it was invented. Next and quite legitimately came American Football which is distant cousin to Rugby Football. Football is a world game. American football has aspirations to be but isn't, yet. The only reason that true football, i.e. the game first invented and played with the feet, is not an American sport is that it doesn't lend itself to commercial breaks - its too fast flowing - and hasn't prostituted itself to allow commercial timeouts to dictate to players and coaches when it wants control of the game. What is sporting when someone unconnected to your team controls your strategy on the field?

Posted by: jameswork52 | June 27, 2009 9:07 AM

I like the fact that I can watch 45 minutes of a sport without going to commercial every time an offensive lineman scratches his butt.

Posted by: mikem1 | June 27, 2009 9:30 AM

Mr. Schaffer, I suggest, perhaps dare, you to enter the pitch of any youth football, and here I refer to the real version of the game rather than American football, game in the United States and announce what they are doing is "UnAmerican". There are more youth soccer players in this country than any other sport. What it most American about sports in this country is the wealth of opportunities we provide our children to play. You must believe your favorite of American football is endangered to have to attack such a popular sport.

Posted by: tam4 | June 27, 2009 9:32 AM

Agree with the previous sentiments. This column and series is juvenile. Why have a discussion at all as to whether or not soccer will supplant any of the big US sports (football, basketball, baseball)?? And why do Americans who solely support football feel threatened by soccer? Can't we just support the US Nats on Sunday and call it a day? It's 2009, soccer has been a major sport in this country since at least 1994. MOVE ON.

Posted by: ddd001 | June 27, 2009 9:53 AM

Somebody needs to stick this guy in the Screaming Eagles section at RFK during a United game. During the 1996 Olympics I watched our under-23 team play Portugal at RFK, 56,000 fans chanting USA, USA, USA did not seem UnAmerican to me, ever heard that at an NFL game?

Bottom line, soccer will continue to grow slowly in this nation.

Posted by: Jeffreymsoltz | June 27, 2009 9:56 AM

Somebody needs to stick this guy in the Screaming Eagles section at RFK during a United game. During the 1996 Olympics I watched our under-23 team play Portugal at RFK, 56,000 fans chanting USA, USA, USA did not seem UnAmerican to me, ever heard that at an NFL game?

Bottom line, soccer will continue to grow slowly in this nation.

Posted by: Jeffreymsoltz | June 27, 2009 9:58 AM

"... people who voluntarily jumped into boats and ran from their motherlands searching for new lives, opportunity and freedom."

What a facile thesis. I'll bet that the great majority of Mr. Schaffer's professional athlete client's are black men. Their ancestors didn't jump into boats, they were chained into the holds and if they didn't die on the trip they ended up slaves.

Posted by: mr14sunshine | June 27, 2009 9:59 AM

Soccer is a little too elegant for Americans who prefer to watch great fat guys with helmuts and body-padding crashing into each other.
It's a kind of violent spectacle that Americans can get excited about. Violence sells tickets. Finesse sports don't.

Posted by: colinnicholas | June 27, 2009 10:09 AM

Soccer is a little too elegant for Americans who prefer to watch great fat guys with helmuts and body-padding crashing into each other.
It's a kind of violent spectacle that Americans can get excited about. Violence sells tickets. Finesse sports don't.

Posted by: colinnicholas | June 27, 2009 10:10 AM

I have played football in high school,college,and semipro. I have also played Rugby for 25 + years until I needed a new hip!Rugby is by far the better sport; Soccer is interesting but slow and far too few scoring opportunities. Rugby has taken off in the USA with many U19,college and men/women sides forming.Football has become way overexposed and has a much higher rate of injuries. The fitness level is poor with 300+ lineman who would last about 5 min in a test match of Rugby!

Posted by: parugger611 | June 27, 2009 10:19 AM

Mr. Schaffer, you really need to pack and leave. Where is the Post's editing body in all this non-sense opinion? Don't you see the gatherings at the futbol fields every weekend?

So far 87 comments, all of them making fun and disregarding this guy's opinion's, prove that he has no idea what he's talking about.

Gotta go, I have a futbol game to watch tomorrow, Brazil vs. USA, ever heard of them?

Posted by: octaviofb613 | June 27, 2009 10:43 AM

Dear Mr. Schaffer:

After carefull review of your article, we
have decided that your qualifications for
the post of Professor were overstated in
your resume.
You're fired !

Good bye.

Posted by: newamerica | June 27, 2009 10:47 AM

I can't believe:
1 - W.P. publishes your work and
2 - I'm still reading it.

You make some of the most ridiculous assertions in your writing; not to mention you are passive aggressive in your arguments.

Not only that, your history is awful.
"through Manifest Destiny" - we conquered the west, huh? I think maybe it was through "manifest destiny" that we also performed the largest genocide in the history of mankind when we wiped out the Native Americans. Manifest destiny really had nothing to do with it. It was a flawed theory at best. We headed west out of desire, greed, and overpopulation of the east. Manifest destiny was an afterthought of a justification.

I can't believe I have to live in the same town as you.

Posted by: displacedhoosier | June 27, 2009 10:59 AM

I can't believe:
1: W.P. publishes your work and
2: I'm still reading it.

You make some of the most ridiculous assertions in your writing; not to mention you are passive aggressive in your arguments.

Not only that, your history is awful.
"through Manifest Destiny" - we conquered the west, huh? I think maybe it was through "manifest destiny" that we also performed the largest genocide in the history of mankind when we wiped out the Native Americans. Manifest destiny really had nothing to do with it. It was a flawed theory at best. We headed west out of desire, greed, and overpopulation of the east. Manifest destiny was an afterthought of a justification.

Posted by: displacedhoosier | June 27, 2009 11:01 AM

Ignorance abounds, Mr. Schaffer!

A country of immigrants, true. It's the same reason that soccer will overtake football eventually---In Atlanta 55K plus just saw a SCRIMMAGE between Mexico and Venezuela. SCRIMMAGES between MLS teams and world powers, Barcelona, Real Madrid etc, are selling like hot cakes.

