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  #11  
Old 03-06-2011, 10:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Big Sexy View Post
Before I answer I would like to discuss the question itself. The question clearly states, ďWhat is the greatest sport in the world?Ē It isnít talking about the most popular sport in the world, which would be soccer. It isnít talking about the fastest growing sport in the world, which would be basketball. This topic is all about the greatest sport and that is without a doubt in my mind, American Football. The reason for this is simple. When talking about what is the greatest sport there are three factors that come into play for me: The game, the players, and the fans. I will use these 3 components in my argument for why American Football is the greatest sport in the world.
This is exactly the response that I was anticipating from you, Big Sexy. I knew your response was going to be American Football, and I knew exactly why. And I also knew what your argument was going to focus on. The simple fact of the matter is, the global popularity of soccer as opposed to football is absolutely undebatable. American football is exactly that, American, and at most, North American. It holds little to no prominence elsewhere in the world, and this point cannot be contested, and you know it. I was fortunate enough to be able to bat leadoff in this round,which allowed me to select the obvious and undeniable first choice. This leaves you with only one strategy, that being, to underscore the whole popularity side of the question, and comment on other aspects of the question at hand as best you can. The simple fact of the matter is, the issue at hand here is to debate the greatest sport in the world. Not the greatest sport in your part of the world. Not the sport that you yourself like the best. The greatest sport in the world. You simply cannot engage in this discussion without comparing the various sports in question and looking at them through the eyes of the entire world. Who is playing the sport? Who is watching it? Who is obsessed by it? If you examine the question from any other perspective, you are simply expressing your own personal opinion, or the opinion of a select pocket of the world, without really considering it on a completely global scale. I don't fault you for trying to deflect attention away from the question at hand. Quite frankly, it is the only strategy at your disposal, when the answer you are forced to espouse, largely by default, is so clearly the incorrect answer to the question.



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The Game

The game of football is a sport of intense competition. To play and succeed at the game you have to be a superior athlete both mentally and physically. Every single down in the course of the game gives an opportunity for something exciting to happen. The game has the most intense competition of any sport in the world. Whether itís an offensive battle that ends 38-31 or a defensive battle that ends 7-3, the game has a level of excitement and competitiveness that is unmatched. It is an easy game to follow and one that a spectator can enjoy even if they have never witnessed the sport before. This is evident by the fact that the NFL overseas games have drawn huge crowds. Over 103,000 fans saw a game in 2005 in Mexico City. Over 81,000 fans have watched games at Wembley Stadium each year over the last few years. International fans with limited exposure to the sport wouldnít come out in these huge numbers if the sport wasnít an easy one to follow and understand. It is a game that is played at all levels from youth all the way up to professional. At the youth and high school levels it teaches great discipline. At the college level it gives many athletes opportunities that they wouldnít have without football. At the professional level it provides an atmosphere that is unmatched. There is no sport that is more fun to watch then American Football. The sport has provided more memorable moments in the pro and college ranks then any other sport. All of these aspects about the game contribute to it being the greatest sport.
The game of football is indeed a sport of intense competition. I absolutely love it, far more than I could ever admire soccer. The New England Patriots bring me so much more enjoyment than Arsenal ever could, that is is ironic that I am debating the superiority of soccer to you, as opposed to football. Hell, I even find a game involving two substandard teams, such as the Detroit Lions and the Cleveland Browns, would be far more engaging to me than the finals of the English Premier League ever could be. But this simply is not the question at hand.

I share your sentiment about the excitement level of a typical NFL game, but again in saying this, we are simply sharing our North American bias. Of course we feel more excitement over a tight and well fought NFL game,whether it be high scoring or low scoring. But for every fan in Canada and the United States who feels this way, there are several fans elsewhere in the world who derive the same sense of excitement from a hotly contested soccer game. The high drama that we feel over a 17-14 score in a NFL game is no different than the excitement that a fan of the English Premier League would feel about a 0-0 draw in soccer. Frankly it would be arrogant of us to suggest they are wrong to feel the way they do, even if we do not personally understand it or share their sentiments.

The suggestion that football players are more adept physically and mentally is simply untrue. Soccer players play the entire game, offensively and defensively. Football players, on the other hand, are almost always exclusive to one aspect of the game or the other. In essence,the typical football player plays only half the game, whereas the typical soccer player is forced to play offense and defense throughout the entire game.

Over and above this, the various skill sets of the players are typically more restrictive in football than they are in soccer. An offensive lineman, for example, may have bullish strength, incredible stamina, and incredible toughness, however they hardly require tremendous agility, blinding speed, or strategic prowess. A soccer player must have all of this.

I think you are also incorrect to suggest that football is an easy game to follow and understand. This is true for guys like ourselves who have grown up following the game passionately. But take a sports fan from outside of North America, who hasn't followed the game for as long who is not as invested in it, and I think the game would be confusing and tedious.


I think you need to be careful in drawing conclusions from isolated football games played out of the NFL comfort zone, such as in Mexico City or Wembley Stadium. These games were popular because of their novelty aspect. The simple fact of the matter is, when the NFL tried to increase their broad range appeal on a more consistent basis, such as with the NFL Europe, it simply failed. And the reason why it fell flat in a little over a decade was simple. People in Europe simply did not care about the game, because they were and still are soccer crazy. In trying to expand American football into a soccer hotbed, it simply did not work. How successful do you think it would be if someone conceived of a NFL South America, or a NFL Far East, or a NFL Australia. No need to answer the question, you already know the answer.


