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American Soccer

Super Bowl Sends Powerful Message

This past Sunday’s titillating Super Bowl underscores what Soccer in the U.S. is missing.  The entertainment value was remarkable.  Even without a rooting interest for millions of fans, it is the sport that comes through under pressure.  This past Super Bowl proved once again that football understands American sports fans expectations.

Granted, there have been some duds in Super Bowl history.  But, football seems to have found a way to keep building a new fan base, year after year.  Even when there have been dull or lopsided Super Bowls, the sport still carries over its fans to the next season.  Sunday’s game will reinforce the NFL’s reputation for being the best the U.S. has when it comes to professional sports leagues.

There are great soccer matches all the time throughout the world’s leagues, but for some reason, MLS seems to lack excitement in its games, and in its playoffs.  There was one great final a couple of years ago, but generally speaking, there seems to never be a last-minute goal or a last-minute anything in MLS.

The NFL has done an exceptional job at developing its game to give fans the most amount of drama possible.  NFL games seem to come down to the end so often, why doesn’t this happen enough in MLS?

Also this past Sunday was an incredible tennis final from one of its major tournaments, the Australian Open.  Again, tennis puts the fans at the edge of their seats.  Tennis allows the fans to go for a rollercoaster ride with the players.  One never knows when a match is put away for good.

In the U.S, there are more soccer players than football or tennis players and there are more soccer parents than football and tennis parents.  Soccer should be able to have a Super Bowl type of event in the U.S. someday, but it seems unlikely that MLS or the USL will be the league to pull it off.  Congrats to the winners from this past weekend, football and tennis.

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  1. Jonathan

    February 4, 2009 at 6:45 pm

    What does the Super Bowl have to do with MLS or football in the US in general? Worldwide American football is a niche and odd sport. Football in the US has the same status. End of similarity

    While American football may be America’s favorite sport, this non “native” and new American still can’t watch it live. Watching it on tape or DVD’d is pretty entertaining. Not to mention saves my time from watching ads.

  2. Enrique

    February 4, 2009 at 1:43 pm

    I agree with all the comments. The Super Bowl has become a spectacle, it’s all about money, half of the viewership watch because of everything around it not because they follow the game. It has become a tradition just like Thanksgiving. Look at all the American leagues at age 14 and compare to MLS, you will see that it has been a success so far and has accomplished more in completely different times. College football was way more popular than the NFL when they had 14 years of existence.

  3. Andrew

    February 4, 2009 at 9:55 am

    Mitch – please stop writing and please stop thinking that MLS doesn’t get something that the NFL does.

    The NFL has almost a century of existence on the MLS. People are born and taught about football and supporting NFL teams as though it were a religion. There has yet to be a generation of children to grow up with tales of watching the Columbus Crew move up the table and eventually capture the title. There are not droves of fans sitting down with their children for decades to watch the games right now.

    It’s not for lack of excitement and the fact that it comes down to the last play. No – it’s an ingrained cultural issue. MLS was never going to be the EPL, the NFL, the NBA, or MLB over night, in 5 years, 10 years or 20 years. But in 50 years – you come back to this drivel you have just produced for Google to archive for your immortal embarassment and go – OK, I get it now. I understand that you need fans to breed fans to breed fans and that soccer/MLS has gone from minor-league joke, to after thought, to still a punchline from journalists to having stadiums, signing bigger players and approaching the game with the seriousness that will see it build itself up. And it will happen without hoky rules to make sure Americans sit on the edge of their seat for a commercially interrupted 4 hours to see one team lucky enough to have possesion at the end have a chance to decide a game.

    American sports are terrible.

  4. Gregro7

    February 4, 2009 at 4:51 am

    How Long has the NFL been in business compared to MLS? The NFL didn’t come into it’s own until over 50 years after it’s inception when Roone Arledge brought Monday Night Footbal to Prime time in 1970.

    The NBA used to tape delay their playoff games until 1981/82. The NBA was bleeding red ink until Magic and Bird came in the league.

    MLS has only been in existance for only 14 years. What do you expect.

    What the NFL was able to do is package their game and televise their game in a certain way so that it transended the sporting event. The Super Bowl still does not hold a candle to the World Cup globally.

    When MLS get more mature, as it’s revenues increase and we are able to attract greater talent, MLS can be a big event. This is not going to happen for quite a few years.

    Comparing the NFL, a made for TV sports league and MLS is like comparing apples and oranges.

    MLS is taking a slow and study approach to growth. It will probably never top the NFL. It doesn’t have to.

  5. Kartik

    February 4, 2009 at 7:47 am

    The Super Bowl is such a non entity abroad.

    I’ve spent the last five days in England and then India. While the Super Bowl gets some hype in England, it’s more out of curiosity. In India, the Super Bowl wasn’t even on TV yet other American sporting events such as the winter X games, the Celtics and the Sixers and UNC vs Maryland have all been shown live while Duke-Virginia was shown on tape delay during when the Super Bowl would be live.

    The NFL has ZERO appeal outside the US. For this reason MLS would be better served to mimic the NBA (or even college basketball) whose success abroad is unquestioned than the NFL.

  6. eric

    February 4, 2009 at 2:17 am

    The Super Bowl and American Football in general cannot even be considered a sport.
    Out of a three hour telecast the ball in in play no more than 17 mins. The rest of the
    telecast is Talking Heads, Time Outs, BS & Commercials. Can you imagine marathon
    runners at the olympics resting every 5 mins for a commercial break. The NFL ceased
    being a sport thans to television. Its a variety show no more no less.

  7. Ric

    February 3, 2009 at 11:56 pm

    There’s also the fact that the SuperBowl Sunday, for many Americans, has absolutely nothing to do with football. Check out how much press Springsteen and the commercials got, and how much press the half-time and commercials always get. Combine that with the gambling and partying angle, and for many the game is secondary.

    Also, consider that for every NFL game that ends close, there’re plenty that finish with about 10% of the fans still in the stadium because the game’s out of reach.

    And highlighting the sunday tennis final is fun, but remember that the Australian Open Women’s final was a 50-minute laugher. And the last major tennis tournament final, the US Open final from last year, was a three set mauling.

    As aaron mentioned, the MLS playoffs had exciting moments (past the previous mentioned examples, Houston scored their one playoff goal this year in the 85th minute). Besides those, there were other late, dramatic moments (Columbus beating DC with the help of the post in the last game of the regular season?).

    So deep down, I really don’t think your argument holds.

  8. J

    February 3, 2009 at 11:44 pm

    We know he’s not taking any writing classes either.

  9. aaron

    February 3, 2009 at 10:15 pm

    are you kidding me? majorleaguesoccertalkcom must let anyone write an article, independant of their knowledge of MLS. how can you work for a MLS website and not know about the RSL Crapids game that Movsysian scored in the final minute to send RSL to the playoffs? or what about the playoff game between RSL and the Red Bulls? RSL hit the post 3 times in the last 5 minutes of the game.
    you must be watching the wrong games, if you are even watching any games.

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