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What 'soccer' can learn from our American friends

With Super Bowl XLVI taking place last Sunday evening in Indianapolis, it was also the time of year where Brits take pot shots at a sport they don’t fully understand.

The reason behind such mocking may well stem from the term ‘football’ and who should truly hold the title, the US or the UK.

In a game where feet are rarely used it seems somewhat unfair that us lot on the east side of the Atlantic get stuck with the term ‘soccer’, whatever that is, but within the land of opportunity may well be reasons to improve our own approach to sport.

While many Brits see America as the venue of too much emotion and drama in their sport, having a deep passion for your career or even your team is no crime, it is even something to be admired.

All of us worship our teams and wait for that Saturday when we can unleash our support on those eleven men tasked with making our weekends worthwhile and our Monday mornings bearable, so why is it deemed strange when Americans do it? This perceived arrogance is only immense pride in performance.

Advancement in technology

Besides the fan element of sports state side, the advancement in technology is something, yet again, that makes our football fall way behind.

Despite many people's objection to American Football being the constant break up in play and turning a sixty minute game into a three hour contest, the amount of incorrect decisions in a game of NFL, Baseball, NHL etc are few and far between.

Given the option, I imagine most football supporters wouldn’t mind staying an extra fifteen minutes after the game as long as their centre-forward is correctly called onside.

In the lead up to Super Bowl week Sky Sports had a number of documentaries focusing on the journey the winners of the Vince Lombardi Trophy took to become champions. As well as highlighting stories of beating the odds, tales of destroying the rest of the field and significant plays devised by legendary coaches, the series also made our footballing heroes look as dull as dishwater.

Speaking to winning quarter backs and others who played vital roles in the season, it becomes apparent very quickly that these players have character and are easily prepared to show their personal side when recalling the glorious campaign.

Unknown quantity

Seeing professionals laughing and joking, as well as being serious, is an unknown quantity in our game where it often takes a Mick McCarthy interview to liven up the post-match formalities. For the American sports fan it isn’t a surprise when they see the jovial side of their superstars.

Many players in the NFL are often mic’d up during games or training for TV programmes so supporters almost feel as if they know their favourite players on a personal level giving them a closer connection, especially when they celebrate a touchdown.

In the Premier League there are countless restrictions from allowing even certain press members get close to players, managers or club officials so, besides match days and at the gates of the training ground, how are supporters supposed to feel a connection to these multi-million pound megastars? It’s an almost impossible task.

Seeing a country that appears to be obsessed with the commercial element of sport, it can often be hard to admit that America has a better grasp of sports production than ourselves but they are, in fact, a great example to follow. Just as long as they drop that soccer line.

By Michael Williams


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