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The Players

The players that play American Football are the best athletes in all of sports. In terms of strength, agility, speed, endurance, there is no other athlete that can match them. Some of the greatest athletes of all time have played the game. Names like Jim Brown, Bo Jackson, Deion Sanders, Jerry Rice, and Barry Sanders have succeeded on all levels of the sport. Names like Charlie Ward and Jeff Samardzija had great college success before moving on to other professional sports. To be an American Football player it takes great skill physically as well as mentally. The strategy involved in the game is more intricate then any other sport. These players also put their bodies through more physically then in any other sport. You cannot have a great sport without tremendous players/athletes and there is none better then in American Football.
The suggestion that American football players are the best athletes in all of sports is ludicrous. They are simply nowhere near the athletic prowess of soccer players. They also fall short of basketball players, and even hockey players for that matter. Strength? I may concede that one. Agility? Maybe a couple of football positions, such as wide receiver or quarterback, but certainly not football players in general. Speed? Definitely not. Again, maybe a handful of players at select positions, but not as a whole. Endurance? Absolutely not, as I discussed earlier, football players spend half the game sitting their asses on the bench while the other half of the team is on the field. You can list all of the names of athletic footballs players you like, and again, you are speaking from a position of bias and personal preference.
If I were a soccer enthusiast, I am certain I too could compile an equally impressive list of players who are excellent athletes in their own regard. This is simply typical American arrogance on your part, discounting the athletic abilities of the sport you do not follow, in lieu of the one that you follow passionately.


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The Fans

You can have a great game with tremendous players but if no one cares then the sport cannot be considered the greatest. American Football has some of the best fans in the world. The NFL is the most popular league in the United States and it isnít all that close. Now I want to be clear once again that the question is about greatest sport in the world and not most popular. I wonít sit here and say that American Football is more popular worldwide the European Football (soccer) because that would be false. However, American Football is widely popular in its markets and Iíll take the fans of the game of American Football over the fans of any other sport. Whether itís college or professional the fans are loyal and show tremendous support. The average attendance in the NFL is greater then that of any other professional league in the world. In 2008 the NFL averaged 68,240 fans. Thatís over 10,000 more fans on average then the second place league which was the Indian Premier League (cricket).
Yet more examples of bias and arrogance. I am quite certain that the millions of soccer fans from every corner of the globe would dispute your paragraph here. Of course you concede the greater global popularity of soccer over football, you would lose all credibility if you even attempted to suggest otherwise. I won't readdress the issue of greatest sport versus most popular sport again, as I have already dealt with this smoke screen earlier.

Of course American football is more popular in its select niche markets. The problem with this thought process is, their niche markets are fewer and smaller than those of soccer.

And again, the rest of your paragraph is yet more typical American rhetoric. More unsubstantiated opinion based upon personal likes and dislikes. Skirting the discussion at hand, to merely spout off about your personal whims.



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Close

When it comes to the game, the players, and the fans there is no sport in the world greater then American Football. I have emphasized my argument with the three components stated above and will continue to follow these components throughout the course of the debate. To me they are the three components that best describe which sport is the greatest and once again, that sport is American Football.

On a personal level, I do agree with your biased opinion regarding American football, specifically NFL. But it does not adequately address the question at hand in it's entirety. As I said earlier to LSN80, look at the question objectively. Shelve your biases and opinions and look at the facts. Soccer is easily the greatest sport in the world. Quite frankly, it isn't even close, as much as it pains me to admit it.
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  #12  
Old 03-06-2011, 11:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Big Sexy View Post
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.
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  #13  
Old 03-07-2011, 12:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Big Sexy View Post
I'm not going to dispute any of that but to me none of that makes the sport itself greater. David Stern with the way he has marketed the NBA has done a tremendous job helping the game expand internationally. Stern and the NBA put in the effort that was needed to market the sport and expand it globally. Up until recently with Roger Goddell the NFL hasn't really put the necessary effort in to expand the sport globally. Again though, none of this makes the "sport" of basketball greater then the "sport" of football. The International Federtaion of American Football was formed in 1998 and every 4 years the World Cup of American Football takes place. In the last 12 years, 57 nations have become members and in 2005 the organization became a full member of the General Association of International Sports Federations, which organizations like FIBA and FIFA are part of. Currently outside of North America there are 56 American Football leagues in 39 different countries. Japan, Australia, and New Zealand all have 3 or more leagues. With more effort to market it globally the game has grown tremendously on an international scale as of late.
I think that maintaining a global presence is a part of being the World's greatest sport. Further, one thing that's failing to be taken into account is that women play the same sport at each level. Maintaining a highly competitve, more level playing field across genres certainly does contribute. Basketball is there on both a grander scale in the Olympics for both men and women, with the best in the World eligible to play. Women's basketball was added to the Olympics as a sport in 1976 due to a greater demand, and college basketball in the United States added, a women's NCAA tournament in 1982, and opened it's own Hall of Fame in the United States. While Im not ging to argue women's basketball is immensely popular, it does maintain a presence and has grown in magnitude and populartity. Basketball is a more inclusive sport, giving it a variety that football simply can't offer.

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It is two completely different games in terms of the offense/defense aspect. The majority of NFL players are most definitely athletic enough to play on both sides of the ball and most ff them grew up doing so. There are many college players who switch positions on their way to the NFL and some go from offense to defense or vice versa. I can easily make the argument that many basketball players can't play much defense they just have to do it out of necessity because like I already stated it's two completely different games. I can almost guarantee that American Football players are at a physically higher level then NBA players. The list I posted also showed how American Football players more then any other sport could easily succeed at other sports, adding to their athletic prowess.
I acknowledged that the list was impressive. But most of the players who were two sport athletes, at least the prominent ones, played basketball first. While players amongst the lower ranks of sports play on one side of the ball or the other, they are unable to do so at the highest level, except for a select few. Look at the list for the NBA-all defensive team, and it reads like a whose-who of all-star OFFENSIVE players. Kobe Bryant. LeBron James. Dwight Howard. Rajon Rondo. Some of the most gifted players athletically in the league make up the all-defensive teams. I understand that the games are different but when your top offensive players and stars are also amongst your top defensive stars, it's a testament to the overall package of the players, a testament to their overall athleticism. And as I already noted, many of the prominent players who played in the NFL played basketball first, which is indicative that the transition to the NFL is easier to that of the NBA. Is there any other reason then basketball is the more demanding, more complete athletic sport? I can't think of one.
http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=5165424


http://basketball.about.com/od/histo...port-stars.htm

Some of the great NFL players, as I already stated, were basketball players first. The transition to the NFL is simply easier because of the overall lesser demands athletically. Not physically, but certainly athletically. That was one of our similar criteria, and the edge here goes to basketball again.

