For those of you who have been appropriately ignoring this year’s World Cup action, Saturday saw a semi-surprising tie between the United States and soccer-loving England, thanks to a blunder by British goalie Robert Green. Now, whenever a World Cup rolls around it provokes a tired debate in America between the rabidly pro-soccer and the staunchly anti-soccer. This debate is stupid: While many Americans have the same passive, nationalistic faux-fan relationship with the World Cup that they have with the Olympics, soccer is self-evidently awful.
There are many complicated and deep theories about why soccer is awful—soccer is un-American, soccer embraces “Outcast Culture,” soccer doesn’t attract the best American athletes, soccer is too hard to understand, etc.—but the real reason was evident as the ball slipped out of Green’s hands: Soccer is too low-scoring. Continue reading
Having two weeks off leading up to the Super Bowl is great—so long as you’re a fan of one of the two teams playing. That fortnight is filled with excitement, to the point where you can celebrate the previous week’s win and your trip to the big game before getting anxious about how the Super Bowl is actually going to play out.
But for everyone else, it kind of sucks. The game itself becomes something of an afterthought, with more faux-analysis and soft features than any normal fan can bear to consume. Those two weeks also lead to a lot of articles like this one from John Clayton, recounting the Super Bowl’s greatest plays.
Anyone’s list of the top plays in Super Bowl history was pretty stagnant for a while, but the last two years have each provided very memorable moments and legitimate contenders for the top spot. Clayton opts to go with James Harrison’s first-half, 100-yard interception return in Super Bowl XLIII, turning what could have been a Cardinals’ score into a Steeler touchdown. I don’t take a huge issue with this decision; if John Clayton had had this at No. 1 with an otherwise logical and reasonable list, I wouldn’t be writing.