Friday, February 03, 2006

The Name Game

It’s that time of year again. It’s time for Superbowl XL! (Some student-athletes may think the ‘XL’ is short for ‘extra large’, but most players who attended Catholic universities will know that it is Latin for ‘40’.) The Superbowl is the ultimate test for teams in the National Football League. It is also the ultimate test for beer drinkers, designers of cheerleader costumes, television decency standards, and people who are not interested in American football.

Unfortunately, the name of this sport does not make a great deal of sense. Aside from the fact that there is a lot of running around, the human foot does not play a major role. There is already another sport called football in which the human foot is a key factor, but Americans call that soccer. Perhaps that is in honour of the socks that are on the feet in question. (Britons who visit the USA will find that using the phrase ‘proper football’ to describe their national sport will not make a lot of sense to the average Yank. The adjective ‘proper’ is no longer used in American English. Try using ‘genyouwine’. You will not be believed but at least you might be understood.)

Other sports have sensible names. Netball uses a net, handball uses the hands, and basketball uses baskets. In volley ball one volleys the ball, and beach ball is conveniently played on a beach. There should be a better name for American football based on the way it is played.

- It is played by two teams whose members are highly paid and get a lot of perks.

- Team members only work during the season and get lots of time off.

- The players travel often and they fly first-class and stay in very expensive hotels.

- Teams have fanatical fan bases that will taunt and insult the opposing team’s fan base.

- Team members play by the rules unless no one can see them not playing by the rules.

- Players can sign lucrative side deals to endorse products and services.

- The media loves to interview team members and then argue about what was said.

- Team operating costs go up every year.

- Retired players get generous pensions and are always welcomed back to the clubhouse.

- Games are played in incredibly expensive facilities paid for by taxpayers.

- The objective of the game is to score more points than your opponent.

Based on these rules, there is clearly a better name for this sport than ‘football’. Since the United States Congress uses the same rules, why not call it ‘sleazeball’?


Blogger Ananke said...

Don't forget that in certain parts of the country, we also like to pronounce "Italian" as "Eye-talian." Not sure why. You're right about the rules for football and Congress being so similar. I suggest that we vote all retired football players into Congress and then when disagreements arise, we just turn them loose on the White House lawn for an impromptu game. Now THAT'S a Superbowl I'd pay to see. ;-)

10:11 AM  
Blogger Abby Taylor said...

Football players everywhere should be horribly insulted by this post. I mean...really... comparing them to POLITICIANS? How low CAN you go?

As always... good'un.

5:33 PM  
Blogger Jorge said...

I'd pay to see congressmen be tackled.

2:25 PM  
Anonymous Aargh said...

Excellent post I completely agree and do not understand the fervor with which these people are treated. For crying out loud they are people who play a game. Half the players cannot even run that well they just lumber around the field. How can you call them atheletes.

2:23 PM  
Blogger Zach Gates said...

Former football player here, high school at least.

If you think they aren't athletes, you've never played the game. Some of these men are over 300 pounds due to the need for enough weight to stop someone running at them (linemen, particularly).

Why do they get the money they do? People pay. Super Bowl tickets cost thousands and people pay. Commercials are millions per minute and businesses pay. It's a perfect example of capitalism and to say that the taxpayer is the reason for all of it is both right and wrong. It's right because all Americans are (generally) taxpayers and those are the people buying $100 shirts and $2000 tickets, but our taxes aren't going there.

I think it's dumb to put that much energy into it, but you can't blame the organizers for utilizing our economic system to its fullest.

1:42 AM  
Blogger Dr.John said...

I think it should be called Millionarie Mud Rolling and Congress should be Millionarie Mudslinging Place. They are alike because congress sells out the people who elect them for lobyist money and football players sell out their loyal fans by going to another team to get more millions.

11:13 AM  
Blogger thosegoldfishes said...

That's a pretty nice article. I never understood why we stole the name of football, especially for such a retarded sport. If you can call a bunch of overgrown men manhandling each other a sport; I call it homosexual.

I wrote a political satire blog that I think you might like here:

check it out. I really like my newest post. Tell me what you think.

5:08 PM  
Blogger birdwoman said...

Well, they play with a pigskin, pigs like to roll in the mud, how about dirtball?

I mean, I wouldn't want to have football players confused with politicians. THat's too big an insult for even me!


1:46 PM  
Anonymous nico said...

Soccer is a term invented in England by the way as a nickname for association football. The term "football" denotes the fact that it is played on the ground, not with the feet.

The various footballs of the world are seperated from "non-football wealthy people" sports like polo and fox hunting.

"Football" is a generic term and can include soccer, Gaelic football (which uses the hands quite a bit), Australian Rules Football (also a lot of hand use), Rugby (a lot of hand use) and American football.

While the name "football" makes the most sense to us moderns for soccer, the name has a long history and includes a variety of sports under it's generic umbrella.

Oh, regarding the fact that football players "cannot even run that well" is hilarious. Many of these guys can run 40 yards in 4.4 seconds. Get a stopwatch and time yourself in the backyard and laught at yourself for how short you measure up to that.

Different sports require different thing. Soccer requires long term endurance (90 minutes with only three subs) and a greater individual fluidity. American football on the other hand requires incredible strength and the ability to repeatedly produce short bursts of explosive power. They're both great. I love them both, but for very different reasons.

11:45 PM  
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8:48 PM  

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