10 reasons why American Football is better than Soccer

Unlike in soccer, American Football match officials can review key plays on the spot to ensure they made the right decision.

Unlike in soccer, American Football match officials can review key plays on the spot to ensure they made the right decision.

SuperBowl 47 rolls around next week, which means American Football will find its way into the sports pages of European media outlets. This generally gives rise to a certain amount of commentary about the sport, much of which is characterised by bewilderment at the popularity of the sport in the US.

Comments such as “there are more players on the side line than on the pitch”, or “the game lasts for 60 minutes but takes 4 hours to play” are pretty common, and even among sportwriters themselves, as much attention is given to the fluff like the Half Time show and the cost of commercials as to the actual matchup between the teams involved.

This is unfortunate, as American Football is a fascinating sport comprising an immense array of skill, strategy and psychology, which regularly yields up wonderfully tense and exciting sporting contests.

As a long time fan myself, I thought I’d offer up a little taster for the uninitiated, by comparing American Football to the sport we are most familiar with in Europe, soccer.

In listing these reasons, I’ve deliberately stayed away from comparisons between the physical nature of the sports, and the skills involved in playing them, where comparison will always be a matter of conjecture, and focused instead on the rules, norms and structure of the sports, which are more factual.

1. Cheating hasn’t become part of the game

Whether or not American Football players have more moral scruples than soccer players is debatable, but one thing is for certain, its much harder to cheat in American Football, which seems to result in fewer players attempting to do so.

Simulation, feigning injury, deliberate handball and time wasting are all practically unheard of in American Football, while pervasive in soccer.

2. American Football isn’t dominated by a small group of cash rich clubs

Because American Football incorporates a Draft system, in which the weakest teams in any given year get first pick on the best new players coming out of the college football system, no team can every dominate the sport in the way that certain European soccer clubs have over recent decades.

3. Players respect the officials

The sight of a player, or a group of players, berating an official in American Football is very rare indeed, and where it occurs, the penalty is pretty severe: a 15 yard penalty and possible elimination from the game, which is more or less the same punishment you receive for attacking another player with your helmet.

4. Key decisions are assisted by technology

How many times have we seen the outcome of soccer matches decided by officials getting the call wrong on a key play, where they’ve awarded a penalty where they shouldn’t have, or where they have disallowed a goal they shouldn’t have?

This simply doesn’t happen in American Football. Coaches have the right the challenge official decisions, wherein the referee can then refer to video technology to confirm their decision. It means that while not every fan can go home happy, they can at least go home without feeling cheated.

5. There is no time wasting

In American Football, when the ball is no longer in play, due to either having gone out of play, or a play breaking down, the game clock is stopped. That means players can’t gain any advantage by spending longer than usual setting up a particular passage of play, like they do in soccer, with a goal kick, or a throw in.

In an American Football game, other than for the 40 seconds that the Quarterback is allowed to set up each consecutive play, the ball is in play for the full 60 minutes of each game.

(There are no ball boys either, or ball men, and there is more than one ball, so lying on top of the ball on the sideline isn’t really worth your while.)

6. The governing body of American Football is not corrupt

Its unlikely the SuperBowl will be played in Qatar any time soon.

7. There is only one competition

In Europe, most successful soccer clubs will participate in 3-4 competitions during the year, resulting in lots of drab, pedestrian matches played out between teams that don’t include the clubs best players.

This doesn’t happen in American Football. There is one competition, that runs over a period of 20 weeks, with one prize, which every teams competes in to the best of their ability.

8. There is always something to play for

Because of the way the SuperBowl Championship is structured, where teams are ceded on the basis of how many games they have won and lost, rather than on points, and where higher ceding confers home field advantage during the playoff phase, there is nearly always something to play for in American Football games.

For instance if a team had only one regular season game left to play, and had already won 15 out of its previous 16 games, guaranteeing quantification for the playoffs, they would still have an incentive to win their last game, to guarantee that they would play all their playoff games at home.

