August 20, 2012

Is it football or 'football'?

There it was, Alex Morgan scored the goal at the 122nd minute!

As I watched the goal, I started to think about association football compared to American football.

Association football had been an international sensation for more than 100 years. It came into form during the mid-1800s and still survives to be the most popular sport in the world (according to many sites such as 10topten). Then I looked up the monetary support that association football receives. Forbes clearly states that the three most expensive tournaments are from association football which includes tournaments such as the Champion's League, European Football Championship and the World Cup. More than half of the tournaments listed in Forbes were of association football.

So what's the actual name of the sport that the Americans call "football"?

I was surprised to find that it's called gridiron and distinguished the pages between gridiron and American football when I searched them in Wikipedia. Gridiron is the umbrella term for North American football which even many American football players would have hard time guessing.

Both the North Americans and the Australians have mistaken Aussie rules and gridiron as football. For most part of these sports, it is played with hands and not the feet (or what the British called foot). It's no wonder to Americans to see football players run with their legs when they should be upside down, running with their hands. Neither they throw the the ball from leg to leg nor do they run with the ball in their legs.

Although some have claimed that the name for American football stays football to show Americanism, which can't be found in the British sport. But it would be surprising for many to know that American football was also derived from Britain and not America. It was also without any gears and so similar to rugby that it became hard to distinguish between them. Then, the "mob football" gave rise to more violence and kicking during the early 1900s which gave the rise of leather helmets in football as a protective gear. This changed fast and was replaced by the plastic helmets in the late 1940s because of the numerous injuries that the game caused. NFL has also claimed that "The human brain, although encased by a heavy-duty cranium, isn't designed for football." 

The Americans had be considered to be a violent country and this sport proves to be that. Still, in the 21st century when we have the equipments to test the damages that American football does to the brain, we still continue to play it as our national sport. 

Does this prove to be ironic or that the Americans are of such character? Is it just hard for us to see that what we call football makes us look like a hypocrite in the world because it's not even played with the feet? Or maybe it is just that while we were trying to create a new sport that represented Americanism, we took something the British had done a long time ago and named it for our own?

The popularity of football (association football) is rising everyday even in the United States. Still, news medias throughout New York City shows American football and not football during their season. Maybe the media representatives know that football would dominate in popularity if they start to show that and lose the hopes of NFL. Maybe it's just trying to keep us ignorant.

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