Americans love many things about Scotland. They love our whisky. They love our brogue even though they can’t understand but a fraction of what a true Scotsman is saying. Americans love our friendly, open nature. Americans love Nessie.
There are a few Scottish things Americans decidedly do not like. They don’t like being on holiday in a place that sees rain almost every day. They don’t like hotels without free Wifi; can’t live without our favourite casino online, now can we? They don’t like driving on the left. And they don’t like football!
We need to educate our American friends about football, especially Ranger football.
What Americans See
An American watching football on television sees a big pitch with players moving sideways instead of forward toward the goal. They see little scoring action. They see players becoming fatigued. They see the clock running down relentlessly no matter what may be happening on the pitch.
If you take an American to a football match, they will see the same things. Being at a stadium to watch football will mean little to an American.
All Hope is Not Lost
It might look hopeless but we can remedy the American misconception of football with a few simple explanatory examples, notes, and exercises. We simply need to tell them what to look for. If they are open-minded, they’ll see what we are telling them to look for and their appreciation of our cherished game will increase.
Behemoths Need Not Apply
In American football—so poorly named because players don’t generally use their fee to kick the ball at all—most of the players are behemoths. Americans like to refer to the players on their teams as “the skilled players” and the other players. Most of the players on the pitch at any time are the non-skilled players. These players are true monsters. In fact, one of the fabled teams in American football, the Chicago Bears, is nicknamed The Monsters of the Midway (even though they are usually amongst the weakest teams in the league).
Point out that in real football, all the players on the pitch are skilled players. They don’t have to weigh 15 stone (at least) to play in our league.
Fatness Encouraged; Fatness Discouraged
A corollary of the behemoth phenomenon in American football is that so many of the big players are also fat.
Point out that in real football, no player is fat.
Offence and Defence
In American football, the players switch entire squads between offence and defence. This means that the players on offence don’t need to be expert in defensive tactics and vice versa.
Point out that in real football every player must be able to seamlessly switch from offence to defence and, in fact, does so dozens of times each game.
In American football, the players must be incredibly strong. They go through intensive weight training throughout their careers. This is because they must be physically able to withstand and endure the huge assaults on their bodies from the many high speed crashes into other players they encounter every game.
Point out that in real football, players must be in the best overall physical condition with emphasis on being able to run for very long stretches of time. In football, if you run almost the full length if the pitch, you must recover quickly because you can’t come out for a rest. In American football, if you run the length of the field, you can come out to rest and breath in some pure oxygen.
Ranger football is predicated on positional play, quick passing, and slow but determined progress. American football is predicated on physically overwhelming the weakest player on the field.
Point out that it often takes a great deal of a match to discover the weakness in the opponent whereas in American football each team knows the opponent’s weakness from the outset.
Even Playing Field
Americans think real football is boring. They say that there is too little actual scoring and few scoring chances.
Point out that in real football the rules are designed to give an advantage to weaker teams. The first such rule is the offside rule. It means that foot speed is not enough to win; you also have to find a tactical advantage over a slower opponent.
The second rule that gives weaker opponents a chance is the substitution rule. Even the best players get tired toward the final 20-30 minutes of a match. It’s always preferable for a good team to score early so that when fatigue strikes they have the advantage of the score.
The third rule is the unsportsmanlike playing rule. In real football, if a player receives a red card, his team must play one man short. In American football, if a player assaults an opponent and is kicked out of the game, his team simply replaces him with a player of comparable skill.
Scotch Whisky versus American Beer
Finally, in a real football match played in Scotland, you can repair to a pub for a pint of the best beer or better yet a shot of excellent Scotch whisky. After an American football game played at an American stadium you can repair to a bar where they serve the worst drink ever invented—American beer!