Football / Football II: Superbowl XLIII

Part I.

Hello, my name is Mark Shields and I watched the Superbowl. Yes, I gave in to all my British stubbornness and threw my football caution to the wind and decided to sit down at 11pm and watch the Greatest Show On Earth (TM). The hype was large - a whitewash was expected from the Steelers as the Cardinals were not be counted on, having been the whipping boys of the league for years past.

The stage was set. I had my tea, my chocolate biscuits and my curiosity piqued. I had a keen eye on the rules via Wikipedia, a keen ear on the commentators, one of whom was legend John Madden, a person even I know who is, and for time eternal I sat, waiting for the shine of light that was understanding.

It never came. I just didn't get there. I don't fully understand the game and I went into the game even worse than I thought. I thought I understood how it worked, I thought I knew the basics and I was certain I knew the scoring system, but I'll be damned, I had no clue. It took me until the 2nd quarter to realise how you lost possession (or changed from Offense to Defense).

But boy did I enjoy it. It was most excellent. The game was perfectly poised - the best defense against the second best offense. The two teams were wanting it and going for it, even though the Steelers seemed more in the game in the first half, the Cardinals were oh so nearly infront if it weren't for a simply astonishing 100yard play. If I am to expect that sort of thing each game then strike me down right now.

The game is very different to Football. it is more about placing the plays in the right place, out-playing your opponent using tactics and exploiting a weakness that you have been able to figure out. Each member of the offense team has a job and if that job is not done right the whole play collapses - likewise in defense, if you miss your player or mistime a block you loose him and potentially loose a fair amount of yards.

I realy did enjoy it as a diversion. Football is all about the flow and individual skill, with some perfect passing and good close play. Football on the other hand is about set pieces, well thought out tactics, the ability to lead from one person at the back and poise your plays in a dramatic fashion. Rugby, which I will be watching this weekend, is much a mix of both. The scrum and line-outs being tactically sound, but the forward passing of a team and the line-movement of a flowing game. I'll see what the Americans think of it.