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American Football: Why is the NFL superior?

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posted on Apr, 12 2006 @ 10:38 PM
What do you all think are the reasons the NFL is head and shoulders above the other major sports in America? Why is the Super Bowl the most watched game of the year? Why has football displaced baseball as the national pastime. I have a few ideas, but I would like some input from all you.

posted on Apr, 13 2006 @ 07:27 AM
Leadership. Pete Rozelle brought the NFL as it is today into being, merging the two leagues and creating the Superbowl in the proccess. TV followed this. Tagliabue has continued this on, quelling the problems that arise to let the sport flourish. Expantion, stability and parity have been his strengths.

posted on Apr, 13 2006 @ 10:30 AM
Good question, though to be fair i havent a clue what kinda audiences US sports generate to draw comparisions.

Over here in the UK, the sport which is similar in a way to the NFL is rugby and the people here who tend to like Rugby consider it a real sport, all big guys, strong fit fast and that it is really competitive

And when it comes to US sports in the UK, the only one i know of which is on TV is the NFL

I guess the NFL has glamour (with regards to the cheerleaders, lingerie bowl) and it is also competitive. I also think the phsyical aspect of the game may be a factor.

What sport in the US demands the highest transfer fees?

posted on Apr, 13 2006 @ 11:18 AM
I'll agree with Truenorth, and also add that since all NFL teams only play 1 game a week and most on sunday, most people have time to watch on sundays since most of us don't work weekends, it's a once a week event whereas baseball if you miss the game on monday you can watch on tuesday, in addition i don't always have time to sit and watch a night game due to things that need to be done such as cutting the grass, washing the car, painting the house what have you. It's also the same with nascar they get bigger ratings and more people watch because it's only once a week. If baseball didn't play so many games and only played on the weekend the viewership would go up, i'm almost certain.

posted on Apr, 13 2006 @ 02:53 PM
Revenue sharing is one of the big reasons the NFL is tops. I read on that because of the NBA's method of revenue sharing, the Hornets will be playing in Oklahoma City next year; they just can't generate enough money playing in New Orleans. In the NFL, however, the Saints will be in New Orleans this coming season. The NFL's revenue sharing system has allowed many small market teams such as Green Bay and Jacksonville to survive. In the NHL, several small city teams (like the Hartford Whalers and the Quebec Nordiques) had to relocate in the 1990's.

You all are right on about the NFL's marketing, something started by Rozelle. Teams are marketed, not just single superstars. In the NFL, Pittsburgh merchandise is usually a top seller. In baseball, the Pirates struggle just to stay afloat. Without a doubt the NFL works very hard to appeal to the red-blooded American man. They seem to work as hard as possible to show lots of scantily clad women.

Another area that makes the NFL so great is the long labor peace it has enjoyed (the legacy of Paul Tagliabue, I think). The NFL has not had a work stoppage since 1987, and that strike was over fairly quickly: the owners made it clear that the season would go on, regardless of what players were on the field. Baseball, basketball, and hockey have all had work stoppages since 1987. MLB had a whole slew of games go bye-bye in 1994-95. The NBA had to shorten its 1998-99 season to 50 games because of a lockout. And we all remember the NHL having an entire season wiped out (2004-2005) due to a lockout. Some people make fun of the relationship Tagliabue has with Gene Upshaw, but it has kept peace between the owners and the union.

posted on Apr, 13 2006 @ 02:58 PM
Baseball has been an almost-every-day sport for a very, very long time. Longer than any now-living human being has been alive. And it was by far the most popular sport in America until at least the mid-50's, and probably thru the 60's.

Also, modern baseball games get tons of exposure on TV. If I weren't working my tail off, I could watch god-knows-how-many games.

The problem with baseball is simple: While the NFL has brilliantly marketed its product, and while the NBA has at least brilliantly marketed its stars, MLB has savaged its players, with the media--as has been true for over 100 years--always taking the sides of the owners. Lenin couldn't outdo them when it comes to propaganda.

Players are portrayed as greedheads, which has finally become the truth in the last 25 years; players savage teams and occasionally each other; owners are led by a moronic sleazebag like Bud Selig; the players are doing everything they can to keep a test for HGH from being developed and restoring a fair measure of public confidence in the game; and the owners don't seem to mind. A f'ing World Series was cancelled. Another season (1981) was cut in half and a lot of its games were cancelled. Players used federally illegal drugs (steroids) for well over a decade; the media looked the other way; the owners ate up the profits and didn't care about the game's integrity any more than they cared about federal law. Now everyone knows it and we've learned it will take CONGRESS to clean up baseball.

