10 Reasons Why the Premier League Is Better Than The NFL

Finding a soccer club has completely changed the way I view sports and makes me want to shout its merits from the rooftops to the unconverted. You definitely risk preaching to the choir on a soccer website, but there’s a burning desire coming from within me to do so anyways.

These are my 10 best arguments for soccer fandom being better than American football fandom. You can easily be a fan of both because of the time differences of the games, but I wanted to go after the scalp of the media stalwart of American sports!

1. Amount of Games/Length of Season

A typical NFL season runs from September to December — 4 months. It is seventeen weeks long and there is a bye week stuffed in there. Twenty out of the 32 teams (63%) play just 16 out of 52 weeks in the year. This is not due to poor planning. It’s a result of the physicality of the league and the impracticality of prolonging the season or adding two-game weeks. From a personal standpoint, I don’t even know how players can manage sixteen games as ten games in high school and college left me physically and emotionally drained of most of my willpower.

A Premier League season lasts from August until May — 10 months.  It may sound a little too long to the person who has never lived through a season as a diehard, but there are three or four international breaks stuffed in there where you are lacking a league game for a weekend. Those tend to keep you refreshed until the dying embers in May. Every team is guaranteed 38 league games as well as one or more games in the League Cup and FA Cup. The majority of teams will play more than that. There are many weeks during the season where you get midweek games. Meanwhile, Thursday night NFL games are followed by ten days off.

The soccer season being longer is better for the fan because you get more games to enjoy and the perfection of the scheduling means that everyone plays every other league team home and away. It’s also a fair way to assess the champion. NFL scheduling is supposed to give the better teams tougher schedules, but the volatility in the league from year to year makes it farcical.

2. Relegation Battles

When the 0-10 Jacksonville Jaguars and 4-6 Buffalo Bills face off in November, a neutral is only watching that one if they have CJ Spiller in their fantasy league or they have put copious amounts of money on one of the teams.

I was engaged in a matchup this past weekend between the 19th and 20th placed clubs in the Premier League because of relegation. This season is a special one as far as the relegation battle is concerned because we are 75% through the season and the entire bottom half of the table is still threatened with the possibility of relegation. West Ham is in 10th and any points gained at this stage make the beer that night taste much sweeter because they are that much closer to staying up. The NFL system might even encourage you to root for your team to lose once they are out of the playoff race to improve draft status. It leads to some strange internal mental battles as far as what’s best for the good of the team.

3. Proximity of Clubs

Searching on Google Maps has led me to find that the largest distance between EPL clubs this season is a 6 hour drive from Newcastle to Southampton. It would take 48 hours to drive from Seattle to Miami. Does this matter? Maybe not, but I think it can add to the supporter experience. If you are a Newcastle supporter and Champions League qualification comes down to the last game of the season in Southampton, that trip is a reasonable journey to make year on year. The NFL version of that is once or twice in a lifetime type of stuff that will cost you ten times the amount of money. Northern vs. Southern tension can also add a little bit of flavor to the mix.

4. Crowds

NFL crowds are lame. I feel like I barely even need to write anything here because a passionate NFL fan couldn’t even come up with a coherent argument against it. I’d reckon that the bulk of the home field advantage in the league stems from the road team sleeping in a hotel instead of their real beds. The Seahawks, Chiefs, and Broncos can definitely sway ball games with their crowds, but 3 out of 32 teams is a pathetic core of crowd strength. I’ve been to more than five regular season games in the past five years in a couple of different venues with playoff implications in play and any atmosphere was only coming from the PA system and the music.

Wigan is now relegated from the Premier League, but their games the last couple of seasons were poorly attended and there seemed to be a lack of supporter engagement. They stuck out like a sore thumb. That’s because every other Premier League venue up and down England and Wales seems to be rocking for any match you watch. Knowing a crowd is up for a game is important to me. I start to feel an emotional connection to a game when I wake up at 7:45am ET and Rebecca Lowe sends us to a fully packed stadium of a struggling club in the middle of the season. The fans are up for it because that’s their life. When you basically only support one club, there’s no other alternative and it results in white hot atmospheres. There’s simply no comparison in professional American sports. If the Bruins lose in the playoffs, you move on to the Red Sox and so on.