In the words of Zack de la Rocha of Rage Against the Machine . . "WAKE UP!"

Posted by: delantero | June 27, 2009 11:29 AM

With the demographic continuing in the same direction it has for the past 15 years, foot ball may over take football. But I contend that football is a more complex game that, for now, is much more interesting.

Posted by: hrastus | June 27, 2009 11:35 AM

Dim-witted editorial aside, my biggest complaint about fuutball: ties!

A few years ago, I gave the World Cup a try. Two teams were playing to qualify. When those teams were informed that a separate game had ended, eliminating a contender for their spots, they mutually agreed to run out the clock in a TIE so that both teams could qualify. (sorry if my terminology is not precise--I don't pretend to know the system, but this was the gist of the situation.)

My question: What kind of sport involves trying NOT to win?! That is UnAmerican-no ifs ands or buts.

Posted by: writinron | June 27, 2009 12:28 PM

Nonsense. If Americans blood, aggression, incredible fetes of human proportion and most of all sheer contact, how come baseball and basketball are prime sports in the US. If Americans are so blood thirsty, how come they are so weak internally when they go to war, and cannot even stomach the death of tiny percentages of their (or others) population.

Posted by: gesm | June 27, 2009 12:40 PM

Nonsense. If Americans love blood, aggression, incredible fetes of human proportion and most of all sheer contact, how come baseball and basketball are prime sports in the US. If Americans are so blood thirsty, how come they are so weak internally when they go to war, and cannot even stomach the death of tiny percentages of their (or others) population.

Posted by: gesm | June 27, 2009 12:41 PM

Is it possible that quick 20th century development helped lead to soccer being less popular relative to american football in the USA? Or baseball and basketball for that matter? Soccer is an amazing sport in that it is wonderfully simple and can easily be played by kids around the world with just a ball. Unlike ball in hand games soccer does not require elaborate rules. American football, or rugby, require lots of rules by the nature of the game. If the only way to take the ball from the opposing team is to knock them down and take it, then sport will require some serious rules to keep it from turning into the UFC. Hockey or basketball use complicated equipment to overcome this - in hockey you use sticks as extensions of your arms so can whack away; basketballs bounce... so can be stolen. Soccer on the other hand does not require complex rules or equipment... you just use your feet. So anyone anywhere with a ball can play.
Baseball is the most popular spectator sport in japan... I wonder if there might be a common thread between the two countries taste for complicated sports?

Posted by: Jack121 | June 27, 2009 12:52 PM

Is it possible that quick 20th century development helped lead to soccer being less popular relative to american football in the USA? Or baseball and basketball for that matter? Soccer is an amazing sport in that it is wonderfully simple and can easily be played by kids around the world with just a ball. Unlike ball in hand games soccer does not require elaborate rules. American football, or rugby, require lots of rules by the nature of the game. If the only way to take the ball from the opposing team is to knock them down and take it, then sport will require some serious rules to keep it from turning into the UFC. Hockey or basketball use complicated equipment to overcome this - in hockey you use sticks as extensions of your arms so can whack away; basketballs bounce... so can be stolen. Soccer on the other hand does not require complex rules or equipment... you just use your feet. So anyone anywhere with a ball can play.
Baseball is the most popular spectator sport in japan... I wonder if there might be a common thread between the two countries taste for complicated sports?

Posted by: Jack121 | June 27, 2009 12:53 PM

Is it possible that quick 20th century development helped lead to Soccer being less popular relative to american football in the USA? Or baseball and basketball for that matter? Soccer is an amazing sport in that it is wonderfully simple and can easily be played by kids around the world with just a ball. Unlike ball in hand games soccer does not require elaborate rules. American football, or rugby, require lots of rules by the nature of the game. If the only way to take the ball from the opposing team is to knock them down and take it, then sport will require some serious rules to keep it from turning into the UFC. Hockey or basketball use complicated equipment to overcome this - in hockey you use sticks as extensions of your arms so can whack away; basketballs bounce... so can be stolen. Soccer on the other hand does not require complex rules or equipment... you just use your feet. So anyone, anywhere with a ball can play.
Baseball is the most popular spectator sport in japan... i wonder if there might be a common thread between the two countries taste for complicated sports?

Posted by: Jack121 | June 27, 2009 12:54 PM

Is it possible that quick 20th century development helped lead to Soccer being less popular relative to american football in the USA? Or baseball and basketball for that matter? Soccer is an amazing sport in that it is wonderfully simple and can easily be played by kids around the world with just a ball. Unlike ball in hand games soccer does not require elaborate rules. American football, or rugby, require lots of rules by the nature of the game. If the only way to take the ball from the opposing team is to knock them down and take it, then sport will require some serious rules to keep it from turning into the UFC. Hockey or basketball use complicated equipment to overcome this - in hockey you use sticks as extensions of your arms so can whack away; basketballs bounce... so can be stolen. Soccer on the other hand does not require complex rules or equipment... you just use your feet. So anyone, anywhere with a ball can play.
Baseball is the most popular spectator sport in japan... i wonder if there might be a common thread between the two countries taste for complicated sports?

Posted by: Jack121 | June 27, 2009 12:55 PM

Is it possible that quick 20th century development helped lead to soccer being less popular relative to american football in the USA? Or baseball and basketball for that matter? Soccer is an amazing sport in that it is wonderfully simple and can easily be played by kids around the world with just a ball. Unlike ball in hand games soccer does not require elaborate rules. American football, or rugby, require lots of rules by the nature of the game. If the only way to take the ball from the opposing team is to knock them down and take it, then sport will require some serious rules to keep it from turning into the UFC. Hockey or basketball use complicated equipment to overcome this - in hockey you use sticks as extensions of your arms so can whack away; basketballs bounce... so can be stolen. Soccer on the other hand does not require complex rules or equipment... you just use your feet. So anyone anywhere with a ball can play.
Baseball is the most popular spectator sport in japan... i wonder if there might be a common thread between the two countries taste for complicated sports?

