American football is the most popular sport in the United States, attracting millions of viewers on TV screens. One poll showed that American football has been the favorite sport of US residents since 1972 when it first surpassed baseball.
TV ratings for NFL matches are higher than those of other North American sports leagues. On the day of the Super Bowl, the decisive match of the season in the NFL, a total of 100 million people in the United States watched the game. Imagine; how many of them would have bet on the NFL at bookmakers.
Interestingly, an average American spends about 10 minutes a day discussing yesterday’s game with colleagues at work. It is not surprising that American football is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as a sport with the most extensive rules. Therefore, we will only discuss the main points without going into details that experts have been studying for years.
The main task of the game is to score more points than the opponent, bringing the ball into the opponent’s end zone or hammering it into the goal from the field. Also, in the game, there are NFL lines, the so-called sectors of defense and attack. The attack, as a rule, consists of several separate stages associated with the advancement to the opponent’s scoring zone. Moving the ball forward ten yards (there are markings on the playing field to determine this) allows you to get additional attempts for a new attack. The defense team seeks to prevent attacking players from gaining points by holding back attacks, preventing passes, and tackling the ball. The game consists of several segments, so an hour of pure playing time can take three times as long with all stops. At the same time, during the stops, the coaches of the teams have the right to make an unlimited number of substitutions. Therefore the optimal composition is selected for each game episode that makes it possible to vary tactics, both in defense and in the attack.
The toughness of American football is one of the reasons for its popularity
Toughness has been a hallmark of American football ever since it developed into a sport in its own right, with different rules from “gentlemanly” British rugby. In 1905, journalists counted eighteen fatalities and 159 serious injuries in the football season of varsity teams, forcing the organizers of the games to rethink the rules. At the same time, the technology of protecting football players from injury developed. At the beginning of the 20th century, leather helmets were already in use. In the 1940s, head protection became mandatory, and in the middle of the century, professional players began to use plastic helmets. Together with other equipment – knee pads, shoulder, neck, and hip protectors – the helmet has shaped the modern look of an American football player.
In the subsequent period, several universities, each of which played football matches in its own way, tried to harmonize the rules. If baseball was competing with cricket, then football was going on a similar confrontation with rugby, and at first, the students were mainly guided by the English “original”. In 1876, the College Football Association was formed, which initially included Harvard, Columbia, and Princeton Universities, and a little later – Yale.
High Scoring Sports
In particular, Americans and others are also attracted to the sport of high scores. In soccer, for example, the score is often one-zero or even zero-zero – and this is for ninety minutes of continuous “viewing”. And in other types of games: basketball, baseball and American football in particular – teams gain 80, 90 or even 100 points per match. This once again underlines the non-popularity of soccer in America and the noticeable popularity of American football.
American football is very dynamic. You cannot leave the screen for a drink, because in just a few seconds the game can turn in the other direction. And 60 seconds is an incredibly long time for an attacking team. Think basketball is the longest last minute? You are greatly mistaken. Here you cannot overpass in your own half of the field, keeping a comfortable score. You either attack or defend – and in both cases you can either score points or give them to your opponent to score. Yes, indeed, formally, the rally lasts less than ten seconds, and the pause between them can be up to forty. However, there is only one reason for this: you need a rest because the players throw out their maximum in just a few seconds.