Player songs and personalized crowd chants are some of the most brilliant aspects of soccer crowds. If a manager is under the hot seat and his team are getting beat 3-nil, you can expect something demeaning like “You’re getting sacked in the morning.” They add to the atmosphere and ignite more hatred between supporters. The most you are getting from an NFL crowd is the crowd humming the tune of “Seven Nation Army” or something that every other stadium is doing.

5. Post-season

There is a romance that the NFL has manufactured with the single-elimination format where 38% of the league gets to participate. Single elimination games are pressure cookers for drama and can often turn indifferent venues and fans into a completely different animal. My issue with this format is that one game can lead to fluky results and that the champion doesn’t necessarily represent the best of what the league had to offer that year. Weather, bad individual performances, the volatility that exists in one game, or bad refereeing decision can all play a part. The New England Patriots in their undefeated regular season performance are probably the biggest casualty in this format. Their historical placement is drastically altered when they were probably head and shoulders better than the rest of the league. That one game flukiness definitely exists in the one-off UEFA Champions League Final as well, but there are more games to weed out Cinderella stories with the group stages and the 2-legged matchups leading up to it.

Qualifying for the Champions League and the regality around the competition is simply boss for someone who has only experienced American playoffs. UEFA have created a monster here. Even the draws to find out which team you are going to face off against are anticipated greatly. I’ve geeked out for it even though my team hasn’t been in the competition. Europa League lacks most of the punch and I think the issue is that there isn’t really significant money involved for the winner, but the addition of Champions League qualification for the champion in the near future should do wonders. It is thought of as a poisoned chalice for now because it adds on the games without giving you the funds to add reinforcements to your squad. I genuinely wonder how Swansea and Wigan fans have felt about it in recent years as it must be pretty exciting to be able to be recognized on a world stage. Fans love more games, though, and a midweek game under the lights in the knockout stage has definitely gotten my blood pumping.

6. Drama

It is possible that most of my issues pertaining to a lack of drama in the NFL are related to the fact that my American football team (Buffalo) hasn’t made the playoffs since 1999 and hasn’t really come too close otherwise. Parity in the league can be good and bad from a fan’s standpoint. Picking who I want to win in a September Jets and Patriots game is tough because you don’t know if you will be duking it out with both teams for the division, wildcard, or something else. It mostly becomes a situation where you can only go all out rooting for your own team. The rest of the league takes 8-10 weeks of sorting out before your rooting interests become obvious.

Before the Premier League season starts, it’s pretty clear which teams you will be rubbing shoulders with by April and May in the table. This leads to a very strong rooting interest from day one for most clubs. It’s why I fist pump and go crazy for a West Brom goal against Manchester United early in the season or get dejected as Artur Boruc is gifting a goal to Olivier Giroud. Fewer teams and the regular season being of uber-importance lead to end to end drama. The ‘regular season’ having an actual champion also has interesting consequences. Where in the NFL, the last week in the regular season will have the majority of teams looking ahead to next season or resting starters for the playoffs, the EPL’s last day usually features a fixture list with something at stake in each match. An average soccer match having about 3 goals also leads to a high chance of drama. Nil-nil scores are often brought up to beat over the head of soccer supporters, but those can sometimes be end-to-end thrillers.

7. Clubs vs. Franchises

Any owner from abroad that comes into England and thinks they are getting a cash cow that needs little maintenance is sure to be mistaken. Because the identity of many of these clubs is woven into the actual city itself, it becomes a political force. If you have low shirt sales in an American franchise, you can change the logo and the colors and might come up with a winner, sales-wise. Vincent Tan has tried to do this (and many other bizarre things) with Cardiff and it has made the city loathe the owner who took them up to the Premier League. Supporters groups actually have a voice and can make stands against higher ticket prices or just about anything they desire. There is a much different vibe with NFL franchises and they feel much more like corporations where it’d be impossible to catch the eye of the CEO. With only 8 home games per year, it’s also very hard to feel like you are ingrained in the culture of the club and location that surrounds it. Many franchises have had a transient history and that is extremely rare in any soccer club.