Posted by: Jack121 | June 27, 2009 12:56 PM

Is it possible that quick 20th century development helped lead to soccer being less popular relative to american football in the USA? Or baseball and basketball for that matter? Soccer is an amazing sport in that it is wonderfully simple and can easily be played by kids around the world with just a ball. Unlike ball in hand games soccer does not require elaborate rules. American football, or rugby, require lots of rules by the nature of the game. If the only way to take the ball from the opposing team is to knock them down and take it, then sport will require some serious rules to keep it from turning into the UFC. Hockey or basketball use complicated equipment to overcome this - in hockey you use sticks as extensions of your arms so can whack away; basketballs bounce... so can be stolen. Soccer on the other hand does not require complex rules or equipment... you just use your feet. So anyone anywhere with a ball can play.
Baseball is the most popular spectator sport in japan... i wonder if there might be a common thread between the two countries taste for complicated sports?

Posted by: Jack121 | June 27, 2009 12:57 PM

This is perhaps the most ignorant question I have ever commented on. Of course American Football is more popular now with Americans than international football. But to call it Un-American? That is the knuckle dragging type of comment that I have, as a 20+ player/fan of IF, had to deal with from goon AF coaches and baseball freaks whom seem scared to death of the potential of IF in the USA. One thing is for sure; if big business, that is advertizing, had been able to shape how AF and baseball/basketball are played they would not be the big three that they are today.

The number one reason why IF is not as big as it could be in the US is because TV, in the US, doesn't like IF. 45 min with out a commercial break is too much for the adverts that rule pro-sports here. There are plenty of fans, both old and young, and to say that IF is abnormal to our way of thinking, that we don't like the team play and the slide tackles and the close games with low scores is beyond elitist and can only be made behind a shallow and scared mask. Folks who think like Schaffer must know how the dinosaurs felt when they looked up at that comet that was crashing down on their world.

Posted by: hansenthered | June 27, 2009 1:35 PM

It's funny -- all this vitriol against anyone who dares criticize soccer, yet virtually nobody (Jack121 excepted) has actually tried to question why soccer, if it's such a wonderful game, isn't more popular in the US.

Please spare us the usual ridiculous arguments about Americans being fat and/or stupid. The average English football fanatic is both. And if you don't like baseball or American football that's your right, but at least respect that most people in this country believe differently.

Soccer really does have structural differences from traditional American sports. It's much more defensive, it has no option for timeouts or deliberation, and it's controlled almost randomly. When a ref calls a straight red in the 20th minute, for example, most people around the world can immediately relate to such a casual, indifferent exercise of total authority. Americans, by contrast, would never tolerate it -- there's no appeal, there's no remediation, and suddenly the entire nature of the game has been irretrievably altered to one side's detriment.

The highlights from your average soccer match usually include a couple near misses, a penalty, and maybe a fake injury or two. Americans either don't care about or actively hate those things.

If you line up the top 6 or 7 sports in America, you'd have football, baseball, basketball, golf, ice hockey, soccer and maybe car racing. Structurally, soccer is not the same as those others.

Posted by: simpleton1 | June 27, 2009 1:37 PM

This is perhaps the most ignorant question I have ever commented on. Of course American Football is more popular now with Americans than international football. But to call it Un-American? That is the knuckle dragging type of comment that I have, as a 20+ player/fan of IF, had to deal with from goon AF coaches and baseball freaks whom seem scared to death of the potential of IF in the USA. One thing is for sure; if big business, that is advertizing, had been able to shape how AF and baseball/basketball are played they would not be the big three that they are today.

The number one reason why IF is not as big as it could be in the US is because TV, in the US, doesn't like IF. 45 min with out a commercial break is too much for the adverts that rule pro-sports here. There are plenty of fans, both old and young, and to say that IF is abnormal to our way of thinking, that we don't like the team play and the slide tackles and the close games with low scores is beyond elitist and can only be made behind a shallow and scared mask. Folks who think like Schaffer must know how the dinosaurs felt when they looked up at that comet that was crashing down on their world.

Posted by: hansenthered | June 27, 2009 1:37 PM

This is perhaps the most ignorant question I have ever commented on. Of course American Football is more popular now with Americans than international football. But to call it Un-American? That is the knuckle dragging type of comment that I have, as a 20+ player/fan of IF, had to deal with from goon AF coaches and baseball freaks whom seem scared to death of the potential of IF in the USA. One thing is for sure; if big business, that is advertizing, had been able to shape how AF and baseball/basketball are played they would not be the big three that they are today.

The number one reason why IF is not as big as it could be in the US is because TV, in the US, doesn't like IF. 45 min with out a commercial break is too much for the adverts that rule pro-sports here. There are plenty of fans, both old and young, and to say that IF is abnormal to our way of thinking, that we don't like the team play and the slide tackles and the close games with low scores is beyond elitist and can only be made behind a shallow and scared mask. Folks who think like Schaffer must know how the dinosaurs felt when they looked up at that comet that was crashing down on their world.

Posted by: hansenthered | June 27, 2009 1:41 PM

Yep . . . same reason that hockey is a second-tier sport. To which I have to ask, so what? I love both, and what I find particularly insightful is how so many people describe both games as "boring" . . . by which they mean, "there's not much scoring."

But, Peter, you mean "feats" and not "fetes" (unless you really did mean parties . . . involving people? lol)

Posted by: js84 | June 27, 2009 1:53 PM

Of course The United States will not fall to soccer's global regime. Soccer will become more popular as more immigrants come here from countries such as Mexico and the Dominican Republic. The U.S. Rugby is not a true game, as it is simply a refined game of the childhood favorite, streetball. It has no plays, just a simple strategy. The same goes with soccer, except you just use your feet and you get penalized for hits. Football is an American favorite and it will not topple to the global game. Football is only played in 2 countries, while soccer is played on every continent, give or take Antarctica.

Posted by: xRIEKOx | June 27, 2009 1:54 PM

Wow, Peter nice job, good question, you are such a rugged individual I just want to catch you and love you up. Do you also feel that Islam is un-American? Why on earth would you pose such a moronic question. I say stop this idiots' column now so we don't glorify his foolishness any longer. Be a responsible paper and take a stand on something.

