Three Reasons Why American Football Is Catching On Worldwide

American Football is slowly starting to attract fans overseas ... photo by CC user US Navy (public domain) on

It is little wonder that American football is popular in America. Informally, football is played on makeshift gridirons by kids of all ages. Formally, the Pop-Warner league gets pre-high school kids on the field the moment they are big enough to fit into the pads. The kids love it, as do the fans.

Football is a high-scoring game with a variety of ways to put points on the board. Every play is filled with action, and has the potential for points as the result of a big play. Either side can score. In the recently played Alabama vs. Texas A&M game, Alabama’s defense outscored their offense in a 41 – 23 victory.

There is also a huge payoff for those kids that make it to the pro level. They become instant millionaires. And their families directly benefit from the new-found fortune. The incentives to play American football in America are strong. But what about the rest of the world? Why is football growing in popularity in so many other places. Here are three possible reasons:

It Is Easy to Find a Game on TV

TV was made for sports, and sports for TV. These days, it is difficult to develop interest in a sport if a large audience can’t easily tune in on a lazy weekend to watch a game. You need an easy way to follow your favorite team. In the U.S. there is even more football available to watch on satellite than cable. Different content packages get you different levels of access. There is also a complicated system of local game blackouts that can make it hard to know whether or not you can tune into a particular game. If you want to watch all the Raiders games on satellite TV, click here to check for which content package is right for you.

Not only do we have content packages that allow us to watch all the games played here, but we also get the football games played around the world. We can easily tune into the game of the week, even when that game is being played in Great Britain. As more people around the world are being exposed to American-style football on TV, the popularity of the sport increases.

Football Scores with the Fans

Football is one of the highest scoring, fast-paced games played with a ball. To get more action and higher scores, one would need to turn to basketball. This year, the rules have been tweaked ever so slightly to create the potential for even higher scores. There is no play in football that cannot lead to a score for either side, regardless of who has the ball. Compare this to baseball where only the team at bat has the opportunity to score.

It is not just about the total number of points, but the variety. There are ways to score 1 point, 2 points, 3 points, and six points. Scoring six (a touchdown) affords the opportunity to add 1 or two points to that score. Few games have that many ways to score. It keeps a long game very interesting.

Football Is an Outlet for Aggression

Let’s face it: there are few team sports where the whole point of every play is to hit somebody. Even if the ball carrier slips through the line untouched, a lot of people hit and get hit in order to make that run possible. The movie, “Fight Club” explored the basic need men have to release aggression in controlled environments. Touchdowns get the crowds excited. But a good hit on defense brings them to their feet every time.

Compare American football to these other popular sports around the world. They lack pads and helmets largely because they lack intentional contact with other players. Rugby might be the one exception. Even so, the contact is not quite the same as in American football. The players need it. And the fans need it. There is no skirting around that bit of humanity that American football both recognizes and embraces.

There is little chance that American football will overtake the popularity of soccer, footie, or what most of the world knows as football. But there will always be a place for a sport that is easy to find on TV, scores big with the fans, and provides an outlet for physical contact.

Roll Tide!