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We can go back and forth all day but when you look at the greatest moments and greatest plays in sports history, American Football has more of a presence then basketball. http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/espn2...er/25bestplays This list from ESPN has the top 25 plays and the edge goes to American Football over basketball. In fact 3 of the top 5 plays from both ESPN25 experts and from the fans are from American Football.[/Qhttp://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2...moments/060321
This list has the 20 greatest sports moments ever on television from the ESPN page 2 writers. Once again American Football has the edge here, including two of the top three plays on the list. Great moments happen in all sport and we could have entire thread dedicated to just these moments but it would get us no where. To me though the great plays and moments in American Football certainly trump those in basketball on the whole.
And basketball is very well represented on those lists as well. Those lists are primarily taking into account American sports, with a primary American bias. While I place some stock in them, it's hard to do so when the other 6 continents aren't well represented. In fact, all 25 plays on the top 25 list are solely American.

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The college football system is most definitely flawed but those flaws are part of what makes it exciting every single week throughout the season. The same can't be said about college basketball. Outside the month of March the excitement just isn't there on a weekly basis. Going back to 1990 college basketball has had 13 different Champions. College Football has had 14 different AP Champions, so the tournament making more parity doesn't show in terms of Championship wins.
When I say parity,thats not what Im referring to. Look at last year, in the NCAA Championship game. Butler got to compete for the NCAA Championship. As a #5 seed. That opportunity isn't there in the college football game whatsoever. There are two pre-determined teams that play fairly short seasons. There are teams that have NO opportunity. One loss? Their done. In basketball, you have the opportunity through a tournament, expanded to 68 this year, that can legitimtately say they have a CHANCE to play for the National Title. And like Butler from the Horizon league showed last year, those chances are very real. It's splitting hairs over the number of champions between sports, but it's not with opportunity. To say college football is flaed is a major understatement. And because of conferences, where rivalries exist, there is that excitement all year long, several times a week in college basketball.


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The greatest sport in the world is American Football. I have dissected your arguments based on our similar criteria and proven that No matter how you cut it, basketball does not measure up to the greatness that is American Football.
I respectfully disagree. I feel Ive poked major holes into the criteria we've agreed upon, and in doing so, have shown how the greatest sport in the world is Basketball, not American football.
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Old 03-07-2011, 01:32 AM
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Originally Posted by hatehabsforever View Post
This is exactly the response that I was anticipating from you, Big Sexy. I knew your response was going to be American Football, and I knew exactly why. And I also knew what your argument was going to focus on. The simple fact of the matter is, the global popularity of soccer as opposed to football is absolutely undebatable. American football is exactly that, American, and at most, North American. It holds little to no prominence elsewhere in the world, and this point cannot be contested, and you know it. I was fortunate enough to be able to bat leadoff in this round,which allowed me to select the obvious and undeniable first choice. This leaves you with only one strategy, that being, to underscore the whole popularity side of the question, and comment on other aspects of the question at hand as best you can. The simple fact of the matter is, the issue at hand here is to debate the greatest sport in the world. Not the greatest sport in your part of the world. Not the sport that you yourself like the best. The greatest sport in the world. You simply cannot engage in this discussion without comparing the various sports in question and looking at them through the eyes of the entire world. Who is playing the sport? Who is watching it? Who is obsessed by it? If you examine the question from any other perspective, you are simply expressing your own personal opinion, or the opinion of a select pocket of the world, without really considering it on a completely global scale. I don't fault you for trying to deflect attention away from the question at hand. Quite frankly, it is the only strategy at your disposal, when the answer you are forced to espouse, largely by default, is so clearly the incorrect answer to the question.
I'm sure you did anticipate I would choose American Football because like with every other topic I have made the correct choice. My response for American Football was typed up before you and LSN posted, I just had to wait to put it up. The question is "what is the greatest sport in the world?" It's not most popular in the world, not most known in the world, not most liked in the world. The definition of sport is this: Physical activity that is governed by a set of rules or customs and often engaged in competitively. You see the word "world" in the question and automatically go to soccer with its worldwide popularity. The word world was used so no sport would be left out of the discussion. Sports like cricket and rugby and any other sport played worldwide could all be debated for. American Football judged by the criteria I'm using which is the best for the question at hand is the greatest sport in the world. If you want to turn this into a popularity thing then the only possible answer is soccer and I would never debate that. This question, however, is not about popularity it is about which sport is the greatest.





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The game of football is indeed a sport of intense competition. I absolutely love it, far more than I could ever admire soccer. The New England Patriots bring me so much more enjoyment than Arsenal ever could, that is is ironic that I am debating the superiority of soccer to you, as opposed to football. Hell, I even find a game involving two substandard teams, such as the Detroit Lions and the Cleveland Browns, would be far more engaging to me than the finals of the English Premier League ever could be. But this simply is not the question at hand.

I share your sentiment about the excitement level of a typical NFL game, but again in saying this, we are simply sharing our North American bias. Of course we feel more excitement over a tight and well fought NFL game,whether it be high scoring or low scoring. But for every fan in Canada and the United States who feels this way, there are several fans elsewhere in the world who derive the same sense of excitement from a hotly contested soccer game. The high drama that we feel over a 17-14 score in a NFL game is no different than the excitement that a fan of the English Premier League would feel about a 0-0 draw in soccer. Frankly it would be arrogant of us to suggest they are wrong to feel the way they do, even if we do not personally understand it or share their sentiments.
One of the criteria I used was the game itself and you yourself are admitting that you find the game of American Football far better then the game of soccer. One of the main reasons soccer is the most popular sport worldwide is because basically every country plays it and has played for a long time. Soccer had been around and been internationalized longer then any other sport and it isn't even close. That, however, does not make it greater. Being in North America we have the luxury of being exposed to almost every popular sport there is. As a kid I was no more exposed to American Football then I was to soccer, actually soccer was the first sport I ever played but once I was given a choice it was easy. I do not enjoy soccer and I will never hide that fact. The most exciting, intense, competitive game that I have been exposed to in my lifetime is American Football and because of that the "game" component of my argument easily goes to American Football.

