On Sunday night, I actually turned on the television and was surprised to find an American football game being broadcast. It was the NY jets against the San Diego chargers. I have had to learn about Football (to the Americans reading, “soccer”) here with working in the stadium for the one local professional team. What I have learned is that Football here is more like a tactical game where everything happens on the fly with no breaks.
American football might be considered almost purely strategic with a lot of break. The football (soccer) athletes have the ability to run several miles and manipulate a round ball in amazing ways with their foot agility. Inside the United States, you have really powerful and strong human that run extremely fast for 40 yards.
The biggest element of “why are Europeans confused about American football” is simply in how the game is being presented. I played the sport, understand the sport, yet, watching the NFL broadcast from the Austrian television group simply confused and confounded me. If I didn’t know what football was, I would have been lost.
The one thing I loved was that with the international feed, you don’t see what appears to be the onslaught of advertising during the programming. When you realize how much time the commercials and the television time outs take, you realize how small the content portion of the broadcast is becoming. (A TV timeout is where you stand on the field and the world stops for the sake of broadcasting more television commercials to the viewer to pay the exorbitant fee the NFL charges broadcasters for the rights to show the game)
Normally, you get a camera feed that shows something happening in the background, you have a play by play announcer that talks as you watch the teams go to their huddles and work on the next play selection, line up, and show the play.
Not so here. You get to see the actual play for a few seconds, AND THEN, you go to a studio shot of the two guys in the studio who are doing their best to educate the audience and talk about what is going on in the game. It is like watching a radio broadcast being televised. You have two guys sitting at a desk talking, yet, you know there is a football game going on somewhere in the world that they are talking about. When there were commercial time outs, or a team called a time out, you went right to these guys talking.
I don’t think I made one quarter of the game before I had to shut it off. It felt like I had watched 1 minute and 23 seconds of football in the 20-25 minutes I watched of the show.
If the Austrian television company needs someone to help them streamline a broadcast to be interesting and educational to the viewer, give me a call, I will be happy to go to Austria and help with the flow of programming so that even Americans that play the sport don’t turn off the show because they are also confused.
What i have learned in my short time in Europe is that the sport you call football is really interesting and beautiful to watch. Even though i don’t understand all that is going on, I understand the beauty of the game.