8. Gameplay

The actual sport of soccer was the part that caught my eye during the World Cup. The running time and fluidity of the game was a breath of fresh air from the stop-start, commercial-infested waters of American sports. You will get 45 minutes of the sport being played and a 15 minute halftime. Sure, a team like Stoke City can make 25 of those minutes feel like the stop-start variety with their set pieces, but I’ve found them to be a rarity and it’s actually quite fun to watch them do it against your rivals.

The detractors will always bring up the flopping. It does exist, but it’s much less than I had anticipated. Flopping and diving are also thrown into the English news cycle to a comparable level to what we see about Lebron James or Peyton Manning and his Omaha here in the States. As a result, repeat offenders are swarmed non-stop by fans and the media alike.

According to a Wall Street Journal article from Biderman in 2010, there are only 11 minutes of actual gameplay during the 3 hour NFL broadcasts and a full hour of commercials. It feels more natural watching a NFL game when it’s on television, but in person at the stadium, it’s just weird. We are also conditioned to it, but it’s just a brutal commercial fest. An average of 12 total penalties per game also adds to the deterioration of game time. For me, a lot of it is unbearable now after becoming a soccer freak. I simply can’t handle it.

9. Rivalries

Rivalries can be downright shocking in the sport of soccer. It makes you scratch your head a bit at the soft label that is constantly on the tips of detractors’ tongues. Constantly touted rivalries in American sports like the Cowboys-Giants, Yankees-Red Sox, and Ohio State-Michigan pale in comparison even to some of the lesser rivalries in English football. Any Red Sox game will feature a crowd interspersed with fans of both teams. That doesn’t cut it in England or any other European crowd for that matter. Violence would almost certainly ensue, if not for away fans regulations. Hatred goes a few levels further for soccer rivalries as some of the more extreme fans in the Liverpool and Manchester United use chants to mock tragic instances in the clubs’ histories. Local police often suggest earlier kickoff times for derbies as it means there is less time for fans to drink. These precautions are not even an afterthought in American sports.

Location plays a part in some; intense histories in others. When both of those streams meet together, watch out.

10. Media Rights

DIRECTV and the NFL have been in a partnership for as long as I can remember. This is not good for the out-of-market fan that can’t get access to that TV provider or simply doesn’t want to deal with it. Out of ten games in the 1pm and 4pm EST time slots, three are usually picked for national broadcasts. One of those 3 games is usually the local team and you are bang out of luck if your favorite team is in the same time zone as that local team. The alternative is to go to a bar with the NFL Sunday Ticket. I have done this at times, but my preferred method of following a team is on my couch and devoid of distractions. It can also get expensive to go out so often and I’m not going to go out and sip on waters at a bar because I am really self conscious and would assume the wait staff is clowning on me and my ginger hair in the back room. NFL RedZone has been a breath of fresh air and an amazingly innovative product, but it can be maddening if you are only following your favorite team with that medium.

There are now ways to watch your favorite Premier League team live and in HD every single week. It can be the best team in the league or the worst. Not every cable provider is on board, but I’ve found that most TV providers offer Premier League Extra Time. You can also bail on a game if one of the teams is getting blown out, where you are basically stuck with the national pick if it is the NFL. I’ve had 3 games going at times this season: one on the laptop, one on the TV, and one on the tablet. That’s just not something I ever would’ve thought to do with NFL games.

In summary, the rise of soccer in my consciousness has made the NFL and college football unwatchable for me. I tried a year without a fantasy football team last season and found out that that had been the only thing keeping me around. My Sunday afternoons are free now. Wait, except for Serie A, La Liga, and the MLS, but that’s a whole other story!


I am a Liverpool supporter.
I am a Buffalo Bills fan that doesn’t live in the Buffalo region.
I played American football in high school and in college.
I have only been watching soccer since the 2010 World Cup.
I have lived the majority of my life in the northeast of the United States where college sports are 5th on the importance list after the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB.

49 thoughts on “10 Reasons Why the Premier League Is Better Than The NFL”

      1. Your own opinion. Some people like one sport and don’t like another. Some like hockey, others don’t, some like NASCAR, other don’t.

        Everyone has something they like and don’t like, doesn’t make the sport good or bad.

        1. Every single sport you noted is only done either in the US only or US and Canada. Where football is played all over the world.