Posted by: billg58 | June 27, 2009 2:27 PM

Wow, Peter nice job, good question, you are such a rugged individual I just want to catch you and love you up. Do you also feel that Islam is un-American? Why on earth would you pose such a moronic question. I say stop this idiots' column now so we don't glorify his foolishness any longer. Be a responsible paper and take a stand on something.

Posted by: billg58 | June 27, 2009 2:28 PM

To call football play slow and deliberate shows a fundamental lack of understanding of the game. If it's pace and brutal physicality you want, watch clubs in the English Premier League. And to suggest that the game lacks individual flare. Overall the writer seems to be channeling Dick Cheney or any stodgy ol'stuck-in-his-ways grand dad who couldn't bother with anything other than what they already know.
It's also interesting to consider how healthy the respective sports are to the players. How many NFL player die overweight or live with significant injuries after a career of, what, 10 - 15 years? One of the greatest defenders ever, Italian Paolo Maldini finally retired from his club AC Milan at 40. Trust me, that dude is in good shape and could pull chicks half his age easily for the next 10 years.

Posted by: SexyFitsum | June 27, 2009 2:38 PM

Advertisers prefer to interrupt the flow of the game 20-30 times during 3.5 hours to destroy the momentum of the game and infuriate the fans. They fail to see the logic and beauty of having their logo super-imposed on a corner of the TV screen, like Mastercard and Snickers during the 1994 World Cup. Wow, 15 years ago, and I can still remember the sponsors.
Soccer for WASP kids means dribling cones, running laps around the field, hearing innovative commands from their coach like, "Where's my offense?", and hoping that the snack parent brought something besides Doritos and a 2 oz. Gatorade.
Soccer for immigrant kids and kids around the world could mean pacing next to a little transistor radio, hoping Baggio will make or miss his penalty kick. It might mean using a hollow coconut and 4 sticks on a side street with raw sewage running down one sideline. Ask Ronaldo and Romario if they can identify with the cones or the sticks.
The NFL started in 1922. U.S. placed third in the 1930 World Cup, ahead of France and Brazil. A bad call in 2002 possibly kept the U.S. from the semi-final (German hand ball). In 1994, they played Brazil as equals and could have won. Recent history has been better, but the 40 year gap between the 1950 World Cup and the 1990 World Cup kept soccer from becoming part of the national scene. The Cosmos had too many guys from everywhere else. The stars weren't from Peoria. They were from Santos, Munich, etc.

Posted by: EliPeyton | June 27, 2009 3:06 PM

Advertisers prefer to interrupt the flow of the game 20-30 times during 3.5 hours to destroy the momentum of the game and infuriate the fans. They fail to see the logic and beauty of having their logo super-imposed on a corner of the TV screen, like Mastercard and Snickers during the 1994 World Cup. Wow, 15 years ago, and I can still remember the sponsors.
Soccer for WASP kids means dribling cones, running laps around the field, hearing innovative commands from their coach like, "Where's my offense?", and hoping that the snack parent brought something besides Doritos and a 2 oz. Gatorade.
Soccer for immigrant kids and kids around the world could mean pacing next to a little transistor radio, hoping Baggio will make or miss his penalty kick. It might mean using a hollow coconut and 4 sticks on a side street with raw sewage running down one sideline. Ask Ronaldo and Romario if they can identify with the cones or the sticks.
The NFL started in 1922. U.S. placed third in the 1930 World Cup, ahead of France and Brazil. A bad call in 2002 possibly kept the U.S. from the semi-final (German hand ball). In 1994, they played Brazil as equals and could have won. Recent history has been better, but the 40 year gap between the 1950 World Cup and the 1990 World Cup kept soccer from becoming part of the national scene. The Cosmos had too many guys from everywhere else. The stars weren't from Peoria. They were from Santos, Munich, etc.

Posted by: EliPeyton | June 27, 2009 3:06 PM

In my opinion, soccer is not more popular in the US for economic reasons. Basically, it is not as profitable as baseball, football, basketball and hockey if you show it on TV. On all the above-mentioned sports, you can take commercial breaks very often, and the games last quite a bit of time. With soccer, you get two hours of broadcasting, and perhaps 15 minutes of commercials. Not a good deal for broadcasters, who therefore either do not broadcast soccer, or pay less for it, giving less money to the professional sport, which limits promotion, advertisement, etc. It's all economics!

Posted by: JPHT | June 27, 2009 3:31 PM

In my opinion, soccer is not more popular in the US for economic reasons. Basically, it is not as profitable as baseball, football, basketball and hockey if you show it on TV. On all the above-mentioned sports, you can take commercial breaks very often, and the games last quite a bit of time. With soccer, you get two hours of broadcasting, and perhaps 15 minutes of commercials. Not a good deal for broadcasters, who therefore either do not broadcast soccer, or pay less for it, giving less money to the professional sport, which limits promotion, advertisement, etc. It's all economics!

Posted by: JPHT | June 27, 2009 3:32 PM

In my opinion, soccer is not more popular in the US for economic reasons. Basically, it is not as profitable as baseball, football, basketball and hockey if you show it on TV. On all the above-mentioned sports, you can take commercial breaks very often, and the games last quite a bit of time. With soccer, you get two hours of broadcasting, and perhaps 15 minutes of commercials. Not a good deal for broadcasters, who therefore either do not broadcast soccer, or pay less for it, giving less money to the professional sport, which limits promotion, advertisement, etc. It's all economics!

Posted by: JPHT | June 27, 2009 3:33 PM

What an astonishingly stupid "commentary."
If anything, soccer most closely reflects the dictum "All men are created equal."

Others have mentioned the misspellings and bad writing. Let me just highlight the phrase "incredible fetes of human proportion." Huh?

Wait a sec. I get it. He's talking about the Super Bowl parties!

Posted by: steve20912 | June 27, 2009 3:50 PM

What an astonishingly stupid "commentary."
If anything, soccer embodies the dictum "All men are created equal."