THOSE are the reasons MLB has problems. They trash their own superstars. Owners and players are constantly at loggerheads. It's the sport of nonstop bickering and dirty tricks between the two sides (including criminal conspiracies by the owners), and of federally prosecutable cheating by the players which is silently endorsed by the avaricious owners.

Put all of that together with the 1994 World Series That Never Was, in a year when two guys had legit shots at 61 HR's and Gwynn was batting .394, and you have a sport which only the most diehard fans (yeah, me) will stick with.

So THERE is the problem with baseball. A game which was once the undisputed national pastime, and which spawned the undisputed #1 popular icon of the first half of the last century, has cannibalized itself.

Owners, players and agents: Look inward, angels!


posted on Apr, 13 2006 @ 03:02 PM
Another thing wihch makes the NFL (and college football, for that matter) the new national pastime, is the sport seems custom made for television. There is excitement, and constant motion, with appropriate times to stop for the commercials. And our society is certainly TV driven these days.

There are many opportunites to celebrate (touchdowns, field goals, sacks, interceptions, first downs even) And after the aforementioned events, there is a stop in play. This gives the commentators a chance to review the play, without interrupting the action.

Our society is headed towards the ADD land, thanks to MTV, and thus we need quick bits of action surrounded by peroids of inactivity, and this product fits those needs.

posted on Apr, 13 2006 @ 03:06 PM
I don't think so. Revenue sharing is not working in baseball. Actually I'm not sure that the NFL has revenue sharing. TV generates a lot of money for the league.

Hockey teams moving? Yeah, that happened as the league tried to Americanize the league. Sorry guys but it's a fact. Take the last full season and attendance. Did the TB Lightning(last SC winner) outsell ANY Canadian team in tickets sold?

posted on Apr, 13 2006 @ 03:25 PM
The NFL has revenue sharing, and most experts believe the NFL's method is the best. The revenue from television contracts are divided amongst the teams. Have you ever noticed that baseball, basketball, and hockey games can be seen on localized networks (in the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania area there are stations that play Sixers, Flyers, and Phillies games). The NFL allows only the contracted big networks to show the games.

Take a look at this website: It really gives a good description of revenue sharing. The smaller market teams can survive with the revenue from TV contracts. The teams in the larger markets can make more money in tickets and merchandise.

posted on Apr, 13 2006 @ 03:34 PM
You're talking about equal shares in the TV revenues. Yes, that's where the big money is coming from, that's not revenue sharing though.

posted on Apr, 13 2006 @ 03:37 PM
YES, the NFL does have revenue sharing. Have you ever seen PTI on ESPN? They talked about it a lot during the labor talks.

posted on Apr, 17 2006 @ 03:11 PM
My arguement is it's more about the product than wher ethe money is going, though. Don't you guys think that holds any wieght?

posted on Apr, 17 2006 @ 03:57 PM

Originally posted by Gibbs Baby!!!
My arguement is it's more about the product than wher ethe money is going, though. Don't you guys think that holds any wieght?

absolutely, everyone know's that if your product sucks you can't sell it, which sort of ties into my argument, if your product is hard to come by (once a week versus everyday) it will sell better. All of the above arguments are valid, and i don't know that you could narrow it down to just one, they all pile on to make the sum greater than it's parts.

posted on Apr, 17 2006 @ 09:40 PM
All of these are defnitely reasons the NFL has risen to the top. I like the comment about how football is tailor-made for television. It has quick bursts of action with time in between for thorough explanation. I have always wondered why soccer hasn't caught on the U.S. Perhaps it's that ADHD thing. Americans don't want to sit and watch a long game without many breaks that features little scoring. There's little that is spectacular about soccer: no big hits, no high flying dunks, no powerful home runs.

I'll admit, I find myself being sucked into that intstant action mode. I just love when ESPN Classic shows memorable games in telescoped form: football games that go immediately from one play to another; baseball games that skip over some of the more boring periods. I have several NBA games on video off of that station. The Internet has messed with my attention span, but I needed it to work on my Master's degree.

posted on Apr, 17 2006 @ 10:18 PM
This is a generational thing.

