OK, the game commonly known as the American Football is not played by a ball that is exactly one foot long, but 1 inches shorter. The question is though, why is it the most popular sport in America, but not widely accepted in other countries compared to say, soccer?
|The Football-ball with length 11 inches|
I will admit that it is quite hard to fall in love with this game at first. How can it be interesting when the game is a constant stop-start and spread out in a four hour show? In other words, you get to watch only 60 minutes of sports action, and the other 180 minutes are just waiting for the next play, injuries, time-outs, etc. Furthermore, when you use your hands, the array of skill and technique becomes limited to just a throw, catch, and carry. Compare this to soccer where you mainly use your feet, chest and head, the game becomes more open and fast paced. The skill required is endless, for example ball dribbling, step-overs, nutmegs, short and long passes, close-control, first-touch, etc. It's the reason why soccer is the World's most popular sport. But not in America.
Last year's Super Bowl, the final game of the Football Season between New Orleans Saints and the Indianapolis Colts had about 106.5 million viewers, making it the most-watched program in American television history. This is by far more than any of the popular television series such as the Vampire Diaries, House, or the CSI. Basically, everybody tunes to Football - men, women, young and old, except of course, babies.
|Super Bowl XLIV 2010 - watched by nearly half of the population|
What makes the game so interesting in America? Perhaps you have to live there to appreciate the sport. For the game itself, it is more like chess where teams make one play, rather than a continuous flow. This play-by-play strategy is in fact what makes it unique. Teams could either pass or run with many permutations and formations - It keeps people guessing and wanting more.
|Pitsburgh Steelers vs. Arizona Cardinals - ready for a "play" at the Scrimmage|
But it seems Football is not just a game of two teams, but more of a celebration. I was in Madison several years back, and I don't think any other events would beat a weekend "game-day." The city was practically a Ghost-town when the Badgers are playing at the 80,000 capacity Camp Randall Stadium. During the game, there are the respective team Mascots running around with a flag in hand, Marching bands with percussion instruments, and cheerleaders jumping and stunting after a touchdown. Not to mention the gestures of fans and players and the deafening atmosphere. It is truly a spectacular scene that makes the game a remarkable spectacle. This itself is probably the reason why the game is of high demand over in the states.
|City of Madison, Wisconsin would be practically empty during "Game-day"|
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