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Why UFOs "as big as a football field?"

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posted on Oct, 28 2014 @ 09:59 PM
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I was an investigative journalist for a Pacific Northwest newspaper in the 1990s when I had an up-close UFO sighting. In the feature story I inevitably wrote for the newspaper, I described its size like so many others before and after me: "as big as a football field" or in some proportion of football fields. Now I'm a sociology instructor so I tend to read ATS in terms of how social issues are described and interpreted. I encourage my students to figure out what the questions are (or should be) before leaping to conclusions. That's my humble excuse for nitpicking: why "a football field"? How has this become the measuring rod? I looked this question up on ATS but only got 10+ pages of sightings measured this way! I can't help but wonder if there is something to that very consistent pattern that may help people better understand their own and/or others' UFO sightings. Is it just a popular culture meme that caught on -- like "flying saucer"-- or a description we leap to for some other reason? How did it start out this way? Thanks ahead for your comments. None of this will be on the final exam.




posted on Oct, 28 2014 @ 10:08 PM
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I saw an interview with a witness of the Stephenville sighting describe the object he saw as "big as a Wal-Mart."
I've seen a cylindrical UFO that I would describe as about twice the size of a passenger jet.
I've had other sightings, two of them at fairly close range, that I would say were about 15 or 20 foot at most in their widest dimension.



posted on Oct, 28 2014 @ 10:10 PM
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I think football fields are a good way to put a visual to a size.

They are made up by ten metre margins.

That and it's a phrase that has caught on IMO.



posted on Oct, 28 2014 @ 10:13 PM
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a reply to: audenine

It's just a unit of measure much like Truckloads, Sh!tloads, or at the smaller end of measurements, a Poofteenth.

Kind Regards
Myselfaswell
edit on 28-10-2014 by myselfaswell because: pesky spelling



posted on Oct, 28 2014 @ 10:34 PM
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When trying to explain the unexplainable, hoping someone might understand, it is a normal reaction to compare it to something more universally known. For example, it might have been as big as the parking lot at the factory the witness works at, but if he or she is talking to someone who does not know that particular parking lot, it doesn't connect. Saying "as big as a football field" is a fairly universal measure, whether American football or what we call soccer around the globe. It is a normal thing to relate something unknown to a known in order to explain what one has seen.

My sighting, for example, had a unique red/amber light with no glare. I would describe it like the color of a rising sun as seen through heavy mist - a perfect circle of muted red light. Does that description bring more detail? Does it make it more universal than just saying "red/amber light with no glare." I hope so...its the best I've got!



That is my answer. I hope it is helpful for your purposes.

- AB



posted on Oct, 28 2014 @ 10:40 PM
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Not really an exact measurement unless specified: Canadian football field, American football field, or the size of a football field in the rest of the world (Americans call it a soccer field). A UFO the size of a football field isn't round, although it would be interesting to see American football played on a field 100 yards across as well as from goal line to goal line.



posted on Oct, 28 2014 @ 10:49 PM
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The length and wide of a football field, and the height of 3 Empire State buildings...

We just measure from things we know the visual size of.



posted on Oct, 28 2014 @ 11:11 PM
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Are we talking flying saucers, cigar shaped, or triangular craft the size of football fields? Or are they just long flat UFO's? Some stories I've heard of the craft just flying slowly overhead covering the whole sky, and other stories I've heard of pilots spotting large craft.

Big as a football field is an everyday saying describing something as big as a foot ball field as opposed to saying the actual square footage of the property. However there might be something behind the reason this saying is used and by whom, could be a certain demographic in the US. On the other hand there could be nothing unique about the saying as it may be used everywhere equally. Tough to say...

Maybe these large UFO's are spotted near football fields, or on Monday nights.



posted on Oct, 28 2014 @ 11:59 PM
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a reply to: skunkape23

That is fascinating because I no sooner know offhand how big a Walmart is (plus parking lot?) than a football field, though that is the way I described what I saw!



posted on Oct, 29 2014 @ 12:06 AM
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The Japanese pilot who saw a walnut shaped ufo over Alaska, said the thing was the size of and aircraft carrier.....
My dear friend said she saw one also as big as an aircraft carrier except ir had protrusions sticking out top and bottom......
Triangles are frequently described so,,,,and the comparison kind of started with them as far as memory serves me.....
After the vig black deltas the term has been used frequentky.....
There are far more smaller descriptions in the past......



posted on Oct, 29 2014 @ 12:06 AM
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The Japanese pilot who saw a walnut shaped ufo over Alaska, said the thing was the size of and aircraft carrier.....
My dear friend said she saw one also as big as an aircraft carrier except ir had protrusions sticking out top and bottom......
Triangles are frequently described so,,,,and the comparison kind of started with them as far as memory serves me.....
After the big black deltas the term has been used frequentky.....
There are far more smaller descriptions in the past......
edit on 29-10-2014 by stirling because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 29 2014 @ 12:39 AM
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a reply to: audenine

It's better now to use football fields as reference it's easier than the old way...
....three hundred cubits long, fifty cubits wide and thirty cubits high....



posted on Oct, 29 2014 @ 12:51 AM
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a reply to: audenine


You're asking the totally wrong question, it should be not why but what are the Football Field sized craft. The answer is this... they are transport craft of either materials or people, why transport you ask ? well its very simple. Either the occupants are huge ( unlikely and none have been seen ) or its carrying vast amounts of something, Materials such as metals/ores or water would be a definite possibility and that they are stealing the Earths minerals. How ever I think these Football sized objects would be built more like a Bulky Tanker if this was the case, they are more like people movers.

