Skeptic Friends Network

Username:
Password:
Save Password
Forgot your Password?
Home | Forums | Active Topics | Active Polls | Register | FAQ | Contact Us  
  Connect: Chat | SFN Messenger | Buddy List | Members
Personalize: Profile | My Page | Forum Bookmarks  
 All Forums
 Interactive SFN Forums
 Comments on Articles
 Sports Fandom and Soccer
 New Topic  Reply to Topic
 Printer Friendly Bookmark this Topic BookMark Topic
Next Page
Author Previous Topic Topic Next Topic
Page: of 2

Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
25973 Posts

Posted - 07/15/2012 :  17:38:25  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
This thread is for posting comments about the SFN article “Sports Fandom and Soccer” Please try to keep posts on topic. Only registered users may post comments.

On fire for Christ
SFN Regular

Saudi Arabia
1263 Posts

Posted - 07/15/2012 :  20:45:46   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send On fire for Christ a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Personally I think the criticisms are post-hoc rationalizations to explain something they are culturally predisposed to dislike. The USA is not the only country where Association Football is not a major sport. Japan for example have borrowed 2 American "sports", baseball and professional wrestling, which are now huge parts of their culture. Sports which are not popular in neighbouring countries.

Many sports originate from England, e.g. Rugby, cricket, field Hockey. But generally speaking most of these are only played in former colonies where it was popularized by the British. The only sport that really spread more "naturally" was football/soccer. A good reason for this is because football requires bare-minimum equipment to play. Anything can be used as a goalpost, any kind of ball is sufficient, it can be played on almost any surface. Basketball is the American equivalent of this, (all you need is a ball and a hoop) and consequently basketball is exploding with popularity around the world.
This is why in almost any country around the world you can see kids in any slum playing football in the streets. It has always traditionally been a game for the working classes in Britain, with Cricket and Rugby being more for public schoolboys. It's not a game like American football, skill is paramount over athleticism, people are never drafted in from other sports, you do not receive academic scholarships, any child with talent will normally be taken out of regular school and put in a training academy by age 12. Consequently the vast majority of football players have bare minimum education. It's very much a working class game, a game of the people.

Edited by - On fire for Christ on 07/15/2012 20:49:44
Go to Top of Page

Machi4velli
SFN Regular

USA
854 Posts

Posted - 07/15/2012 :  21:09:44   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Machi4velli a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I don't know that the article really explains just how rare NFL ties are -- there have only been two since 2000! And that's with I think 256 games each season, so we're talking 2 out of 3000+ games. It's also not possible in NFL playoffs or college. I'm not sure ties aren't rather unpopular among American sports fans, I recall people complaining about the last NFL tie even. With the exception of this extremely rare occurrence, no sports popular in America allow ties, and if they did in the past, the rules have been changed (football).

I don't really agree there was a consensus by analysts that the Alabama/LSU regular season game was a result of sloppy play. As far as I can remember, it was largely praised for being exceptionally good defense by both teams. (Yes, Alabama was criticized for missing field goals, but usually when analysts say sloppy they're referring to bad interceptions, fumbles, penalties, and the like, none of which were huge in the game.)

It's fair to say most analysts said the Big 12 teams, Oregon, West Virginia, etc, had poor defenses and played against other teams with poor defenses and so weren't praised for being high-scoring as much. But one reason is that LSU played both Oregon and WVU, scored 40 against each, and won by 20. That was evidence they had poor defenses, not the high scores when they played each other. (Big 12 teams didn't play many perceived elite defenses at all, so they were seen as untested.) So a criticism of high scoring games between these teams isn't necessarily a criticism of high scoring in general.

All of this comes together to me rejecting the idea that fans want to see the "expected scoring range." It's just that this is usually what happens between reasonably evenly matched, balanced teams.

On the main point, I agree that cultural relevance is a prerequisite for a sport to be popular at all, and is probably the most important factor.

It's not even a need for lots of people to participate in the sport, it's just the existence of a critical mass of interest (critical density is a more correct phrase) that allows it to spread. A good example I think is auto racing. NASCAR is very popular in the US, but very few people actually race cars. One may say, they drive cars and wish they raced them, so they have something in common with the sport, but all other forms of racing are much less popular in contrast to most of the driving world (Indy series and Formula 1 racing get some coverage but it's way behind and mostly lands on smaller networks).

"Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people."
-Giordano Bruno

"The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, but the illusion of knowledge."
-Stephen Hawking

"Seeking what is true is not seeking what is desirable"
-Albert Camus
Go to Top of Page

Cuneiformist
The Imperfectionist

USA
4954 Posts

Posted - 07/15/2012 :  23:19:01   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Cuneiformist a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Machi4velli

I don't know that the article really explains just how rare NFL ties are -- there have only been two since 2000! And that's with I think 256 games each season, so we're talking 2 out of 3000+ games. It's also not possible in NFL playoffs or college. I'm not sure ties aren't rather unpopular among American sports fans, I recall people complaining about the last NFL tie even. With the exception of this extremely rare occurrence, no sports popular in America allow ties, and if they did in the past, the rules have been changed (football).
Sure, and I'm sorry if I didn't explain that very well. Ties are rare in the NFL. But they happened, and they also happened in college football. I am firmly convinced, though, that any sort of negative sentiment is a result of herd-mentality sports radio talk, and hardly rational. After all, it's still a result. An NFL team that finishes 11-5 bests a team that finishes 10-5-1.