Others have mentioned the misspellings and bad writing. Let me just highlight the phrase "incredible fetes of human proportion." Huh?

Oh, wait a sec. I get it. He's talking about the Super Bowl parties!

Posted by: steve20912 | June 27, 2009 3:51 PM

sorry to post multiple times, but the web site kept telling me it wasn't working

Posted by: steve20912 | June 27, 2009 3:52 PM

Two is/are better than one, I believe since we can have choices and we can also have both.
We still have room for two on this "side walk", are we not? -- to quote Mr. Gandhi

Posted by: kham1234 | June 27, 2009 4:07 PM

If you truly loved "scoring, blood, aggression, incredible fetes of human proportion and most of all shear contact" then, as had been said you would play rugby. Which is like what American Football would be without
a) all that pansy padding
b) intermiable breaks for recuperation
c) seventy three players in case some get tired
d) forty four officials.

God help you if the All Blacks ever took on the NFL ......theyd chew your bones and feast on the marrow. Hell, the Welsh would...

Posted by: blucey | June 27, 2009 4:18 PM

If you truly loved "scoring, blood, aggression, incredible fetes of human proportion and most of all shear contact" then, as had been said you would play rugby. Which is like what American Football would be without
a) all that pansy padding
b) intermiable breaks for recuperation
c) seventy three players in case some get tired
d) forty four officials.

God help you if the All Blacks ever took on the NFL ......theyd chew your bones and feast on the marrow. Hell, the Welsh would...

Posted by: blucey | June 27, 2009 4:20 PM

His argument is horrible. How would he explain baseball? AKA America's first favorite sport that does not include the aggression of football, in which he suggests all Americans lust for. It's a lost cause in attempting to explain the psycho-social American attitudes towards sports in less than two pages. Not to mention, football is a team sport, so where's the inherent American individualism?

Posted by: fthomasclem | June 27, 2009 4:45 PM

I agree with a lot of the comments.

First of all, though. No one cares about the Confederation Cup. It's there to practice getting people into and out of the stadium before next summer's World Cup.

Second, and having said that, as Americans, we really are becoming more diverse. And, we're becoming more connected to the rest of the world. It's exciting.

The NFL is still king, but if you set up false choices like this (as if you can't love both sports), you're just going to get left behind.


The NFL is still king, but there's no reason to set up some dichotomous choice. You CAN love both.

The Confed

Posted by: PMartini | June 27, 2009 5:38 PM

This is a stupid premise to begin with. What is it with Football fans, always worried and concerned about when soccer will "make it", only then to be followed up with the well worn "it's UnAmerican" perspective?

Sorry football guys, soccer has made it. It's here, not going anywhere and all the "americans don't get soccer" nonsense won't change that. Plenty of americans do get soccer (just not the ones you surround yourself with), show up every week at MLS matches and tune in to all the various leagues shown on tv these days.

I love soccer, and couldn't care less if the MLS never reaches the level of popularity of the NFL. In fact, I hope it doesn't. The 20k to 30k seat stadiums are a perfect fit for soccer and the intimate nature of the game. Soccer will never be the #1 sport in the US, or the 2nd or 3rd for that matter, but it is already the 4th in many markets that have both and MLS and NHL franchise.

There is plenty of room as the american sporting table for soccer. What are the Football people so scared of? For supposedly being the "tough guy" sport, the fans sure seem to be an insecure bunch of crybabies. Didn't your mama teach you to share?

Posted by: sec204 | June 27, 2009 6:06 PM

This is a stupid premise to begin with. What is it with Football fans, always worried and concerned about when soccer will "make it", only then to be followed up with the well worn "it's UnAmerican" perspective?

Sorry football guys, soccer has made it. It's here, not going anywhere and all the "americans don't get soccer" nonsense won't change that. Plenty of americans do get soccer (just not the ones you surround yourself with), show up every week at MLS matches and tune in to all the various leagues shown on tv these days.

I love soccer, and couldn't care less if the MLS never reaches the level of popularity of the NFL. In fact, I hope it doesn't. The 20k to 30k seat stadiums are a perfect fit for soccer and the intimate nature of the game. Soccer will never be the #1 sport in the US, or the 2nd or 3rd for that matter, but it is already the 4th in many markets that have both and MLS and NHL franchise.

There is plenty of room as the american sporting table for soccer. What are the Football people so scared of? For supposedly being the "tough guy" sport, the fans sure seem to be an insecure bunch of crybabies. Didn't your mama teach you to share?

Posted by: sec204 | June 27, 2009 6:07 PM

This is a stupid premise to begin with. What is it with Football fans, always worried and concerned about when soccer will "make it", only then to be followed up with the well worn "it's UnAmerican" perspective?

Sorry football guys, soccer has made it. It's here, not going anywhere and all the "americans don't get soccer" nonsense won't change that. Plenty of americans do get soccer (just not the ones you surround yourself with), show up every week at MLS matches and tune in to all the various leagues shown on tv these days.

I love soccer, and couldn't care less if the MLS never reaches the level of popularity of the NFL. In fact, I hope it doesn't. The 20k to 30k seat stadiums are a perfect fit for soccer and the intimate nature of the game. Soccer will never be the #1 sport in the US, or the 2nd or 3rd for that matter, but it is already the 4th in many markets that have both and MLS and NHL franchise.

There is plenty of room as the american sporting table for soccer. What are the Football people so scared of? For supposedly being the "tough guy" sport, the fans sure seem to be an insecure bunch of crybabies. Didn't your mama teach you to share?

Posted by: sec204 | June 27, 2009 6:09 PM

This is a stupid premise to begin with. What is it with Football fans, always worried and concerned about when soccer will "make it", only then to be followed up with the well worn "it's UnAmerican" perspective?

Sorry football guys, soccer has made it. It's here, not going anywhere and all the "americans don't get soccer" nonsense won't change that. Plenty of americans do get soccer (just not the ones you surround yourself with), show up every week at MLS matches and tune in to all the various leagues shown on tv these days.

