Some people are curious how can one not only like, but even get to know american football, when one lives here in Poland. Here are 8 reasons for this sport, and 2 against as a bonus.
Quick rules & background:
- I have always loved soccer. I still do, but by recent few years it was american football that excited me more
- I will be using terms “soccer” and “american football” to avoid confusion
- As I like watching probably every single sport (chess included!), I will be comparing them when discussing different traits.
Each action takes 5-10 seconds or so, and after that, there is always ~30 second of a break.
One can think that too many breaks feel distracting, not intense, but no worries. As long as the score is tight, every single action is interesting and potentially game-changing. Between breaks, it’s pure action. Once you get comfortable with this interesting rhythm, this just feels energetic.
It’s definitely unlike soccer, where the breaks don’t stop the clock, so you never know if the next 5 minutes is going to be interesting or not. It’s also different from volleyball or tennis, where between breaks each side attacks and defends at the same time. Here one team only attacks, the other one only defends (most of the times) which brings even more intensity to the table.
That’s a very basic and very manly sport at the foundations. Walk to a base holding a token. LOL. The way to achieve it generally reminds a team wrestling (you can play differently, but we’ll get to this).
Tennis, for example, looks funny in comparison. Pushing a ball. C’mon.
Unfortunately, to see this basicness, you probably have to learn a few rules first, which might be a problem. This leads us to…
This has been one heck of a puzzle to solve at the beginning.
The rules are very unobvious if you are, like me, raised on soccer. It’s pretty hard to even grasp as little as is required to comfortably watch roughly know what’s going on on the field. For example, the faults system is crazy.
But when I got there, it was only getting better. After a few games, I felt confident enough to explain something to a newbie, for example, which fault was that and why? (I still don’t know everything)
For better or worse, comprehending this level of complexity makes me feel smart.
Although as I mentioned before, the goal is simple, at the end of the day there are many ways to achieve it. Different traits can decide on success or failure of the action:
- Team play
- Individual skills
Therefore, there’s room for a wide variety of characters – fat liners, fast receivers, smart quarterbacks, fat-bottomed kickers. There’s no sport close to this, I think. Also, this allows for extreme specialization like great quarterback (greatest of all time, am I right?) who can hardly run ten yards.
Compare it to track cycling, where every competitor looks the same.
The idea of “playbooks” is interesting. Every team has its own “book” of how to play an action. There’s less room for improvisation, comparing to other sports.
But! There’s still some room for extremely wild plays. Some being planned from the beginning, but some invoked just from making a right decission. I like that you can gain a lot when you’re just smarter and paying more attention than them big boys.
6. Fun to play yourself
You can throw a football with a friend and have fun. This is great on team retreats. You won’t do that with tennis, hockey. Even soccer is arguably worse in this use case.
7. Wrocław being a powerhouse
Go check out Panthers Wrocław.
It’s not only the top in Poland, but also top 10 in whole Europe, plus taking care of young local players, which I like the most.
8. Our stadium
Supposedly the most modern football-dedicated stadium in Europe.
The atmosphere is as cool, tasty food from food trucks, the commentary is fun.
Just a nice place to spend an afternoon in.
Bonus – What I dislike
1. Separated offense and defense
(and special formations)
As a player, you’re involved in less than a half of the plays on the field. How is it still the same team?
I can see the reasoning behind it, for instance, this leads to even more specialization among players, but all in all, I dislike this idea.
2. No youth academies
…in NFL. Instead, there’s the idea of drafting players from colleges and outside the US.
I like the approach when you raise your future players in your youth academies. I’ve always admired the most soccer players who were raised by an average club they eventually break success with. I’m a romantic fan, so to speak.
Again, I can see why professional NFL clubs want to stay away from it (one could mention “single responsibility principle”), but I say nah.
Fortunately, as I mentioned before, Panthers Wrocław is very different from that 🙂