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The suggestion that football players are more adept physically and mentally is simply untrue. Soccer players play the entire game, offensively and defensively. Football players, on the other hand, are almost always exclusive to one aspect of the game or the other. In essence,the typical football player plays only half the game, whereas the typical soccer player is forced to play offense and defense throughout the entire game.
Soccer players may have more endurance but other then that it is not untrue at all for me to say they are inferior athletes to American football players. Long distance runners have great endurance as well but you certainly wouldn't argue that they are better athletes then American Football players.

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Over and above this, the various skill sets of the players are typically more restrictive in football than they are in soccer. An offensive lineman, for example, may have bullish strength, incredible stamina, and incredible toughness, however they hardly require tremendous agility, blinding speed, or strategic prowess. A soccer player must have all of this.
How exactly do soccer players need bullish strength? Besides, offensive linemen are just one position in the game and you are severely underrating their skill set. Other then blinding speed they possess everything you are referring to. They need tremendous agility to be able to block athletic pass rushers like Julius Peppers and Ndamukong Suh. They also need great intelligence and strategy to learn their position and be able to play it effectively.

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I think you are also incorrect to suggest that football is an easy game to follow and understand. This is true for guys like ourselves who have grown up following the game passionately. But take a sports fan from outside of North America, who hasn't followed the game for as long who is not as invested in it, and I think the game would be confusing and tedious.
Some of the details may be difficult to understand but the main concept is very easy. You have 4 downs to pick up 10 yards, td is 6 points, field goal is 3 points. Seems easy to me. I'll be the first to admit right now that while I understand the main concept of soccer, kick the ball down the field and try to get it in the net, each goal is one point. I do not understand yellow cards, red cards, what's a penalty, what's offsides, when a free kick is given, yet if I was entertained by the sport those aren't things that would keep me from watching it.


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I think you need to be careful in drawing conclusions from isolated football games played out of the NFL comfort zone, such as in Mexico City or Wembley Stadium. These games were popular because of their novelty aspect. The simple fact of the matter is, when the NFL tried to increase their broad range appeal on a more consistent basis, such as with the NFL Europe, it simply failed. And the reason why it fell flat in a little over a decade was simple. People in Europe simply did not care about the game, because they were and still are soccer crazy. In trying to expand American football into a soccer hotbed, it simply did not work. How successful do you think it would be if someone conceived of a NFL South America, or a NFL Far East, or a NFL Australia. No need to answer the question, you already know the answer.
You can use NFL Europe as an example all you want but it was nothing more then a 6 team developmental league that only played 10 games a season and received little marketing from the NFL. If the NFL didn't care to market it then why would people want to go see the games? Besides that 5 of the 6 teams were based out of Germany so it was hardly trying to expand internationally as a whole. Roger Goodell has done a much better job marketing the NFL internationally and there has been increased popularity because of that. You can't just go to countries that have known almost nothing but soccer and expect them to take to another sport right away. It's something that takes time.

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The suggestion that American football players are the best athletes in all of sports is ludicrous. They are simply nowhere near the athletic prowess of soccer players. They also fall short of basketball players, and even hockey players for that matter. Strength? I may concede that one. Agility? Maybe a couple of football positions, such as wide receiver or quarterback, but certainly not football players in general. Speed? Definitely not. Again, maybe a handful of players at select positions, but not as a whole. Endurance? Absolutely not, as I discussed earlier, football players spend half the game sitting their asses on the bench while the other half of the team is on the field. You can list all of the names of athletic footballs players you like, and again, you are speaking from a position of bias and personal preference.
You are delusional if you think this. The reason football players don't play every position is because with the physicality the sport has it's impossible to play a full 60 minutes of the game throughout a season without highly shortening your career. No sport is more physical then football. American Football players are easily superior to other sports in terms of strength, speed, and agility.

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If I were a soccer enthusiast, I am certain I too could compile an equally impressive list of players who are excellent athletes in their own regard. This is simply typical American arrogance on your part, discounting the athletic abilities of the sport you do not follow, in lieu of the one that you follow passionately.
Arrogance? Please save me that bullshit and get off your high horse. I am passionate about multiple sports. I am a huge fan of football, basketball, baseball, and hockey and have played all 4 sports in my lifetime. As a fan and from someone with experience playing these sports I can tell you from a completely unbiased perspective that the toughest, most physically demanding sport to play is football and the best athletes I have ever seen in person and on television are football players.




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Yet more examples of bias and arrogance. I am quite certain that the millions of soccer fans from every corner of the globe would dispute your paragraph here. Of course you concede the greater global popularity of soccer over football, you would lose all credibility if you even attempted to suggest otherwise. I won't readdress the issue of greatest sport versus most popular sport again, as I have already dealt with this smoke screen earlier.
Bias and arrogance? Because I said American Football fans are some of the best in the world and they show great loyalty and support? Which part of that was false? You also conveniently dismissed my FACT that the average attendance of an NFL game is greater then that of any other professional sport league in the world.

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Of course American football is more popular in its select niche markets. The problem with this thought process is, their niche markets are fewer and smaller than those of soccer.
I guess it's good that popularity and greatness aren't the same thing then.



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On a personal level, I do agree with your biased opinion regarding American football, specifically NFL. But it does not adequately address the question at hand in it's entirety. As I said earlier to LSN80, look at the question objectively. Shelve your biases and opinions and look at the facts. Soccer is easily the greatest sport in the world. Quite frankly, it isn't even close, as much as it pains me to admit it.
It seems to me that you are the one not addressing the real question at hand. My biases play no role in my choice whatsoever. I simply read the question, figured out the best criteria possible for answering it, and used that criteria to support my choice.

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Originally Posted by hatehabsforever View Post
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.
And I find your disrespect to my choice and argument to be equally as insulting and short sighted. I didn't go quote for quote on your opening post because a good 85% of it all focused on one thing and that was worldwide popularity. Why quote multiple paragraphs to repeat my same argument over and over again? You obviously read the question completely different then I did. I did not write the question so I cannot be 100% certain what was meant by it but I find my interpretation of the question to make a lot more sense then yours.