I love soccer, and couldn't care less if the MLS never reaches the level of popularity of the NFL. In fact, I hope it doesn't. The 20k to 30k seat stadiums are a perfect fit for soccer and the intimate nature of the game. Soccer will never be the #1 sport in the US, or the 2nd or 3rd for that matter, but it is already the 4th in many markets that have both and MLS and NHL franchise.

There is plenty of room as the american sporting table for soccer. What are the Football people so scared of? For supposedly being the "tough guy" sport, the fans sure seem to be an insecure bunch of crybabies. Didn't your mama teach you to share?

Posted by: sec204 | June 27, 2009 6:13 PM

"Americans are rugged individualists. They see themselves as adventurous spirits -- people who voluntarily jumped into boats and ran from their motherlands searching for new lives, opportunity and freedom."

This statement is so risibly narrow-minded and ethnocentric as to render Mr. Schaffer's contingent discourse entirely null and void.

Uh, that would be white, Anglo-Saxon, protestant Americans you're talking about Mr. Schaffer. Who, if you care to check your demographics, are in a rapidly dwindling minority.

Certainly the African-American community doesn't see itself in the terms you describe. Nor, I suspect, does the increasingly large and diverse Hispanic community, a large part of which is crazy about football (the game you call soccer).

As for Asians and other ethnic groups, I don't see them getting so excited about American football. But I do so them increasingly interested in the rise of soccer.

American football looks pretty healthy right now. But don't get complacent: baseball is dying on its feet as we watch, and in a couple of decades will be largely irrelevant to the greater U.S.

Posted by: alexandersharkey | June 27, 2009 6:46 PM

"Americans are rugged individualists. They see themselves as adventurous spirits -- people who voluntarily jumped into boats and ran from their motherlands searching for new lives, opportunity and freedom."

This statement is so risibly narrow-minded and ethnocentric as to render Mr. Schaffer's contingent discourse entirely null and void.

Uh, that would be white, Anglo-Saxon, protestant Americans you're talking about Mr. Schaffer. Who, if you care to check your demographics, are in a rapidly dwindling minority.

Certainly the African-American community doesn't see itself in the terms you describe. Nor, I suspect, does the increasingly large and diverse Hispanic community, a large part of which is crazy about football (the game you call soccer).

As for Asians and other ethnic groups, I don't see them getting so excited about American football. But I do so them increasingly interested in the rise of soccer.

American football looks pretty healthy right now. But don't get complacent: baseball is dying on its feet as we watch, and in a couple of decades will be largely irrelevant to the greater U.S.

Posted by: alexandersharkey | June 27, 2009 6:46 PM

Football is so American in another way: it seems a game designed by and for lawyers -- endless disputes that halt play. Now coaches can throw down the red flag, forcing the officials peer into their video monitors to find out what happened and what they missed. Of course, the advertisers love this: every break gives them the chance to sell us something else we probably don't need -- what could be more American?

Posted by: pondcove | June 27, 2009 8:18 PM

Football is so American in another way: it seems a game designed by and for lawyers -- endless disputes that halt play. Now coaches can throw down the red flag, forcing the officials peer into their video monitors to find out what happened and what they missed. Of course, the advertisers love this: every break gives them the chance to sell us something else we probably don't need -- what could be more American?

Posted by: pondcove | June 27, 2009 8:19 PM

Football is so American in another way: it seems a game designed by and for lawyers, with endless disputes that halt play. Now coaches can throw down the red flag, forcing the officials peer into their video monitors to find out what happened and what they missed. Of course, the advertisers love this: every break gives them the chance to sell us something else we probably don't need: what could be more American?

Posted by: pondcove | June 27, 2009 8:21 PM

Football is so American in another way: it seems a game designed by and for lawyers, with endless disputes that halt play. Now coaches can throw down the red flag, forcing the officials peer into their video monitors to find out what happened and what they missed. Of course, the advertisers love this: every break gives them the chance to sell us something else we probably don't need: what could be more American?

Posted by: pondcove | June 27, 2009 8:21 PM

Football is so American in another way: it seems a game designed by and for lawyers, with endless disputes that halt play. Now coaches can throw down the red flag, forcing the officials peer into their video monitors to find out what happened and what they missed. Of course, the advertisers love this: every break gives them the chance to sell us something else we probably don't need: what could be more American?

Posted by: pondcove | June 27, 2009 8:22 PM

This article is rubbish. American football is the sport where you have short bursts of action and long periods of nothing. The reason the NFl is popular is because of the betting not the whole frontier mentality crock this person is writing about. What about baseball and basketball, they have zero aggression and no contact. Any slight contact in basketball is a foul. You come across like a clown Mr.schaeffer.

Posted by: vjohn72 | June 27, 2009 9:03 PM

This article is rubbish. American football is the sport where you have short bursts of action and long periods of nothing. The reason the NFl is popular is because of the betting not the whole frontier mentality crock this person is writing about. What about baseball and basketball, they have zero aggression and no contact. Any slight contact in basketball is a foul. You come across like a clown Mr.schaeffer.

Posted by: vjohn72 | June 27, 2009 9:03 PM

Peter, You need to get a new life. The world has passed you by. Soccer is a great sport and it will take it's place in America as it should.
You, like a shrinking pool Americana, are in denial.

Posted by: bovid4585 | June 27, 2009 9:37 PM

This has to be the dumbest view I've ever read....
"Americans love scoring, blood, aggression, incredible fetes of human proportion and most of all shear contact"

If that was true, Americans would be flocking to Rugby Football in droves; which has tons more scoring, blood, aggression and contact - and constant action, than American Football will ever have.

Also, Hockey would be well above American Football by these same standards, Basketball, the real #1 sport, wouldn't be close and Baseball would be a 3rd tier sport.

You have to wonder if people like Peter really understand or are writing in fear that their future clients' sport might be moving down the ladder over time.

