Tag Archives: John Cleese

John Cleese on Soccer vs. Football

Or as I like to call it, futbol vs. football.


The wonderful thing about football is how creative it is; and this is why it has never caught on in America.  You see, in America the action is deliberately kept short so that the sponsors can get in as many commercials as possible, and also so that the players don’t have to think for too long.  They get instructions from the quarterback who has in turn received them from the offensive coach.  No one has to think for themselves–this is the Dick Cheney version of creativity, otherwise known as, “doing exactly what you’re told.”

So, you get four seconds of extremely violent action and then the only genuinely creative activity involved: a beer commercial.  So, American football is played like a series of advertising jingles while soccer is played like jazz.  And while we’re on the subject, why do the Americans insist on calling it “soccer”?  Why do they have such a problem calling it “football?”  It’s a game played with a ball that is struck with the foot, hence foot ball.

Are you following this, America? The clue is in the title;  it’s not that difficult.  Whereas “American football,” as they call it, is a game where an object that’s not really a ball at all, it’s the wrong shape for a ball*, is carried around by hand and occasionally thrown for other people to catch in their hands, you see.  Only one person in each team is actually allowed to kick the ball and they have to be specially brought onto the field to do it.  I suppose in its own way that is a form of creativity; it’s quite a creative use of language, you know saying one thing and meaning something completely different.

From The Art of Football.

* John Cleese is right.  It’s not a ball, it’s a prolate spheroid.