I have always loved the lingering excitement in between pitches in baseball. But not the tedious breaks in between plays in football games. In most football games, especially the old-fashioned college ones, you wait 40 seconds or so for the next boring run up the middle, then ditto, then ditto, then ditto, and finally somewhere in there is a punt or a pass.

Baseball is so much more diverse, including in comparison to the NFL. It's just less violent. Like Charles Barkley says, it's hard to watch regular season NFL games if you don't have the thrill of betting on it... which I no longer do.

My answer to your question remains the same: It's not a matter of why the NFL is superior. It's a matter of why pro baseball, which for a long time was far and away the king of American sports, has plunged not only to where football is its RIVAL for that distinction, but to where football is now CLEARLY the king. And, as I said before, there is no realistic likelihood that in the remainder of my lifetime (even if Selig and all his sorry-ass fellow idiot greedheads have fatal strokes [no, that requires brains]--um, heart attacks [No....]--um, ruptured aneurysms tomorrow, baseball will NEVER get back to #1 again.

Football has done almost everything right; baseball has done EVERYTHING I can think of wrong, and now everyone with a brain knows the owner fiddled while records and the game's integrity burned. If I weren't an absolute maniac about the game, I'd be done with it.

Several of my California friends think it's because this country's men have gotten so idiotically macho that football has gotten so big.

Bull. I think American men have always been real long in the testosterone department, and anyone who reads bio's of the old-time ballplayers will quickly learn those guys were VERY macho. They--including superstars like Cobb, Ruth and Speaker--frequently met other players under the stands after the game, for a bloody, full-fledged fistfight. So manliness has nothing to do with it.

Baseball done ate itself, and THAT--plus Rozelle's general brilliance--is why the NFL is king. Just as simple as that. For the past 34 years, the NFL has been perfection, while MLB has been a malevolent recreation of Laurel and Hardy. Period, paragraph. Game, set and match.


posted on Apr, 18 2006 @ 11:18 AM
Well put, BHN. I was thinking about why I am more attracted to football. Certainly other men have other reasons. I do agree somewhat with your CA friends. The NFL seems to market its players as "real men". I mean, one of the things I always though was interesting is that baseball games are postponed, cancelled, or delayed because of inclement weather. Football is not; they play right through wind, rain, sleet, or snow. I knew someone once who hated baseball who said, "Football is for real men. They play in anything". I have no idea where Steve is now--I do remember he though it was quite humorous when Sammy Sosa threw his back out while sneezing a few years back.

One thing is for sure: the NFL works the sexual angle. All of the teams have scantily clad cheerleaders who are shown again and again in cutaway shots. The commercials for beer are sexual in nature. For a while the makers of erectile dysfunction medicine were sponsors of the NFL. They are always working the football-sex connection. With so many shallow men in America today, I think that constant flow of semi-erotic images just seeps into the subconscious.

posted on Apr, 18 2006 @ 01:34 PM
Well, I think scantily clad cheerleaders have no biz in a sport, myself. They can pose in Playboy if they want, or even Penthouse (though that might cost them their cheerleading jobs), and they can try go get into the all-holy Swimsuit Issue, too.

And I probably don't need to tell you what I think about why it was that particular individual threw out his back sneezing!

But baseball never has liked to do its fighting in public. Those bench-clearing "brawls" are nothing like the many REAL fights I got in as a young, active alcoholic, and I'll bet many of you still get in real fights occasionally, none of which is anything like the "fights" players get into on the field in baseball, while protecting themselves from injuries. Nor are they anything like barroom brawls I've peaceably witnessed since sobering up.

More to the point, they're nothing at all like, for example, the hockey brawls that fans love so much, because managers don't want to allot 2 or 3 of their precious roster spots to goons with no discernible baseball skills. They'd rather burn those spots up on reserve players and #10 and #11 pitchers with no discernible baseball skills.

And, as I said above, the REAL baseball fights have, through the years, occurred under the stands, out of eyesight, after the game is over. A LOT of great players have done so, though nowadays they are likely to get fined, or simply not to get paid while on the DL afterward. And the pay for 10 or 20 games out of 162, 6 to 12% of the kind of annual income THESE guys make, you don't want to lose. In my day as a starving student struggling to get through my university (and getting a lot of very hard looks from great professors)? As long as I could still pick up a poker hand and move my poker chips, which I always could, then I didn't care.