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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.
My viewpoint is that from the question and the criteria I believe best answers it, American Football is the greatest sport in the world. If global popularity was the most important aspect and what we were supposed to be focusing on then the word popular would have been used in some form in the question. It was not, so I picked my criteria for answering the question and I am continuing to follow it.

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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.
I'm not comparing the game of soccer to Justin Bieber just merely pointing out that what is most popular is not always what is the greatest.

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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.
When exactly did I dismiss the fans of soccer? I merely stated how great the fans of American Football was. Soccer has some great fans to around the world. They also happen to often be unruly and violent. When fans are dying and killing because of a sport it tends to bring it down a level. I am by no means generalizing all soccer fans just pointing out what some do.

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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.
Other then NFL Europe which was nothing more then an experiment with little marketing and effort behind it the sport has seen nothing but success when trying to expand globally.

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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.
I am not using any biases. If you want to debate the arguments in my criteria with me then let's continue to do so. I have already shown above why when considering the game, the players, and the fans, American Football is the greatest sport in the world.

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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.
I have been completely unbiased from the beginning and I find your continued assumption of the contrary to be completely insulting. I have been nothing but respectful throughout the entire SDL and have backed up every argument from an unbiased perspective. For you to "call me out" on something that is non existent is complete bullshit on your part and I expect better from you. If you want to continue to debate about my actual arguments than go right ahead but I will not respond anymore to your cries of American bias and arrogance because I am showing absolutely none of that. I read the question, picked a criteria to best answer it, and picked the sport of American football. Nothing more and nothing less.
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Old 03-07-2011, 02:14 AM
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Originally Posted by LSN80 View Post
I think that maintaining a global presence is a part of being the World's greatest sport. Further, one thing that's failing to be taken into account is that women play the same sport at each level. Maintaining a highly competitve, more level playing field across genres certainly does contribute. Basketball is there on both a grander scale in the Olympics for both men and women, with the best in the World eligible to play. Women's basketball was added to the Olympics as a sport in 1976 due to a greater demand, and college basketball in the United States added, a women's NCAA tournament in 1982, and opened it's own Hall of Fame in the United States. While Im not ging to argue women's basketball is immensely popular, it does maintain a presence and has grown in magnitude and populartity. Basketball is a more inclusive sport, giving it a variety that football simply can't offer.
I find the word "world" being in the question as nothing more then a way to make sure no stone would be left unturned and any sport was fair game. Global popularity is very minuscule when discussing which sport is the greatest. As far as women go, they are not excluded in terms of playing in youth leagues or trying out for high school football teams. There are also some professional football leagues as well for women. Because of the physicality it's just something that very few women want to play. That still doesn't make the sport any less great.



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I acknowledged that the list was impressive. But most of the players who were two sport athletes, at least the prominent ones, played basketball first. While players amongst the lower ranks of sports play on one side of the ball or the other, they are unable to do so at the highest level, except for a select few. Look at the list for the NBA-all defensive team, and it reads like a whose-who of all-star OFFENSIVE players. Kobe Bryant. LeBron James. Dwight Howard. Rajon Rondo. Some of the most gifted players athletically in the league make up the all-defensive teams. I understand that the games are different but when your top offensive players and stars are also amongst your top defensive stars, it's a testament to the overall package of the players, a testament to their overall athleticism. And as I already noted, many of the prominent players who played in the NFL played basketball first, which is indicative that the transition to the NFL is easier to that of the NBA. Is there any other reason then basketball is the more demanding, more complete athletic sport? I can't think of one.
Where does it say anywhere in that list of athletes that they played basketball first? Most of those guys played both sports all their lives. Julius Peppers was always more of a football guy and just walked onto the basketball team at North Carolina because he was that great of an athlete. Charlie Ward was a Heisman Trophy winner in college but he chose the NBA because there was more of a guarantee that he succeed. Donovan McNabb was always a football guy first. Guys like Antonio Gates and Greg Paulus just preferred basketball slightly more to football which is why they stuck to mainly those in college but the NFL is definitely harder to transition into then the NBA. Charlie Ward is the perfect example of that. He was a better football player then basketball player but he knew his chances to make the NBA were easier so he went that route. The majority of two sport NFL athletes actually had baseball as their second sport not basketball. Just another pro sport that the great American Football athlete has success in because of their athletic abilities.

You can talk about guys like Kobe and LeBron being great on both ends of the court but I can bring up names like Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire, and Steve Nash who aren't very good defensively. I can bring up names like Ben Wallace, Dennis Rodman, and Dikembe Mutumbo who were great defensively but nothing special on offense. Plus like I already stated these are two completely different sports and the offense/defense aspect can't really be judged the same way.


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Some of the great NFL players, as I already stated, were basketball players first. The transition to the NFL is simply easier because of the overall lesser demands athletically. Not physically, but certainly athletically. That was one of our similar criteria, and the edge here goes to basketball again.
And I've already shown that to be completely false. Multi sport athletes play there multiple sports throughout the majority of their lives. It's talent not athletic ability that decides which sport they succeed more at and ultimately play. Antonio Gates was a more talented football player then basketball player which is why he's in the NFL but I'd say he is a better overall athlete then most NBA players. The list of players that were athletic enough to play multiple sports is far greater in football then it is in basketball.



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And basketball is very well represented on those lists as well. Those lists are primarily taking into account American sports, with a primary American bias. While I place some stock in them, it's hard to do so when the other 6 continents aren't well represented. In fact, all 25 plays on the top 25 list are solely American.
And so was every other play and moment that you were bringing up when talking about basketball.


