Originally Posted by Big Sexy
Hatehabs- I'm not going to go quote for quote on your original post because you seem to be focusing on one main thing and that is global popularity. The question is not most popular sport, it is greatest sport. Popularity does not automatically equal greatness. Justin Bieber is one of the most popular singers/musicians in the world right now but you'd be hard pressed to find people (other then pre teen girls) that would say he is the greatest. The fans to each respective sport are important, and as such, popularity plays a little bit of a role but a sport doesn't have to be insanely popular around the globe to be considered the greatest. American Football is the most popular sport in where it's marketed and also has some growing international popularity as well. Like I stated in my original post, when talking about the greatest sport in the world it comes down to the game itself, the players, and the fans. Using those three components the answer to the question at hand is without a doubt American Football.
Quite frankly, Big Sexy, I find your dismissive attitude toward my suggestion of soccer as the greatest sport in the world simultaneously ludicrous, insulting, and short sighted. Especially when the selection of soccer is so clearly and obviously the correct answer to the question at hand.
Global popularity is the most significant aspect of the question being posed. It simply cannot be answered without being heavily weighted in terms of how the sports rank on a global scale. The entire premise of your arguments stems from a position of arrogance and North American bias. Your viewpoint appears to be that if you don't like it, or respect it, or appreciate it,then it is not relevant. Whereas my position is from a position of total objectivity, with no bias in favor of my geographical location or my personal likes or dislikes.
Surely to God your analogy is not comparing Justin Beiber to the grand sport of soccer. A 16 year old, untalented flash in the pan can hardly be equated to a sport with the history and legacy and longevity of soccer. If we want to draw an analogy, soccer would be like U2. Longevity in the music business, world wide appeal, quality music appealing to a diverse audience of ages and genders. U2 may or may not hold any particular appeal for you, but there is denying their profile on the global stage. You may prefer some American band that is popular in North America but is anonymous across most of the world, but that band could hardly be considered one of the best bands in the world.
Of course the fans of the sport are important. And I don't think the plethora of fans in all continents across the entire planet should be dismissed by you, just because you feel that the North American fans of an entirely North American sport are more significant or important. This is typical American arrogance and is typical of the type of bias which is devoid from my posts on this topic.
Of course the NFL is the most popular sport where it is marketed. That is simply because it is marketed to such a limited degree to such a limited aspect of the global stage. In other words, it is solid in it's niche regions, but said niche regions are very limited. When the NFL has attempted to spread it's wings beyond these localized pockets of interest, the results have ranged from lacklustre to downright failure. Hardly indicative of the greatest sport in the world.
You can consider the question from the standpoints of the game itself, the fans, and the players, but you still have to do so objectively and keep your biases in check. In terms of the game itself, I could exercise my North American bias and favor several sports over soccer, but that would not be accurate in terms of assessing the greatest sport in the world. That honor falls squarely upon soccer. In terms of the fans, again check your biases at the door. The fans of soccer on a world wide basis are simply more passionate, to the point of being overly so, sometimes to the point of dangerous fanaticism. They are more numerous, more diverse demographically, and geographically more widespread. And the players involved in soccer are simply more athletic, more skilled, more mentally tough, and capable of excellence in the face of more scrutiny and pressure.
Take a moment, Big Sexy, and put your personal preferences aside. Forget about what you personally like best, which fans you personally respect more, or which players you contend are more athletic, and simply look at the fact of the matter from something other than a position of American/North American bias. And I think someone as allegedly knowledgeable of sports as you sometimes appear to be will have to arrive at the same conclusion that I reluctantly but objectively did. The greatest sport in the world is unquestionably soccer, there is simply no denying it.