          1. Do you not know how big ice hockey is in europe? Scandinavia, Russia, eastern europe. Pretty sure theyre not in north america

        2. The sport of American Football is good. The presentation of the sport is awful. EPL has spoiled me. The NFL games are rife with commercials. I can’t stand to really watch any games live.

  1. As someone who enjoys both leagues I have no idea why there is a need to compare two totally different sports.

    There’s no relegation in any American league, so why is that used in a comparison (reason 2)? I mean it’s not the NFL’s fault that the United States is much larger than England (reason 3). You do know UEFA watered down the European Cup to let teams who don’t win their leagues into the Champions League right (reason 5)?

    You’re making me sound like a pro-NFL person but again this comparison has no logic to stand on.

    1. I agree with everything you said Fernando. Also, why compare two different sports to each other?

      I think both leagues are with their faults and success, this happens.

    2. Let’s use your logic. England, a country the size of Florida supports four professional divisions and two amateur divisions of football.

      1. You’re missing the point and not using my logic. The issue isn’t amount of teams, it’s how close all the cities are.

  2. Stupid comparison. Might as well compare with other leagues in other random sports. Ten reasons why is better than the local curling league…..

  3. Good read. I should point out NFL players have their own style of diving as well when they fake injuries to get timeouts on the field.

    There’s a lot here that can’t be helped. For example if all NFL teams were within 6 hours driving from each other, no doubt the crowds would be different, just as if all NFL teams could play each other twice a playoff may not be needed. It’s like driving a Hummer or a Maserati. They both are fun and will appeal to you differently.

  4. Good arguments for football vs American football. I can only speak intelligently on Am. Football as I have a similar history to the author. I’m just not a fan of “my sport is better than yours” kind of thing. As an American I can say that I have experienced many closed minded sports fans in the States when it comes to acceptance of football.

    The thing I regret which nothing can be done about now is the fact that I was born in the States and rooted for the Chicago Sting from the long-defunct NASL, which I believe comprised of washed up greats from around the world, and players not good enough for Europe. Basically I can appreciate the sport and its great history (more rich and significant IMO than the NFL), but I can never have true ties or live and die with an English football team like a local can. Beyond that, any sports fan who thinks football is unwatchable when the likes of Liverpool takes on Man Utd. on the pristine pitch of Anfield or Old Trafford, needs their head examined.

  5. So football in Europe is better because the fans are violent towards each other more often and mock tragic events? That’s a ridiculous statement.

    1. I have to admit that I did debate internally whether or not to include that. I do disagree with you that it was my statement.

      While I think any fans engaging in those gross chants or gestures are out of order, those types of things add to the atmosphere. It makes the games feel like more than games.

  6. As a huge fan of both sports, I disagree with the majority of the arguments here. It’s too difficult to compare the length of the season with the NFL. The NFL is a much more physical sport compared to soccer. As a fan, a longer season is obviously better, but it would be too hard for the NFL with all the injuries involved. I don’t get the relegation comparison when there is nothing to compare it too. There aren’t lower divisions. As for proximity of teams, you are forgetting the divisions in the NFL. Most teams in each division aren’t too far away from each other. Seattle and Miami only play maybe once every 4 years. There are way more than just 3 teams that have good crowds. Seattle, Denver, New Orleans, Green Bay, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Philly, KC, etc. I don’t agree with your postseason argument. Winning in the regular season is one thing, the playoffs another. The playoffs are a completely different season. If the Patriots were truly the best, they should have won the Super Bowl the year they went undefeated. There are no excuses.

    I do agree with you on gameplay. That’s one of the reasons I have become such a huge fan of soccer. I’ve become so sick of all those commercials during an NFL game. It’s getting really ridiculous.

    For rivalries, I completely disagree. There are some great rivalries in the NFL and college football. One big rivalry you don’t mention is the Dodgers/Giants rivalry. People have been killed over that, although I don’t agree with trying to use violence as which rivalry is better.

    For media rights, Directv just gives the NFL the bigger amount of money. Every TV provider has a chance to bid on the Sunday Ticket rights. Directv’s contract with the NFL expires after next season. I’m sure there will be a big bidding war. It’s the same as the EPL rights here in the states with FOX vs NBC. Your argument applies all over the world. Of course the local market team will be shown over a team from a different city.

    Finally, I did enjoy the article even though I disagree with the majority of it.