But I don't think brawling is a valid part of the game, any more than artificially inflated bimbos on the sidelines are. And, think about this please, when was the last time you saw a REAL fight of any duration between heavily padded and helmeted football players? I suppose a real boxer could kill one of those guys with body punches, but otherwise, they just hurt themselves punching each other, no?

So, the NFL has made its amazing rise to the top without that cr@p.

Yeah, for sure, everyone thinks of football players as more manly than baseball players. And on average, they are far bigger and stronger. Lawrence Taylor had--as if he needed it--a Black Belt. Many baseball players have the asset more American men should use in a fight, if they had any sense: A good set of legs. And the brawls beneath the stands, though still extant, are nothing like they once were.


posted on Apr, 18 2006 @ 04:04 PM
Well, if the arguement is essentially the NFL vs. MLB (and lets face it, it is, the NHL is a Canadian import, and the NBA isn't exactly in hot mode anymore, see our other discussions on that) here's my two cents on what is wrong with baseball. It may come as a shocker (and remember, I don't baseball really follow baseball, either).

It's the Yankees. They have been traditionally too good for baseball. They have won what, a fourth(!) of all the world series played, and been involved in how many others?? And they are always in the championship hunt, or at least 98% of the time.

Compare that to the modern NFL. I'm talking the era of parity. At the beginning of any given season, any team has a shot at the playoffs. By mid-season there is usually only one or two teams out of it. For most every team, most every game counts. A 6th seeded team even won the darn Super Bowl this past year! (even though we all know it was the WRONG 6th seed...) Dominance is no more, even for the Patriots. They will still be in the hunt for a few seasons, but they will not be heavy favorites. Miami has even been mentioned as a Super Bowl contendor, and they are just 2 years removed from a horrific season.

That, my friends, is the difference between the NFL and MLB.

posted on Apr, 18 2006 @ 04:35 PM
This alone CANNOT explain baseball's incredible decline in popularity. Yeah, the Yankees' are in the playoffs every year, and their owner is a c.s. (nothing about chickens), but I don't think that's it. And domination??? Try this one on for size:

In the 39-year span from 1926 through 1964, the Yankees WON the World Series NINETEEN times, and also went there but lost SEVEN other times. TWENTY-SIX times in 39 years they were there. They won four straight Series at one point (1936-1939), and FIVE straight at another (1949-1953).

Nothing in their modern times compares to that.

Of course, back then, they had three incredibly charismatic players. Mickey Mantle, though unfortunately self-destructive off the field, was an enormous hero on it who, until osteomyelitis and a shoulder injury derailed him, could have been the second Ruth. Joe DiMaggio, though stupid and anything but interesting off the field, was a graceful and charismatic ballplayer who should rank in anyone's Top 20--Willie Mays Minus.

And Babe Ruth? Well, he was only--hands down--the #1 social and cultural icon on this country for at LEAST the first half of the last century. (No, NOT Lindbergh.) Personally, I don't think Elvis surpassed him in the second half of the century, either, and the Beatles were an import, so they don't count.

The Yankees don't have anything remotely like that now: Yeah, they have the very popular, overachieving Jeter, but the tremendous A-Rod will never capture fans' fancies anything like Joe D, the Mick and especially The Big Guy did. And Sheffield? Hardy har har.

So maybe THAT'S the difference in today's Yankees. The most hateable executive in baseball since Charles Comiskey (with all due disrespect to Calvin Griffith), a cheat/jerk like Sheffield, and nobody to love anything like their three most popular players were loved from 1920-1968.

There is a GREAT story about how beloved Babe Ruth was, and it comes from WW II, long after Ruth was retired and while that f'ing throat cancer was probably first developing. I will tell it another time, but it will tell y'all just how great an icon--and just how indispensable a part of our culture--he was considered.

I would gladly give a year off my lifetime to be able to have seen his finest 10-year run (1918-1927, 1919-1928 or 1920-1929). And, although his dissolute lifestyle brought his own death and destruction upon him (just as Mantle's did), I really regret he didn't live to be 70 or 75. I would have been 12 to 17 then, and at least could have gotten a good glimpse of that fabulous, ya-couldn't-portray-it-accurately-in-a-TEN-hour-movie personality of his.


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