American Football: The Lowest Common Denominator

It’s just for incompetent rugby players with no attention span

Kicking Things Off: The Stags get Varisty 2015/16 underway on November 8th

On Sunday night, Lewis Hamilton won his third world title at the culmination of an epic, heart stopping American Grand Prix. He leapt from his car with joy, gleefully bounced on the spot and offered up gratitude laced prayers to the almighty Lord Cthulu. Of course, I’m guessing all of this – because with eight laps til the chequered flag, the American Football bunch purloined the Sky remote and despite the vocal protestations of the majority of The Stags, changed it over to an unending sequence of adverts and overweight men standing still.

I mean, one of the braying troupe even had the cheek to boorishly announce “Time for a real sport lads”. Four minutes later, with approximately 13 seconds of actual ‘sport’ played and I was feeling genuine concern for their mental wellbeing. It’s not too late, and there are people that can help you resolve your obvious proliferation of psychotic episodes. Maybe you’ll even make the Rugby team next time you try, it’s certainly not too late to attempt something proper.

I digress, however. As if the proliferation of wheel to wheel racing wasn’t enough, it was the sheer importance of the occasion. With no more than ten minutes to go, you’d assume that any human with a fragment of common decency would allow the culmination of what is obviously a once in a year event.

But there’s the problem with American Football. It’s almost exclusively played by tossers, for the entertainment of other reprobates failed by the modern education system. The entire sport is based on gratuitous, pointless violence – and really, it shows in the players themselves. In the NFL since January 2000, at least 807 players have been arrested for acts more serious than “common  traffic violations”. That’s an average of almost 4.5 arrests every month for 15 years. In fact, September 2015 was the first month in six years where an NFL player hasn’t been arrested – and if you go through that link, some of the crimes are pretty heinous. Really though, what do you expect from a sport that appears to the uneducated observer to be entirely reliant on hitting the opposition as hard and as frequently as possible. It wasn’t even until 2014 that the NFL agreed to remove a cap on compensation for players claiming that the league hid the dangers of serious head injuries.

Moral objections aside, the sport itself is painfully mundane. In the time that could have been spent on tenterhooks as to whether Hamilton could secure the World Championship, there was no more than 9 seconds of consecutive game action. The rest was spent flicking between adverts, switching between “offensive” and “defensive” squads and then, after a particularly long advert break, we had a whole FIVE SECONDS of scintillating action followed by something called a “Time Out”. I’m unsure what the point of this break in play was, but my educated guess is an excuse for more adverts, judging from what we were subjected to.

Your average NFL game lasts for 3 hours and 12 minutes – but of this time, the ball will spend approximately 11 minutes in play, with over 100 adverts. Hardly a spectator sport, unless you’d describe your hobbies as ‘finding reasons to contact Ofcom about shoddy advertising’. And I bet you don’t get invited to parties.

In essence, it’s a terrible sport, played by terrible people and watched by those lacking sufficient grey matter to enjoy watching paint dry. It’s pointlessly violent and played by thugs.

Finally. If you’re one of the sporting visionaries that turned the F1 off last night? You should know you’re the reason your parents got divorced.