  7. Another Buffalo Bills fan…how ’bout that? I have gotten away from the whole “which is better” debate. I think they have equal merits, but association football does have a simplicity and symmetry that makes other sports often seem contrived. Thanks!

  8. The only way that the NFL is better then the EPL, is parity. In the last days of the 1st Division, it seemed that while teams like Forrest, Leeds and Liverpool struck up titles, there were Villas, Derby, Man U Man City, Everton and Arsenal plucking silverware now and then. In the PL era, You have outside of Blackburn, you have Man U winning something like a dozen times a win here and there by Arsenal, Chelsea Man Cty.

    1. That is one of many reasons the NFL is better. I love soccer, but basically it’s always the same teams at the top of the table in all of the top leagues in Europe. The NFL is more exciting because you really don’t know who is going to win the Super Bowl. You can pretty much buy a title in the EPL whereas the NFL, you can’t due to the salary cap.

      1. Of course the NFL can do this because of equal revenue sharing. The PL will always be divided into the haves and have nots because even if they equally split revenue, there is Champions League and Europa money.

  9. What’s the point of this article? These are two completely different sports. One is limited to a few countries and the other is world wide.

    One using hands 98% of the time, the other the use of foot and head 95% of the time.

    One has been around longer than the other.

    Who cares why EPL is better than the NFL!

    I could write: 10 reasons the Bundesliga is better than the EPL or 10 reasons La Liga is better than Serie A, etc. Compare alike sports and leagues from around the world, that would be a far better article and comparison.

    For me this article is a waste of this site.

  10. I dont get the animosity toward american football by many soccer fans simply because both sports have the same name.

    The reason they both have the same name is because they both evolved from an ancient sport known as football, “a ball game played on feet”.

    I am a diehard soccer fan, but also love american football. It is an extremely complex and fascinating game. In amongst the 11-13 minutes of “action” are teams lining up, players going in motion, defensive adjustments and the occasional brawl.

    As far as rivalries, have you ever watched a Steelers vs Ravens game?

    And while i agree NFL atmospheres are generally lame (and im a regular attendee of Eagles games, who are supposedly one of the louder fanbases), college football is a completely different animal. There is the intense devotion to college football teams similar to what you describe in soccer. The one or two trips to Penn State i make yearly are the highlights of my sports year. The atmosphere is incredible and when PSU beat undefeated Michigan in fourth overtime last year the stadium was shaking.

    The strategy, teamwork, skill and athleticism required in american football are immense. It is the best sport taken seriously in our country.

    If you soccer fans want a lame sport thats popular in America to attack, there is always baseball. Talk about nothing ever bloody happening and lame atmospheres!

    1. I don’t really get the complexity argument. Teams hardly play defense anymore or run the ball. The game has become completely one dimensional, and they have taken all the hard hitting out of the game. And the amount of commericals you have to sit through are just ridicules. However, I do agree some college football games can be exciting like this years Iron bowl.

      1. Seattle seahawks won the superbowl by playing defense, running the ball and hard hitting over the pass-attack broncos just this year. I agree that lessening the hard hitting has made the game less exciting.

  11. American Football does not even qualify as football when it has more of Rugby.

    So, Soccer Football > American Football.

    I know rugby or American Football is smarter like a chess game but Soccer Football sometimes can be like a chess game.
    Football soccer is more practical and entertaining.

    1. Where do u think rugby, soccer and American football all came from? The same freakig game. Which was called football because it was “a game played on foot”.

      Therefore, american football has just as much right to the name as association football.

  12. Well I am EPLNFL for a reason. Both leagues have unique characterists that make them both compelling. Each have rules and traditions and fans and excitement that seperste them from other sports and leagues. I think the real comparison for the EPL is versus other soccer leagues.

    For the NFL the comparison would be the other major American sports who it clearly outpaces at this time. There is nothing better than a fall weekend with EPL action Saturday, followed by MLS action all night and a Sunday morning of EPL matches and then the NFL until to you go bed.

    1. No, it wouldn’t. The reason the NFL has been compared with the premier league here is because they are the two most popular sports leagues in their respective countries. Rugby and American football have much, much less in common than football and american football. Pisses me off when people compare rugby and NFL when they are completely different.