9. Scores must be earned

There are no penalty kicks in American Football. If you want to score, you either have to get the ball into the endzone or kick it through the posts.

In soccer, a player can be awarded a penalty for having his shirt tugged, which could decide the outcome of the game, even if this happened when he was 17 yards from the goal, on the byline, with 8 opposing players between him and the goal.

10. Games are not decided by penalty shootouts

If the knockout phase of the Superbowl playoffs, if a game ends in a tie, the 2 teams will keep playing 15 minutes quarters until one of them scores. Games are never decided on the basis of a goalkeeper guessing which way to jump when faced with a penalty kick.

36 thoughts on “10 reasons why American Football is better than Soccer

  1. Dan

    I’m a Brit and I’ve never been a fan of football (soccer).

    In 2013 I married my wife (unsurprisingly) and she’s American. As a result I was exposed to the NFL. It was like the clouds parted and I was bathed in gorgeous warm sunshine.

    American Football (or ‘football’ as I’ve started to call it – much to annoyance of my ‘soccer’ loving pals) is simply awesome. It has drama, action, anticipation and a strategic edge that I love. It’s fair, fun and f*cking brilliant.

    Great post 😉

  2. Ollie

    How can you compare the two sports ? There completely different it’s like comparing swimming to boxing , there just completely different it you want a sport to compare with american football it’s rugby

  3. Lila

    this is the worst article to exist on the planet. SOCCER will forever and always be BETTER. Is a beautiful game, unlike football, where there is a bunch of shitty tackling. SOCCER is played all around the world. Is football? No, it’s not, so that should prove why it is just 10000x better. But no, that doesn’t satisfy you enough. Football is a boring game, unless you enjoy seeing men yell and beat each other up. This discussion needs to end, American football never wins over soccer. -From an AMERICAN.

    1. admin Post author

      I made the point about the being of the post that I was going to compare the sports not on the basis of the physicality or skills involved, but on the basis of rules and organisation. Soccer will always be the world’s favourite sport, but that doesn’t mean it can’t learn from other sports.

      1. Abby

        You are totally wrong do you see soccer players actually using their brain.
        If you put a football player vs a soccer player(no pads) who do you think would win

        1. Caden

          A Football player becasue even without there pads they would destroy a soccer player soccer people are twigs some people maybe no but most pepole yes football they are body builders

    2. Cesar

      It isnt played all around the world because not everyone can take the grusomness of the sport. Join a football team and go to the 3 hour practices in 80 degree weather. This sport is very hard. I am sure 75%+ of people have thought about quitting because of how hard it is. The conditioning is litterally sprinting until your body cant. You csn barely breathe because of the mouthpiece and your legs can barely move because youve been getting helmets to the quads all day at practice

      1. Abby

        Agreed I play football on just a little league team and our coach sulotion to everything is to run till you throw up

        1. Stephen

          have you ever run Cross Country? cause if running is what you think makes a sport great, then you must love Cross Country

      2. Bill

        I agree. I play football, and your right, for conditioning we sprint until we reach muscle failure. It is a badass sport compared to soccer, thats all there is to it.

      3. Logan

        That’s called athletics! Every elite athlete in a physically demanding sport has to go through the exact same rigorous workouts and long training sessions .. If you want to start comparing sports then why not compare AF to Rugby? These guys train just as hard, just as long, but in England, the weather gets in the negative degrees, and the players have no padding or long clothing to keep them warm. It’s brutal, skin on skin contact, and when you are on the floor during a ruck, theres people standing on your fingers, standing on your face, 20+ stone men landing on your head with no helments, punches being thrown without the protection of a face mask .. American Footballers are tremendous athletes, but to call them the toughest because they train for 3 hours in the sunshine is ridiculous.