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When I say parity,thats not what Im referring to. Look at last year, in the NCAA Championship game. Butler got to compete for the NCAA Championship. As a #5 seed. That opportunity isn't there in the college football game whatsoever. There are two pre-determined teams that play fairly short seasons. There are teams that have NO opportunity. One loss? Their done. In basketball, you have the opportunity through a tournament, expanded to 68 this year, that can legitimtately say they have a CHANCE to play for the National Title. And like Butler from the Horizon league showed last year, those chances are very real. It's splitting hairs over the number of champions between sports, but it's not with opportunity. To say college football is flaed is a major understatement. And because of conferences, where rivalries exist, there is that excitement all year long, several times a week in college basketball.
It's two completely different systems. Only two teams get a chance at the National Title in football so there are tons of teams not just small schools that get left out. If Oregon or Auburn would have lost a game this year then TCU from the MWC would have gotten into the title game. The fact that one loss could knock you out of contention is what makes the college football game so exciting throughout the ENTIRE season. Not just one month like with college basketball. And even though mid major teams have a chance in the NCAA tournament, I have shown that when it comes down to it the champion is a major team.



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I respectfully disagree. I feel Ive poked major holes into the criteria we've agreed upon, and in doing so, have shown how the greatest sport in the world is Basketball, not American football.
You attempted to poke major holes but I was able to turn away all of those attempts. Nothing you have shown can dispute the fact that the greatest sport in the world is American Football.
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Old 03-07-2011, 09:42 AM
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Basketball is a good choice but certainly not the best. Your factors you take into account are actually similar to mine you just referred to them differently. Instead of game you put excitement, instead of players you put athleticism, and instead of fans you put popularity. There are some differences in the components but they are for the most part similar. Let's get to it.
If I may inject myself into the discussion between you two, I would definitely agree that basketball is a good choice, as is American football. Neither of them are as good a choice as soccer is, but they are a second place and a distant third respectively.


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Basketball is definitely popular worldwide and when it comes to outside of the US it is more popular then American Football. However, basketball is also marketed more outside of the US then American Football is. The NFL is starting to market a lot more internationally and the international popularity is definitely growing for the sport but it's something that takes time. In the areas it is heavily marketed American Football is easily more popular then basketball at all levels.
Basketball is certainly more popular on a global scale than football is, on this there can be no debate, just like there can be no debate that they both are eclipsed by soccer. Soccer is marketed all across the world because the audience is there. Basketball is marketed more heavily than football is, because again, the market is there to be had. Football does not have the same market availability outside of North America, with the exception of the occasional showcase such as Wembley Stadium or Mexico City. I do not think it is accurate to suggest that the NFL is of a lower standing internationally because it is not marketed there, I think that is a bit of a cop out. If the target market was there, you can be sure that Gooddell would be all over it, trying to spread the wings of the NFL on a more global scale. Simply put, based upon NFL Europe and other measuring sticks, the appeal upon which to promote the NFL outside of North America is simply not there.


Football has more popularity in the limited niche market in which it is marketed, but said market is very restricted. The NFL is "starting to grow" beyond these markets, but it still has a long way to go to even approach soccer.


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There is no doubt that basketball players are great athletes. but no group of athletes on the whole are as athletic as American Football players. No sport is more physically and mentally demanding then the game of football. American Football players are easily the most well rounded athletes as well. There are more NFL players that have or could have succeeded at other professional sports then in any other league worldwide. Just go to this page and compare the American Football multi sport athletes to that of other sports. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...rican_football Once again, while basketball has great athletes and is certainly physically demanding, it does not compare in either category when going against American Football.
There is no doubt that basketball players are great athletes. So too are football players, but neither of them are as overall athletic and well rounded as are soccer players. I find fault with the notion that no sport is as physically or mentally demanding as football. The whole argument of the capacity to play two sports is irrelevant to this discussion. Sure, a handful of guys have played two sports professionally, Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders being two high profile guys to have done so. Most guys, though, even if they have the natural ability to play both, do not do so in the end. So the fact that they have the capacity to do so is irrelevant to the discussion at hand. I don't think that the ability too play two sports in and of itself means you are a better overall athlete. It may in fact mean you are a "Jack of all trades but a master of none". Let's focus our attention at the one sport that the athlete chooses to focus on, and compare the athleticism required to play it at the upper echelon of sports, to the athleticism of soccer players. Plus, bearing in mind the inherent biases thay all three of us share regarding North American sports, neither of us is really in a position to draw parallels to soccer on this point. How many soccer players also have the ability to play something else professionally, such as baseball, cricket, rugby, or whatever. I have no idea frankly, and I doubt you guys do either. Making this an academic point.






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The game of basketball has provided some great moments and is very exciting but this is another area where it cannot compete with American Football. In college you have things like the Cal/Stanford finish, the Flutie Hail Mary, the Vince Young Rose Bowl performance, the App. State upset of Michigan, the Kordell Stewart Hail Mary, etc.. In the NFL you have things like the Joe Namath SB prediction and upset, the Music City Miracle, the Marcus Allen Super Bowl run, the Montana game winning drives, the Elway game winning drives, the Immaculate Reception, the David Tyree catch, etc.. The NFL and football as a whole has been tremendously competitive throughout history which adds to the excitement level. The NBA has almost always been dominated by a select few teams. That's not always a bad thing but for me the more parity there is, the more exciting a sport is. I'll also take college football over college basketball any day. College basketball is really only at peak excitement for one month out of the schedule. College Football brings great excitement throughout the course of its season.

Overall American Football is greater then basketball in all of the criteria you listed and that shows that American Football is the greatest sport in the world.

This entire section is blocked full of the biases and personal preferences which I have respectfully suggested are clouding your objective assessment of the question at hand. Please let us be crystal clear on one point. I accused you of bias and arrogance regarding your viewpoints, which seems to have offended you. Frankly, this was in no way intended to be a derogatory comment or in no way "calling you out" as you suggested. This entire SDL debate has been waged above the board for all 14 rounds, and I for one am certainly not going to change this now. Maybe arrogance was a little strong of a word. But not intended to be derogatory or insulting. Frankly, I would suggest that all three of us are North American sports fans first and foremost, and all three of us are susceptible to such biases and such arrogance.

