Grid-Iron’s New Awakening

JONNY SINGER talks to THOMAS PIACHAUD about American football, the Cambridge Pythons and the Union’s Superbowl Party.

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American football is often described in Britain as ‘rugby with pads and ad breaks’. It has simply never been a popular sport in the UK. However, in recent years, the NFL (National Football League) has found its way onto Sky Sports and the BBC and, as a result of this, American football is fast becoming a growing cult sport.

This growth in popularity is even becoming apparent in Cambridge, where it seems that grid-iron is really coming up strongly.

Thomas Piachaud, a PhD student who has resuscitated the dormant Cambridge Pythons, our very own football team, spoke to TabSport about his vision for the new side: “On arriving at Cambridge, I was brimming with confidence that there would be a well-established culture for American football. How wrong I was!”

Piachaud in action

Rather, Piachaud found that our rugby-dominated-university snubs America’s premier sport. But, he was not disheartened, and with a little research, he “set about righting the wrongs … three months down the line Cambridge Pythons were revived!”

If the idea that a game from across the pond is turning into a popular sport in Britain sounds unlikely to you, think again. “We got roughly 30 players [for the first training session] and the team looks to be making strides in the right direction,” Piachaud explained.

“Talks are ongoing for the first new era Varsity match with Oxford likely to be taking place at some point in the Easter term, and other matches also likely to take place throughout the term.”

Piachaud himself won the National Championship studying for his MA in Southampton, and his experience will surely provide plenty of impetus for the reborn side. However, as he readily admits, his team are far from reaching great success just yet, and he is “still looking for anyone interested in American football to come out and play with the team.”

Green Bay in action at the playoffs

In keeping with American sporting culture, the Pythons will also focus heavily the social side of sport. On Sunday 6th February the NFL will reach its climax, with the Superbowl from Dallas Stadium, and the Pythons have teamed up with the Cambridge Union Society to host the first, official Superbowl party in Cambridge.

With various events taking place throughout the night, including appearances from the Cambridge Cougars Cheerleading Squad, it promises to be one of the most exciting events of the term.