    3. Kiki moren

      Football is played all around the world and has possibility of being in the next summer Olympics there are many leagues and is the most popular sport in America second most in germany and Canada and third in France. It also has the highest growith rate if any sport round the world. Football is much more complicated than u think. I have n9thing against soccer and it is a great sport but I can’t stand it when someone dissmisses a sport when they know nothing about it.

    4. Omar Almeraz

      I think football is way better. The only reason it’s not worldwide is because of the same reasons soccer will never grow on America. There is not much people who care about it in other countries because they have become accustomed to the sports they already have. But I’ll bet that if other countries made football leagues and have the people at least a taste of football then the sport would have more fans than soccer does.
      Coming From A Mexican

    5. Huhhhh

      the reason football is not played all around the world is because Americans understand it better and are more athletic and better at the sport, not because it is not fun.

    6. London

      But soccer has WAY more flopping or faking injuries. Football has real player to player contact, while soccer is just a boring sport overall.

  4. Prada

    Lmao what is this in all honesty, you are most likely some white guy from North Carolina that hasn’t played soccer before and I don’t mean when you were two or three I mean competitively. YOU are being biased which is why this is an invalid argument in order for this to be fair you would have to look at both sides of the argument. You chose to only look at one side and that is it maybe if you were smart enough to look at both sides you would see how soccer is a better sport; its not that I am biased about I have to agree some things about American football are better than soccer but if you add things up ultimately soccer is the better sport.

    1. Kyle

      Hey Im a black guy from north carolina ok and also I play some soccer and Football both great sports but there just a bad ass factor to football

  5. J.S. Heard

    One of the most common criticisms of American Football by soccer fans is the amount of time spent “standing around” by the players between plays. What they fail to realize or comprehend is the intense amount of strategy that is being contemplated and implemented between plays. For those who understand the game, this “down” time is often filled with a great deal of anticipation and excitement. The thing is, each play is a “mini contest” in itself, with a plethora of play options and potential outcomes. Compare this to the one-dimensional drudgery of a ball being incessantly kicked around back and forth with occasional flashes of excitement which are few and far between and usually end in disappointment. Then you will see there simply is no comparison.

    1. Stephen

      have you ever actually watched a soccer game? cause I’m starting to doubt it. and btw, you argue like a four year old, show me some facts!

  6. james

    lmao this was so shit. American football is trash. the one competition is stupid cuz it makes it boring asf watching all the teams play for one trophy whereas in soccer there are a lot which keeps it exciting. and the time wasting? dude football is wasted by the freaking commercials theres only like 20 mins of actaul game play the rest is commercials, set ups, and players scratching there nuts. and for penalties, you dont get one for pulling the players shirt you get one if you make a hard tackle on the other player. and finally the penalty shoot out. there is time added if you dont win in the full 90 mins. itz only after the 15mins that they go to penalties they dont just got straight to it. this is a dumb post.

  7. jack

    You guys serious? I was reading this comments and i could see all of the shit coming out from you guys. He is just saying good advantages about football than soccer idiots. There are advantages about soccer too but in this article he is talking about football advantages lmao And “Football is better than Soccer” this is a
    opinion idiots you have to respect him. You guys are just a fucking kid who is whining about a fucking opinion. Didn’t learn how to respect a person from your parents?

  8. Erin Howarth

    I hate American football because there is so much down time. During most of the game, the players are huddling or loitering on the field. Each play takes only a few seconds, but I’m stuck at the field for hours. It’s a little more interesting if I just watch the highlight reels on evening news. On the other hand, the author makes good points. I absolutely despise feigning injury, bad referee calls, and the corruption of FIFA. I hate it when my favorite players leave town to compete with the national team, and I’m not a fan of penally kicks or shoot outs. These are problems which could be fixed, and I would love to see those changes come to pass.

  9. aze

    Oh-oh-oh. One more blinded american. Half of the reasons you had been listed are stupid and just show how you just don’t understand the beauty of the football ( soccer ).


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