You provide lists of "great moments" for basketball and football, all of which are viewed through the rose colored glasses of the North American sports fan. Honestly, I myself am more intrigued by any of them as opposed to whatever soccer has to offer. As such, I too am guilty of the same arrogance that I accuse you of, and I am not insulting myself when I say this. All I am saying is that it is short sighted, biased, and a little arrogant for all of us to compile lists of this nature and suggest that these great moments have more value, more drama, more intrigue, than anything soccer has to offer across the pond. Because for every Big Sexy, or LSN80, or hatehabsforever in our neck of the woods that is enthralled by such moments, there are just as many, if not more, such moments for the Europeans, Austalians, or whatever other continent you want to look at, which hold every bit of the same meaning. Suggesting that these moments are somehow better than a dramatic goal in the World Cup, or a big save in the finale of the English Premier League, is opinion pure and simple. Not objective assessment of the facts at hand, but rather, our biased viewpoints on what is significant and what is not.

No offense intended Big Sexy, it has been a clean debate thus far, and I for one do not intend to change this in the dying days of the discussions.
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Old 03-07-2011, 10:35 AM
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Which raises the question as to why the sport hasn't been more marketed heavily, doesn't it? By my figure, the NFL was formed in 1920 as the American Professional football Association. Two years later, in 1922, it was changed to be known as the National Football League, the same very league under which it derives it's name from today. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Professional_football

As for basketball, its professonal origins can be dated back to 1932, when the first game was played between Toronto and New York. The difference is, basketball is marketed more heavily internationally, and it' not even close. Since FIBA was formed in 1989, 214 nations become members.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interna...all_Federation

So while the sport of American football may be marketed more heavily in certain markets, that has to raise the question about global appeal. The fact that in the time between 1989-2011 214 nations have joined its association. Currently, the penultimate markets for professional(and college) football are restricted to the United States and Canada alone. So while football has had more time to aggressively pursue an International market, it has yet to do so. Professional basketball has established both a presence overseas with it's own federation that's not mutually exclusive to North America. Further, since 1992, its greatest athletes have begun playing at the Olympic level, which is the largest stage in the world. So while basketball has had less time to broaden it's appeal, its fairy obvious that it has done so with leaps and bounds in comparison to American football.
Some excellent points are being made in these paragraphs here. No one is really questioning the fact that soccer is by far and away the most significant global phenomenon of the three sports being discussed in this thread. This point is beyond debate, and I really do not plan to discuss it any further until my concluding remarks. The only question really to be discussed is, how significant is this component of the discussion to the discussion at hand in it's entirety.

The point being made here is that in terms of football and basketball, football has had more time and opportunity to expand it's horizons on a global basis, yet it has failed to do so. The bottom line regarding popularity on a global worldwide scale is simply this. Soccer>>>basketball>>>>>>football. Let's accept this fact and move on to the rest of the discussion.
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Old 03-07-2011, 05:52 PM
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Basketball is certainly more popular on a global scale than football is, on this there can be no debate, just like there can be no debate that they both are eclipsed by soccer. Soccer is marketed all across the world because the audience is there. Basketball is marketed more heavily than football is, because again, the market is there to be had. Football does not have the same market availability outside of North America, with the exception of the occasional showcase such as Wembley Stadium or Mexico City. I do not think it is accurate to suggest that the NFL is of a lower standing internationally because it is not marketed there, I think that is a bit of a cop out. If the target market was there, you can be sure that Gooddell would be all over it, trying to spread the wings of the NFL on a more global scale. Simply put, based upon NFL Europe and other measuring sticks, the appeal upon which to promote the NFL outside of North America is simply not there.
Goodell IS all over it trying to expand the market and he has done a great job in doing so thus far. I already explained why NFL Europe didn't work and it had nothing to do with the sport itself. The latest efforts from the NFL to expand its audience internationally have been great.

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There is no doubt that basketball players are great athletes. So too are football players, but neither of them are as overall athletic and well rounded as are soccer players. I find fault with the notion that no sport is as physically or mentally demanding as football. The whole argument of the capacity to play two sports is irrelevant to this discussion. Sure, a handful of guys have played two sports professionally, Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders being two high profile guys to have done so. Most guys, though, even if they have the natural ability to play both, do not do so in the end. So the fact that they have the capacity to do so is irrelevant to the discussion at hand. I don't think that the ability too play two sports in and of itself means you are a better overall athlete. It may in fact mean you are a "Jack of all trades but a master of none". Let's focus our attention at the one sport that the athlete chooses to focus on, and compare the athleticism required to play it at the upper echelon of sports, to the athleticism of soccer players. Plus, bearing in mind the inherent biases thay all three of us share regarding North American sports, neither of us is really in a position to draw parallels to soccer on this point. How many soccer players also have the ability to play something else professionally, such as baseball, cricket, rugby, or whatever. I have no idea frankly, and I doubt you guys do either. Making this an academic point.
The fact that NFL players succeed at other sports in college and sometimes even get drafted to other professional leagues is very relevant to how great of athletes they are. No athlete is more well rounded then American Football players which is why they are able to have success at so many things. No athlete on the whole is stronger, faster, or more agile then NFL players. Most positions need great speed, strength, and agility. Basketball and soccer players are great athletes in their own right and may have more endurance then American Football players but as overall athletes they just aren't on the level of American Football players.


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This entire section is blocked full of the biases and personal preferences which I have respectfully suggested are clouding your objective assessment of the question at hand. Please let us be crystal clear on one point. I accused you of bias and arrogance regarding your viewpoints, which seems to have offended you. Frankly, this was in no way intended to be a derogatory comment or in no way "calling you out" as you suggested. This entire SDL debate has been waged above the board for all 14 rounds, and I for one am certainly not going to change this now. Maybe arrogance was a little strong of a word. But not intended to be derogatory or insulting. Frankly, I would suggest that all three of us are North American sports fans first and foremost, and all three of us are susceptible to such biases and such arrogance.
The paragraph wasn't full of bias at all. It was full of great moments from the game of football which has helped contribute to the sports greatness.


