Futbol is played competitively and leisurely the world over, but football is primarily a (north) American sport. For every Tim, Dan, Sarah, and Minh who would prefer to see football remain American (geographically and ideologically), there are Drakes, Keiths, Amys, and Kims who would very much like to see football sweep across the globe just like futbol. The motivation behind Tim, Dan, Sarah, and Minh’s reluctance to share? Mainstream American films, music, computer software, food products, and clothing brands have already infiltrated global commercial culture–can’t there be something that Tim-and-tow can still call their own? Something that can be seen by other countries on the television but can only be experienced in-person on the North American continent? *NFL Europe was a fine concept and didn’t need any “re-evaluation” as far as Tim et al are concerned).
Drake, Keith, Amy, and Kim, on the other hand, are being very generous and as cultural and political missionaries, they don’t want to force foreigners to trek all the way across the Atlantic or Pacific oceans to watch some gridiron competition in the flesh. Precisely because American lifestyle choices (and in other cases intellectual arguments) have successfully expanded and anchored in other regions of the world, competitive sport is the next logical addition.
Without further ado, Sickly sweet from NFL.com:
Goodell: Making NFL the ‘world’s passion’
National Football League
Note: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell delivered the opening remarks this morning at a sports business conference in London. Coinciding with this weekend’s Dolphins-Giants game at Wembley Stadium, the conference — “Sport 2020: The changing face of the global sports industry” — featured several NFL owners and some of the biggest names in the sports industry. The following is a transcript of Goodell’s remarks:
Good morning and thank you, Daniel, for those generous words and especially for organizing today’s event.
Thanks to all of you for joining us from the four corners of the world and nearly every sport imaginable. This is very exciting and ground-breaking.
It is a pleasure to be with you for today’s conference and the week-long festivities that culminate Sunday at Wembley Stadium. The historic first regular-season NFL game played outside of North America is a milestone for the NFL and the international growth of our game.
I would like to extend a special welcome to Wayne Huizenga of the Miami Dolphins and Jonathan Tisch of the New York Giants. Thank you for being our pioneers and bringing your teams here during the heart of the season. This was especially challenging for Wayne, whose team gave up a home game. Not that Mr. Tisch is feeling much sympathy, but we do appreciate what you have done Wayne in leading the way.
We’ve come a long way since we started bringing our game overseas.
While we are the number-one sport in the U.S., our future success will depend in large part on our ability to globalize. As the world shrinks, thanks to emerging technology, we will increasingly become partners with many of you in this room.
To read the rest of Goodell’s remarks, click here.
Thinking about the sport historically, the cultivation of football was an attempt at making it different from futbol and rugby, to make it something easily embraced by Americans. Over 100 years has passed, though. Geography and geology might still literally and physically separate humans, but binary code is able to overcome that distance. I understand and can imagine the economic and financial factors that would necessitate the NFL to reconsider any voluntary or involuntary isolationist behaviors. There are so many potential future NFL players and fans out there. There are monetary benefits, of course, but there are also psychological and personal rewards. I’m sure the owner of an NFL franchise would be thrilled that young boys in Beijing, Tokyo, Paris, Madrid, or Sydney love his team. I wouldn’t be surprised either if the administrators of the NFL start gloating that football has replaced baseball or basketball as the favorite American sport among the young people of other nations.
And yet, there is a part of me that empathizes with Tim, Dan, Sarah, and Minh. What could they call their own now?
I’m going to a Halloween party tomorrow night and will be watching the UGA vs. Florida game on Saturday (expect an entry on it). I’m also planning on watching Saw IV (guilty pleasure!!!) at some point this weekend, so I’m not sure when I’ll have the analysis of The Comebacks and Not Another Teen Movie up. There appears to be a lot more to think about–in the mean time, here is the review of The Comebacks that I wrote for Filmthreat.com.