It could be said that American Football is known around the globe because of the glitterati that surrounds the game, as well as the fact that it is the most popular sport in the US. Of course, we have all heard of the NFL. But despite its popularity, the NFL is somewhat catching on the masses around the world in terms of trend and not because of the sport. With that being said, today, I’ll like to share several reasons why American Football is not a global sport.
These are 13 reasons why American Football is not popular worldwide.
1. The name itself.
The world has “Football” where players actually get to kick the ball on a regular basis. American Football has less to do with kicking the ball, and more to do with throwing it. It has players with over-the-top protective gear and involves running on the field and actually holding the ball. While, the tackling, the pushing, and the shoving are interesting to watch, it really does not seem similar enough or even translate well when it comes down to the word “Football”.
As mentioned earlier, the rest of the world has Football, so if American Football changes the name of the sport for something like “carryball” or “fumbleball”, it would have a more familiar ring with the world’s population.
2. There is less sport (playtime) in American Football.
American Football may quite possibly be the slowest contact sport in the history of humankind. For a length of over 3 hours, the players are in the field playing for a fraction of that time, along with countless intervals in between.
If we had to compare American Football to rugby, rugby is the opposite of American Football, where the full 80 minutes is spent literally for action with only 10 minutes break between each 40 minutes.
3. Lack of diversity among coaches.
If a particular sport wants to make it on a global scale, then its representatives have to show that it welcomes diversity, especially in this day and age. However, over the past years, the NFL has been under extreme scrutiny because of the lack of minority coaches, because why not? As people all over the world have grown more sensitive to the lack of representation of ethnicity, color, and race, this issue has raised major questions.
4. Overcomplicated rules.
American Football is also most definitely not the easiest game to understand. Mind you that this game is simply a derivative of rugby. While a derivative form of something is supposed to be simpler, this is officially not the case when it comes to this particular sport. More rules and plays were added, and sadly, the rest of the world would just stick to watching a game that involves more sport and fewer rules.
5. Due to gear, players are less identifiable.
If you want to market a sport, people would like to see the faces of the players behind the game. The gear that players have to wear can be quite intimidating, and frankly, it is not the most attractive piece of uniform. While in the majority of countries that play rugby, which is also a violent game, players will literally just use a pair of shorts, boots, and a jersey.
6. An excessive amount of players and not much action.
An American Football team usually has an excess of players, which are all divided into units. The units are called Defensive unit, Offensive unit, and Special Team unit; they are sent to the field accordingly depending on the play. However, in some cases, some of the teams will not even touch a blade of the grass in the field just because their’ team was not needed’. So, in a way, all they have to do is stand around and watch the game like the rest of the audience despite the months and years of training.
Well, everybody likes to watch a sport where people actually get on the field to play. The question is, what is even the point of being called a sportsperson in the end?
7. Excessive advertisements.
American Football is perhaps a platform for advertisements and the hype that surrounds it. In my opinion, this is one reason why people around the world might never take American Football seriously as a sport. Often, it will not be a surprise if people actually walk out of the game, talking about the new iPhone’s features rather than the game itself.
8. The socialist agenda of American Football Leagues.
European leagues have no revenue sharing or salary caps, and the richest owners have the full freedom to assemble their own teams. But how can American Football be socialist? This is America, freedom rings in every corner! But no, when it comes to the American Football Leagues, there are salary caps and revenue sharing. Here the winning teams and the losing teams get ‘rewarded’ in the same manner. The annual draft allows the worst teams to pick up the best players, which is quite unfair to those who have worked hard enough for that position. Maybe the NFL should ditch socialism before trying to conquer the world, right?
9. The NFL has yet to include the whole nation.
The NFL has been trying to promote the game on an international scale since the 1980s. But it is true that the NFL does not even have a foothold in every state of the USA, let alone on a global scale. While looking for greener pastures, the association has completely forgotten that its own states must be taken care of before leaving on a quest to foreign lands.
10. People just don’t get it. The game is too ‘American’.
The NFL is something that the rest of the world sees on the TV with highlights on the stars present at the game and the stars performing in the game. In other words, it all seems like show biz and to see people pushing and running into each other with massive gear every 15 minutes is kind of bizarre.
While the association wants to make the game a global phenomenon, it just looks very exclusive to the rest of the world, with American culture splattered all over it. This reason, in fact, makes it an unapproachable idea where the rest of the world says, “Ok, you guys can keep this version of Football all to yourself”.
11. Not economically viable (small fan base).
The NFL attempted to create a league in Europe during the late ’90s and the early ’00s. But, the result is evident today that it completely failed. Although it has a large fan base in Mexico, Canada, Germany, and the UK, the fan base is just not large enough for the world to get involved in it.
The returns would just not be sufficient compared to the costs of building a stadium, endorsing the sport, hiring the players, and the shenanigans that come with the sport. So in a way, a smaller fan base would mean smaller requests and demands compared to the rest of the clueless population of Earth, and it just does not make sense economically and logistically.
12. Sexist views.
Another unique feature of American Football is the presence of cheerleaders. Yes, cheerleading is an actual sport where members don their skills in gymnastics and choreography. Cheerleading takes years of training and discipline, where most of the members start out very young. But some ‘disturbing’ reports over the past few years, about what the NFL cheerleaders have to face, have sparked criticism.
Cheerleaders of the NFL are given rules and regulations once they get hired. And of course, every workplace has its own set of rules, but some go beyond the norm of basic office rules, such as leaving a restaurant when an NFL player enters the restaurant, or not wearing sweatpants in public, or how to even wear a tampon. Cheerleaders are also paid a very meager salary. As such, some of these are ridiculous and have been termed as sexist. In the 21st century, people would obviously boycott a sport that endorses sexist values such as this.
13. American Football can be quite expensive to play.
Compare to other sports, like soccer or basketball, American Football is quite expensive to play. With all the equipment and gear needed plus the coaching and assistant fees, the costs can add pretty quickly.