Posted by: MadiganT | June 27, 2009 10:40 PM

As much as I love this country, I have to admit I root for other teams playing against the US in true football. I hear a lot of this kind of nonsense out there. Until most of us respect this game enough, we do not deserve to win one game. I wonder if handball (called football here) will ever make it beyond our walls. Don't forget. They already have rugby.

Posted by: Nobrun | June 27, 2009 11:01 PM

Dear Webmaster, please correct the double-post problem. An error message appears after clicking on the "submit" button.
Brazil wins tomorrow 2-0. L. Fabiano at 23 minutes, with Kaka scoring at 70 minutes. Robinho and Altidore will be sent off.

Posted by: EliPeyton | June 28, 2009 1:15 AM

A column that reeks of ignorance and narrow-mindedness. I enjoy both football, and the NFL variety, too. It is the nationalistic idiocy that baffles me. I suppose that I must consider the source.

Posted by: AMviennaVA | June 28, 2009 3:47 PM

A column that reeks of ignorance and narrow-mindedness. I enjoy both football, and the NFL variety, too. It is the nationalistic idiocy that baffles me. I suppose that I must consider the source.

BTW, at the 60th minutes, we are beating Brazil, 2-1!

Posted by: AMviennaVA | June 28, 2009 3:49 PM

A column that reeks of ignorance and narrow-mindedness. I enjoy both football, and the NFL variety, too. It is the nationalistic idiocy that baffles me. I suppose that I must consider the source.

BTW, at the 60th minute, we are beating Brazil, 2-1!

Posted by: AMviennaVA | June 28, 2009 3:49 PM

A column that reeks of ignorance and narrow-mindedness. I enjoy both football, and the NFL variety, too. It is the nationalistic idiocy that baffles me. I suppose that I must consider the source.

BTW, at the 60th minute, we are beating Brazil, 2-1!

Posted by: AMviennaVA | June 28, 2009 3:50 PM

A column that reeks of ignorance and narrow-mindedness. I enjoy both football, and the NFL variety, too. It is the nationalistic idiocy that baffles me. I suppose that I must consider the source.

PS: I know that in the WW2 movies, the US was presented as a homogeneous country, with every bit of variety subordinated to the WASP culture. We have moved beynod that, especially because even then the US was not as prtrayed in the movies.

BTW, at the 68th minute, we are beating Brazil, 2-1!

Posted by: AMviennaVA | June 28, 2009 3:57 PM

It's not that soccer is "UnAmerican." Rather, it is that you my friend are a prick. How can a sport be unAmerican? A better question is how can this country be so full of narrow-minded dimwits like yourself?

Posted by: news_fanatic | June 28, 2009 7:16 PM

It's not that soccer is "UnAmerican." Rather, it is that you my friend are a prick. How can a sport be unAmerican? A better question is how can this country be so full of narrow-minded dimwits like yourself?

Posted by: news_fanatic | June 28, 2009 7:20 PM

It's not that soccer is "UnAmerican." Rather, it is that you my friend are a prick. How can a sport be unAmerican? A better question is how can this country be so full of narrow-minded dimwits like yourself?

Posted by: news_fanatic | June 28, 2009 7:21 PM

It's not that soccer is "UnAmerican." Rather, it is that you my friend are a prick. How can a sport be unAmerican? A better question is how can this country be so full of narrow-minded dimwits like yourself?

Posted by: news_fanatic | June 28, 2009 7:22 PM

It's not that soccer is "UnAmerican." Rather, it is that you my friend are a prick. How can a sport be unAmerican? A better question is how can this country be so full of narrow-minded dimwits like yourself?

Posted by: news_fanatic | June 28, 2009 7:22 PM

It's not that soccer is "UnAmerican." Rather, it is that you my friend are a prick. How can a sport be unAmerican? A better question is how can this country be so full of narrow-minded dimwits like yourself?

Posted by: news_fanatic | June 28, 2009 7:23 PM

It's not that soccer is "UnAmerican." Rather, it is that you my friend are a prick. How can a sport be unAmerican? A better question is how can this country be so full of narrow-minded dimwits like yourself?

Posted by: news_fanatic | June 28, 2009 7:24 PM

Yawn.

Douchebag troll writes column to incite American soccer fans and drive up page hits.

This was old in, like, 1998.

Posted by: antontuffnell | June 28, 2009 8:06 PM

Soccer has been portrayed, in the past, as an effeminate sport...unfairly, of course. It's obvious to me that Mr(s). Schaffer isn't secure in his sexual orientation and therefore continues to trot out these tired, old arguments. Come out of the closet already instead of pretending to be a man by writing this tired drivel you call a column.

Posted by: bycracky | June 28, 2009 9:04 PM

Why don't most Americans like soccer?

First, any sport where only one player can use his hands is just too weird for words.

Second, there are so many scoreless ties it would be like watching baseball if 20% of the games were shutouts. Once in a while it can be exciting, but on an everyday basis it gets old real fast.

And third, the overtime tiebreaker rule is almost as dumb as college football's. It goes completely counter to everything that went before it---it reduces a TEAM game to a contrived "shootout" between two individuals.

But there doesn't seem to be any way around it, because if you simply used the NFL sudden death rule (which is the best for U.S. football) you'd have games that might last for more than 24 hours!

Posted by: andym108 | June 29, 2009 7:03 AM

Why don't most Americans like soccer?

First, any sport where only one player can use his hands is just too weird for words.

Second, there are so many scoreless ties it would be like watching baseball if 20% of the games were shutouts. Once in a while it can be exciting, but on an everyday basis it gets old real fast.

And third, the overtime tiebreaker rule is almost as dumb as college football's. It goes completely counter to everything that went before it---it reduces a TEAM game to a contrived "shootout" between two individuals.

But there doesn't seem to be any way around it, because if you simply used the NFL sudden death rule (which is the best for U.S. football) you'd have games that might last for more than 24 hours!

Posted by: andym108 | June 29, 2009 7:04 AM

Why don't most Americans like soccer?

First, any sport where only one player can use his hands is just too weird for words.

Second, there are so many scoreless ties it would be like watching baseball if 20% of the games were shutouts. Once in a while it can be exciting, but on an everyday basis it gets old real fast.