Hence I portend that they are either bringing large numbers of beings to this planet or even scarier..taking them.
edit on 29-10-2014 by mazzroth because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 29 2014 @ 12:56 AM
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a reply to: AboveBoard

Your response is very helpful, thank you for taking the time to explain. Based on what you said I'm getting a picture of which direction I need to go with further research.



posted on Oct, 29 2014 @ 01:33 AM
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I remember reading from somewhere that Americans in general sometimes use football field as a tool of size comparison. It might be a cultural thing. I've never seen any Finnish UFO reports where the witness would use a football field as a comparison of size. Or a hockey ring which is a much more familiar thing here.

So the as big as football field thing could just be a culture-specific thing. An aproximation for something really big.



posted on Oct, 29 2014 @ 04:45 AM
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originally posted by: stirling

The Japanese pilot who saw a walnut shaped ufo over Alaska, said the thing was the size of and aircraft carrier.....



"Twice the size of an American Aircraft carrier"

Suffice it to say, he stressed it dwarfed the cargo carrying 747 he was flying. OP, I'll echo the sentiment that giving a football field size comparison is actually good way to measure. Many people are already familiar with how big a football field is and can visualize something in comparison to it.



posted on Oct, 29 2014 @ 04:58 AM
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Because football fields are in yards, and the average American understands football better than, well.....anything. If I were to explain something to say, a mouse, I'd compare it in terms of blocks of cheese.



posted on Oct, 29 2014 @ 05:25 AM
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Everyone has already said my reply so I'll just agree with everyone lol.

Seriously though, it's probably because it's the only exact unit of measurement (as far as I can think this early in the morning) that is a substantial size to compare something else of a similar size to, and most people understand a visual representation better than a verbal one, so if you say something is 300 feet by "X" feet, they're confused and are trying to think of what 300 by "X" feet looks like, but if you say "as big as a football field" they can more easily get an understanding as to what you're describing. And, as someone else has stated, in the states a football field is probably the most recognizable thing to most people so it's the first thing we think of. It's also why we probably speak of distances in yards most of the time instead of feet. I know with me, when someone is describing a distance to me and tells me it was "X" yards away, the first thing that pops into my head is an image of a football field because I instantly get an understanding as to the distance they mean. I mean, when you think about it, it's nothing but a giant ruler lol.



posted on Oct, 29 2014 @ 06:15 AM
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a reply to: audenine
Are other things, besides U.F.O.'s, being measured in this way?
Is "the size of a football field" used in other contexts? If so, the habit explains itself as the use of a measuring stick which everybody will recognise.

You can compare it with the old British habit of describing distances in terms of "the length of a cricket pitch" (22 yards, by the way).
In more recent years, I've seen areas described in terms of "Olympic size swimming-pools".
Obviously in all these cases the assumption is that most people can at least visualise those areas and distances.
And where, outside sport, does the average person come across standardised areas like this?



posted on Oct, 29 2014 @ 06:19 AM
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a reply to: audenine

I've noted the 'football field' comparison in the past and share your interest in the sociology of the term as well as its place in the developing narratives of UFO reports. It deserves a brief, generalised history to put it in context.

In the late 1940s, estimated sizes of reported objects were quite modest and averaged out at the 30ft diameter range. I only mention 'objects' as estimates of lights are meaningless. The 1950s continued with similar-sized objects being reported in increasing numbers rather than growing in size. There was some variation in estimated sizes, but not to the extent of massive objects.

The 1960s remained the same with some 'saucers' reportedly larger and yet still much smaller than 'football fields.' The famous Betty and Barney Hill sighting was reported as being close to 60ft in diameter.

It was the 1970s when some reports began to compare reported objects to football fields. The first one I've found is from August '73 in a MUFON Journal:



Another from '73:



Two from early 1974:



Interestingly, there's a claim of a reference to an object the size of a 'football field' that dates to the late 19th Century airship flaps. That one remains to be confirmed though...

There are references to UFO lights being compared to the lights at a football field (clusters and brightness) that predate the 1970s and even more where distance from object was compared to football fields. This strengthens the explanation that people make references to things they think others will be familiar with. The field-size is fairly standard whereas if someone said the object was as 'large as the church tower' or as far away as 'Old Jenny's store from the corner,' it'd be meaningless in translation.

By mid-'76 there's a rise in the use of 'football field' as a benchmark of size. Going through the 70s and into the 1980s, we see a greater increase in the terms. This could be reflective of the UFO culture picking up on standard phrases and using them more widely. It could also be human nature to exaggerate the size of what was seen to rule out the possibility of it being explained as military. The appearance of the 'big black triangle' reports would also play a part as they've dominated the 80s and 90s and are frequently claimed to be enormous.

There's also a change in the way we are educated and maybe a decrease in the overall ability to express our experiences? The early sightings reports (1940s-1960s) often featured angular diameters and compared magnitudes of specific stars to the brightness of whatever they'd seen. Maybe since the 70s, people say 'football field' because they don't have the same knowledge? Likewise, how many UFO investigators ask witnesses about degrees of elevation? It's a different world.



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