American football or as I like to call it the American version of rugby. The differences between the two are little but what rugby is lacking in glamour and worldwide popularity, American football has bucket loads. With Sunday’s game between the St Louis Rams and the New England Patriots, the NFL in particular is expanding its horizons and in this case I will look at its expansion into the U.K.
The touchdowns, first downs, cheerleaders, colourful helmets and chunky players. It is difficult to sum up American football in one sentence but I tried my best. American football is arguably the biggest sport in the U.S. NFL and college football is so big in the States it reaches over to more than 500 million homes. The quality and commitment from the ins and outs of the NFL have made it the phenomenon it is today. With the Superbowl being televised worldwide, most people know about it, even those with no interest in the sport. It has now descended into the U.K and its effect has been phenomenal.
The game has grown in the U.K over the years, 70 amateur teams play in the BAFA Community Leagues (BAFACL) across a number of age ranges. The senior (adult) league has three levels: the Premiership, comprising six teams; Division 1, comprising 18 teams split across three regional conferences; and Division 2, comprising 23 teams split across four regional conferences. While the lower level teams have their own championship games during BritBowl Weekend, only Premier Division teams face each other in the BritBowl which is held, this year in Worcester’s Sixways Stadium. The popularity of the NFL is being grown at the grassroots level and expect it to just get bigger and bigger.
…the transition from rugby to American football fairly simple…
Rugby and American football are both very similar and very different. The two sports are similar in the shape of the ball, different in the bodywear, similar in scoring and different in the flow of the game. So what is it that makes NFL stand out from rugby? The NFL is a spectator sport. It is more exciting, more ravelling and overall there is simply more to it than rugby. Rugby fans will find the transition from rugby to American football fairly simple and once they get a taste of NFL football they will keep coming back for more and more, I guarantee it.
The appreciation for the NFL and American football has grown tremendously over the years. The sport is being developed at the grassroots level. Fans love the sport, advertising has increased, demand for televised matches is through the roof and it’s a sport which is, in my eyes the fastest growing sport in terms of popularity, in the entire world.