And third, the overtime tiebreaker rule is almost as dumb as college football's. It goes completely counter to everything that went before it---it reduces a TEAM game to a contrived "shootout" between two individuals.

But there doesn't seem to be any way around it, because if you simply used the NFL sudden death rule (which is the best for U.S. football) you'd have games that might last for more than 24 hours!

Posted by: andym108 | June 29, 2009 7:06 AM

I agree -- this is, by leaps and bounds, the dumbest and most ignorant column I have ever read in the Washington Post. This kind of ignorance about the game of soccer (what the rest of the world calls "football") is what makes people around the world view Americans as self-centered, ignorant jerks.

Posted by: ddeitch3 | June 29, 2009 7:49 AM

While I see no point in questioning anyone's Americanism, I can see a lot of reasons why football is superior to soccer in the minds of many. First and foremost, it is further in the evolutionary process. People mentioned rugby for example. Clearly football came from it just as baseball came from cricket and rounders. Just as they have evolved over a long period, there has been evolution in my lifetime. They went from the one-platoon (sometimes still observed in smaller high schools) to the current two-platoon system which allows the development of specialized individuals who develop an particular skill to its highest peak. Much like an orchestra has a person who is outstanding on a violin, another on the bass, etc. Yet when they come together just right, you have the experience of seeing them jell to a beautiful whole. Football is like that. If each individual does his job just right, then the fan observes a beautiful play. Of course, unlike the orchestra, it is even more complicated in that the other team is trying to thwart that. They too are made up of specialists. Soccer, like baseball, does not allow re-entry after a person leaves the field. Therefore, of necessity, they have to pace themselves and most of the time, there is no action on the part of a particular player (as is the case of football players during a huddle). Contrast that to hockey where they not only can re-enter players, but can do it on the fly while the game is in progress. To me, that makes hockey much more interesting than soccer although they are both games in which a team tries to put something in a goal (the boards also keep the puck in play not the constant out of play in soccer -- especially at a lower level). The hockey player might only be out there for a 40 second shift, but he is expected to go full speed for that time.

Football has another aspect that appeals to the fan. During the huddle, those watching the game have a chance to match wits with the coaches. Determine what you would call and what defense you would use and see what happens. It is even more fun to do this with a friend. This can be done to a lesser extent in baseball, but I believe football excels in this.

Finally, I believe one of the things that makes soccer suspect is the way they handle the time. Instead of a clock that everyone can see, the officials are keeping the time and can arbitrarily add to it. I always suspect that they do something like the 1972 Olympic basketball final where they keep adding time until they get the desired outcome.

It is a free country where people can play any game they like. People have come from many lands with different traditions (by the way, Gaelic football is a much more interesting game than soccer if anyone lives near an Irish community). But I think I can see why football is more appealing to the citizens of the U.S. (and most of the rest of the world -- when they are exposed to it, they seem to draw big crowds)

Posted by: TomfromNJ1 | June 29, 2009 9:46 AM

I think this guy listened to Jim Rome's lame rant on ESPN this weekend and thought how cool he would be to do the same. I saw Barcelona play Club America from Mexico a few years ago to a sold out stadium in Houston. The world cup in 1994 was the largest ticket sales event in world cup history. And by the way, getting your ankles kicked and your foot stomped on does hurt. Ever see a lineman get roll blocked in the knee? They need a little help getting off the field. And two minutes of action with nothing in between? Soccer is all action. Football is 7 seconds of action with a minute of rest in between, plus time-outs and do-overs.

P.S. American sports are UnAmerican. When you fail miserably you get a top draft pick. In Soccer, if you fail miserably you get relegated to a lower division where you have to earn your way to the top. Why can't a AAA team earn their way into the majors while a loser gets knocked down to AAA? It's a socialist system.

Posted by: dynamo2000 | June 29, 2009 10:49 AM

I think this guy listened to Jim Rome's lame rant on ESPN this weekend and thought how cool he would be to do the same. I saw Barcelona play Club America from Mexico a few years ago to a sold out stadium in Houston. The world cup in 1994 was the largest ticket sales event in world cup history. And by the way, getting your ankles kicked and your foot stomped on does hurt. Ever see a lineman get roll blocked in the knee? They need a little help getting off the field. And two minutes of action with nothing in between? Soccer is all action. Football is 7 seconds of action with a minute of rest in between, plus time-outs and do-overs.

P.S. American sports are UnAmerican. When you fail miserably you get a top draft pick. In Soccer, if you fail miserably you get relegated to a lower division where you have to earn your way to the top. Why can't a AAA team earn their way into the majors while a loser gets knocked down to AAA? It's a socialist system.

Posted by: dynamo2000 | June 29, 2009 10:50 AM

To dynamo2000

I think what you call "socialism" is the key to the success of the NFL and has something to do with why football replaced baseball as the #1 sport in the U.S. The smartest thing that the NFL ever did was to share the TV revenues equally. That made for parity (most teams have the draft in some form). Can you imagine a town the size of Green Bay competing against the Yankee franchise the way baseball works? Basically in baseball, there are towns that do not have a reasonable chance of winning their division because of the great disparity.

Consider a small town like Pittsburgh and how successful the Steelers are compared to the Pirates. I think Rozell realized early on that a league is not just a group of competitors -- they also have to cooperate for the success of all. If they worked like other businesses and the best team tried to force the competitors out of business so they had it all to themselves, they would put themselves out of business because they would have nobody to play.

In fact, there is nothing un-American about "socialism." The Constitution says nothing about economic systems -- it is just a convenient rallying cry for the right wing against everything from Social Security to Medicare and now single-payer health care. What makes something American is that the people vote it in. The NFL owners did and have done well. Where they have had problems (started by Dallas) was NOT doing it for private boxes and the like.

Comparing these systems to sports reminds me of a famous funny line in the movie Bull Durham about how strikeouts are Fascist and ground balls are democratic.

Posted by: TomfromNJ1 | June 29, 2009 11:38 AM

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