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You provide lists of "great moments" for basketball and football, all of which are viewed through the rose colored glasses of the North American sports fan. Honestly, I myself am more intrigued by any of them as opposed to whatever soccer has to offer. As such, I too am guilty of the same arrogance that I accuse you of, and I am not insulting myself when I say this. All I am saying is that it is short sighted, biased, and a little arrogant for all of us to compile lists of this nature and suggest that these great moments have more value, more drama, more intrigue, than anything soccer has to offer across the pond. Because for every Big Sexy, or LSN80, or hatehabsforever in our neck of the woods that is enthralled by such moments, there are just as many, if not more, such moments for the Europeans, Austalians, or whatever other continent you want to look at, which hold every bit of the same meaning. Suggesting that these moments are somehow better than a dramatic goal in the World Cup, or a big save in the finale of the English Premier League, is opinion pure and simple. Not objective assessment of the facts at hand, but rather, our biased viewpoints on what is significant and what is not.
LSN brought up some great moments from the sport he chose to show how exciting the sport was. I followed suit by listing some great moments of my own to show the excitement factor in the game of American Football. There's no bias or arrogance anywhere, just simply showing some exciting moments that contribute to the sports greatness. I realize the game of soccer has some tremendous moments too but why would I discuss those moments? I'm debating for the right sport here which is American Football.

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No offense intended Big Sexy, it has been a clean debate thus far, and I for one do not intend to change this in the dying days of the discussions.
Nor do I.
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Old 03-07-2011, 08:59 PM
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There has been considerable discussion throughout this thread regarding the global appeal of the various sports in question. I think we have reached a consensus that it is pretty much undebatable that soccer has greater global appeal, more widespread international profile, that it easily exceeds both basketball and football with regards to broad range appeal on a global scale. For the purpose of this discussion, I will put this discussion to rest.

There has also been interesting discussion about the great moments that any given sport must share, moments that inspire awe, drama, heartbreak, or ecstasy, with the thought being that for any sport to be considered the greatest sport in the world, it must have some significant defining moments, moments which move the audience, wherever they may be situated.

LSN80 mentions such moments for basketball. Michael Jordan. Kobe Bryant. Magic Johnson. Christian Laettner. Big Sexy does the same for football. Cal/Stanford. The Flutie Hail Mary. The Vince Young Rose Bowl. Music City Miracle. The Immaculate Reception. The Joe Namath guarantee of victory. The David Tyree catch LSN even posed the questions. "Where are the stories like this in soccer? Where are the moments that truly make the sport great?"

Let's look beyond what our myopic North American eyes will allow us to see. How about Diego Maradona in 1986 versus England? At one point in the game, there is the "hand of God" goal, one of the most controversial goals in World Cup history, one which is still looked at harshly today, two and a half decades later. 4 minutes later, the same Diego Maradona scores what is considered to be the "goal of the century, breaking past five defenders to score again in a display of athleticism and desire. Don't moments like these deserve to be recognized as being worthy of such holy f**k moments? How about in the next game of the same year, versus Belgium, when Maradona yet again takes over, scoring both goals in a 2-0 victory? I would suggest that the play of Maradona in the 1986 World Cup is certainly comparable to anything Michael Jordan or Tom Brady could bring to their sports, and when looked at through the eyes of the people most invested in it, such as the Argentinians or anyone else in the world who is paassionate about the World Cup, is every bit as equally significant a moment.

How about when Pele scored the final goal of the 1958 World Cup for Brazil? Or when David Platt scored the "wonder goal" in 1990. How about the Baggio missed opportunity in 1994, or when Andres Escobar scored into his own net (resulting in his own demise when he was murdered by a crazed fan 10 days later)?

How do you think the French felt when Zinedine Zidane, playing in his final game ever versus Italy, inexplicably headbutted Marco Materazzi in extra time, resulting in his ejection and an eventual loss for his team on penalty kicks? I am not even a soccer fan, by any stretch of the imagination, yet a quick google search tonight of these incidents, and a plethora of others, too numerous to list here, showed me several instances of "moments of significance", incidents that occurred and instilled emotions in a ravenous fan base which are every bit as real and significant as what Joe Montana or Larry Bird consistently inspires in those of us who prefer the North American sports scene.

Point being, soccer has a lot more going for it than simply the undeniable global popularity it enjoys. It too has no shortage of special moments which characterize and define the history, the legacy, the aura of the sport. Take these two facts, and throw in the athleticism of the participants, the passion of the fans, and the rich history of the sport, and I continue to maintain, soccer simply has to be seen as the greatest sport in the world.
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Old 03-08-2011, 05:40 PM
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Closing Argument

The greatest sport in the world is American Football. If we were talking about the most popular or most well known sports globally then my answer would be different but that's not what the question is asking. Based on the question, I came up with some criteria to come up with my answer and support it. My criteria included the game itself, the players, and the fans. I showed how the game of American Football is the most exciting, intense competition in the world. It can be played at all levels and is easy to follow. I also showed how American Football players are the best, most well rounded athletes in the world. With a combination of great speed, agility, strength, and endurance, and the ability to succeed at multiple other sports, no other athlete can compete with them. I finally showed how American Football fans are some of the best in the world. They show great loyalty and support at all levels and the average attendance for NFL games is higher then the attendance for any other league in the world and it isn't really that close, with an Indian Cricket league being in second place a good 10,000 fans behind. I followed this criteria throughout the entire debate and used it to defend my choice against that of my opposition.

One of my opponents, Hatehabs, chose soccer. While soccer may be the most popular sport worldwide it certainly isn't the greatest as popularity does not equal greatness. His main arguments happened to discuss soccer's worldwide popularity which I will once again say isn't overly important to this specific topic. When he tried to debate against my choice with similar criteria he failed. Nothing he did showed that Soccer was superior to American Football in terms of the athletes or the game itself. The fans of soccer are tremendous and equally as loyal and supportive as American Football fans but that does not make the sport greater.

My other opponent, LSN, chose basketball. He used a similar criteria to mine just named slightly different. However, at every turn I proved that American Football was greater in every single aspect. Again I showed how American Football players had superior athletes and how the game of American Football was superior to that of basketball. Basketball, like soccer, has great fans but definitely not better then the fans of American Football.

Both of my opponents came up with solid choices but in the end neither provided anything that showed their respective choices were greater then mine. Because of this it is easy to see that the greatest sport of all time is American Football.
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