  13. Love both sports, but in the NFL the animosity is not even close as it was in this soccer documentary I saw about the rivalry between Schalke and Dortmund. It makes the Raiders Chiefs Rivalry look like a picnic.


    in the documentary a man likes Dortmund and his girlfriend Schalke. the game was in Dortmund they were sitting in the Dortmund section. She called the Dortmund club office and asked if she could wear her Schalke kit she was “strongly advised” not to wear it.

  14. Agree with nearly all of your points, but let’s be fair here. NFL’s strength is parity, which is sorely lacking in the super club era of EPL and European football.

  15. Here is what scares American Football fans, and part of the reason the majority hate soccer.

    In fifty years… Their sport will not be the most popular sport in America.

    It will be Football=Soccer


    1. I’m with you 95% of the time Cantona, but think you’re dead wrong on this one.

      In the 40 years since soccer was first going to be “the next big sport” things have not changed appreciably in scholastic sports, which are the developers and feeders here in the U.S. Am. football continues to far outrank all other sports in terms of fanbase, passion and the dreams and expectations of its participants throughout scholastic sports.

      For soccer to take over in the American psyche that would have to completely change. Soccer would have to become the dominant sport in schools across the U.S. from middle school on up through college. That simply isn’t going to happen. Not in 50 years. Not in 100.

      However, I am quite happy with the progress the sport has made. Soccer is now an imbedded professional sport in the U.S. with a sound league. It regularly gets its share of coverage in the media and we fans can max out watching just about all the soccer we can handle. Good enough for me. :-)

      1. No problem Guy… Let me give you my thinking

        1. Globalization.. Prior to he internet no one really could follow football.. Now we can watch every league at the highest level from all over the world and follow every story

        2. Kids UNDERSTAND the game, 10-15 years ago that wasn’t the case you have a whole new generation that have played at some point and know the rules. (Except Gus Johnson)

        3. Demographics: Latin influence is growing, they have grown up with soccer and prefer it to American football.
        4. Immigrants: goes along with the demographic change. But in the 50’s and 60’s immigrants were more likely to assimilate more than today’s immigrants .. Today they can still watch Serie A or the Ecuadorian league so there is less assimilation to traditional US sports

        These are just my opinions.. I don’t mean to offend anyone.. But in South Texas I see it it… Soccer is growing by leaps and bounds… On the field… In the pub..and by the support of local teams


        1. I follow you, but until I see a complete change in the mindset of the scholastic athlete and fanbase I’ll remain a skeptic.

          Now about Gus, we are in absolute agreement! 😉

          1. I reckon everyone ought to play rugby instead, no pads and more flow than football. Tougher challenges go in than in soccer, nobody rolls around like a fanny, the referee gets 100% respect, no mouthing off or answering back.

            Preaching to the converted with you though.

            Need to hammer Italy at the weekend.

    2. this is what soccer-loving losers like you were saying fifty years ago
      and fifty years from now you’ll still be saying that in fifty years soccer will rule
      meanwhile the rest of the country will continue not to care about your boring-as-sin ‘sport’

  16. Fun article. I’m an American who grew up watching the traditional American sports before switching to soccer. And…..it really is a switch. I find that I can’t even be bothered to keep up with any of the American sports. Even my other soccer friends are more generally aware of who is having a good season in the NFL or how Lebron James is playing. I don’t know how this has happened, but it has.

    I honestly, truly believe that soccer is just a better sport.

  17. I want to know why everyone who is just getting into soccer is a Liverpool Fan…..

    I have been a LFC supporter for 20 year and have been to Anfield and met LFC legends..

  18. Meh, I’ll take both. Sundays in the Fall are the best. Soccer in the morning, then football through the afternoon and night. Other than a break to go to Mass, my Sundays in the fall are spent on my bed in front of my TV.

  19. I watch both. In fact, I have a friend from the UK who’s a rival in both versions of football. He cheers Dallas in the NFL, and Arsenal in BPL. I’m a member of the Yid Army and Steeler Nation.

  20. The field is too large, the goal too small. Yes, there’s a lot of moving around but not much real action. One can watch a marathon, but that’a boring as well. Lead changes are rare, there are few drives that really mean anything, and roughly half of the games end in a tie? I can’t contain myself!

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