George Carlin, a social commentator who moonlighted as a stand-up comedian, theorized that you could learn much about a nation’s character by comparing and contrasting its most popular sports. Political trends come and go, he reasoned, but sports reveal our subconscious cultural spirit in its rawest, most unfiltered manifestation.
Carlin’s classic critique of football and baseball strikes today as slightly yesterday. But his premise easily extrapolates to compare and contrast the good ol’ US of A and all our funny-sounding international neighbors, who seem to adore a kicky-kick sport (what we call “soccer”) managed by the honorable men of FIFA.
So in homage to Carlin we hereby present: American Football versus International Futbol.
In American football, a quarterback was penalized for under-inflating the ball.
In international futbol, the executives were arrested for over-inflating their wallets.
In American football, our demand for justice and fair-play led the NFL to spend millions of dollars investigating the psi-levels of footballs used in a 45-7 playoff game.
In international futbol, overt bribery is a time-honored business practice.
In American football, the NFL once threatened to ban Arizona from hosting the Super Bowl unless it recognized a Martin Luther King holiday.
In international futbol, Qatar and Russia were both awarded World Cup bids.
In international futbol, you play for a Cup: A World Cup.
In American football, you play for a Bowl. A Super Bowl – and as anyone who’s ever ordered soup at a classy restaurant like Applebee’s knows, a bowl is much bigger than a cup.
In international futbol, a player shows great courage and determination when he gets kicked really hard in the shins, falls down, but then gets back up again. Hooray!
In American football, Ronnie Lott once hacked off half his finger so he could continue playing.
In international futbol, a “bad boy” player once bit someone! Twice! On purpose!
In American football, “bad boys” Aaron Hernandez, OJ Simpson, and Rae Carruth killed people with guns, knives, and hitmen. (Allegedly.)
In international futbol, a good-looking player can date and marry a cute girl like Posh! Wow! She used to be a Spice Girl!
In American football: Gisele.
In international futbol, players and coaches have funny, colorful nicknames: Little Mozart, The Magic Dwarf, and Sparky.
American football also has colorful nicknames: The Monsters of the Midway, the Purple People Eaters, the Legion of Boom, Tombstone, the Doomsday Defense, and the Assassin.
In international futbol, only the referee gets to know how much time is left. Nobody else knows for sure. It’s a mystery!
In American football, the head coach relies on a team of analysts in a separate booth who systematically replay and break-down game tape in “real time” so the team can “red flag” any split-second discrepancies with the game clock.
In international futbol, the ball used to always look white and black, but now, on any given day, it’s yellow, blue, purple or red – any combination of pretty colors!
In American football, the ball is brown. It’s always brown. The reason is, brown is the natural color of the dead animal from which the ball is made.
In international futbol, Brazilian superstar forward Givanildo Vieira de Souza is referred to as the “Hulk.” FIFA’s official website called him a “powerhouse.” He’s an impressive 5-foot-11-inches tall, 187 pounds!
In American football, the average size of an offensive tackle is 6-foot-5-inches tall, 313.5 pounds.
Once, in international futbol – in an inexplicable, unexplainable upset – Uruguay defeated Brazil in the 1950 World Cup 2-1.
Once, in American football, Tim Tebow won a playoff game!
In international futbol, there’s Diego Maradona’s “Hand of God.”
In American football, there’s Mark Sanchez’s “Fumble of Butt.”
President Obama: “As some of you know, I’m a soccer Dad myself.” (June 27, 2011)
President Obama: “If I had a son, I’d have to think long and hard before I let him play football.” (January 27, 2013)