SEATTLE â€” It was winter 1995 in the Pacific Northwest. I had triumphantly conquered Seattle with Spacehogs' sold out show at the DV8 the night before. After a night of high jinx and excess, I was now sitting in the old Kingdome watching the Seahawks play my adopted New York Giants.
Feeling decidedly green around the gills I was hoping for the kind of fresh air you would get at an English football game. But it was not to be as the roof of the stadium enclosed around us sealing us into some kind of centrally heated spaceship.
That was the beginning of my curiosity and innate inability to understand American Football.
Living in Seattle now, it seems like the Seahawks dominate the sporting consciousness of the city. Every other car sports dual "12th Man" flags and come Sunday the whole city will grind to a standstill to see if their team can make it to a second consecutive Super Bowl.
But it's not always been that way, as Les Carpenters' fascinating article in The Guardian describes. To paraphrase, they were doomed as a local entity until Paul Allen at Microsoft and a consortium of soccer enthusiasts later to become the Seattle Sounders, stepped in. Allen held a statewide referendum to stop the franchise moving to California, by proposing a new stadium be built locally. The soccer community stepped in to tip the balance, with assurances they could share what is now the Century Link Field.
Thatâ€™s the part I understand.
As well as the rules, the constant stopping and starting and the uniforms, there are other confusing elements to Americaâ€™s defining contact sport. For a country so wary of what they call "Socialized Medicine," I find the draft compensates the lesser teams in a way not seen in other sports or other areas of society for that matter.
You need only look at Manchester City or the New York Yankees to see how money changes everything.
Similarly, The Green Bay Packers is a great example of sport run by the people, for the people, as a non profit. It …Read more...