Indeed, if your team is struggling for a play-off spot and they go on the road to play the division leader and walk out with a tie, that's a good thing. It can be better if another rival-- also vying for a play-off spot-- loses.

Note, from Wikipedia, the following re the 1968 Yale v. Harvard game:
The Harvard team made what is considered a miraculous last-moment comeback, scoring 16 points in the final 42 seconds to tie a highly touted Yale squad. Yale came into the game with a 16-game winning streak and its quarterback, Brian Dowling, had only lost one game when he was in the starting lineup since the sixth grade.
The Harvard school newspaper's headline following the game read "Harvard Beats Yale, 29-29." A tie is clearly a result that can be interesting and important. To dismiss a sport as "boring" simply because ties exist is to buy into a clearly false myth largely pushed for decades by an unthinking (and somewhat jingoistic and xenophobic) sports media culture.

All of this aside, the fact remains that the talk about how Americans don't like ties assumes a monolithic mindset of tens of millions (or more) sports fans that I find hard to believe. As I said above, I think it's the result of fans who don't reflect much on sports being pelted with anti-tie sentiment from various sports media outlets.

I don't really agree there was a consensus by analysts that the Alabama/LSU regular season game was a result of sloppy play. As far as I can remember, it was largely praised for being exceptionally good defense by both teams. (Yes, Alabama was criticized for missing field goals, but usually when analysts say sloppy they're referring to bad interceptions, fumbles, penalties, and the like, none of which were huge in the game.)
Perhaps sloppy wasn't the correct word. I'm an avid sports radio listener and check a few sports sites and blogs regularly. While "great defense" was obviously something people pointed to, you also hear a lot about poor play-calling and sup-par performances from offensive personnel-- particularly quarterback play (e.g. missing open receivers, etc.).

It's fair to say most analysts said the Big 12 teams, Oregon, West Virginia, etc, had poor defenses and played against other teams with poor defenses and so weren't praised for being high-scoring as much. But one reason is that LSU played both Oregon and WVU, scored 40 against each, and won by 20. That was evidence they had poor defenses, not the high scores when they played each other. (Big 12 teams didn't play many perceived elite defenses at all, so they were seen as untested.) So a criticism of high scoring games between these teams isn't necessarily a criticism of high scoring in general.
My point was simply that were you to see a college football game where two ranked teams that were considered to be evenly matched score absurdly high numbers-- 64 to 58 or something-- you'd certainly hear about it, and not in a positive way. Granted, those games are rare (the nature of sports makes this so), but I seriously doubt that Americans-like-more-scoring mantra would hold true if the national championship game featured two great teams playing for a combined score of over 100 points.

All of this comes together to me rejecting the idea that fans want to see the "expected scoring range." It's just that this is usually what happens between reasonably evenly matched, balanced teams.
Hmmmm. So if you saw two "reasonably evenly matched" teams in the Super Bowl play to a 75-66 game, that would be normal and everyone would love it? I seriously doubt that. If a World Series game 7 between two "reasonably evenly matched" teams had a final score of 28-22, would that be thought of as a fun classic? Or would people be talking about horrible pitching and defense?

On the main point, I agree that cultural relevance is a prerequisite for a sport to be popular at all, and is probably the most important factor.

It's not even a need for lots of people to participate in the sport, it's just the existence of a critical mass of interest (critical density is a more correct phrase) that allows it to spread. A good example I think is auto racing. NASCAR is very popular in the US, but very few people actually race cars. One may say, they drive cars and wish they raced them, so they have something in common with the sport, but all other forms of racing are much less popular in contrast to most of the driving world (Indy series and Formula 1 racing get some coverage but it's way behind and mostly lands on smaller networks).
I agree that you needn't play to appreciate a sport (of my 5 or 6 friends with whom I watch football with, I'm the only one who played-- and that was in high school, which was some time ago. And I watch soccer but never played an organized game in my life). The NASCAR thing is quite interesting, but also points to some cultural differences. As you probably know, auto racing is actually a big deal in Europe but they definitely don't do NASCAR-- and as you note, we don't much do Formula 1 over here. I watch neither sport (I once dated a girl whose circle of friends included NASCAR people, and I recall going over to a big Daytona 500 party. I was pretty lost having only heard of Jeff Gordon and having no opinion of Ford vs. Chevy...), but my guess is that they're ultimately quite similar. The interests in them must then must stem from other factors that have nothing to do with the specifics of it (e.g. how one wins an annual circuit championship or something) and more to do with that critical mass-- i.e. the cultural and social factors I was speaking of.
Edited by - Cuneiformist on 07/16/2012 00:16:06
Go to Top of Page

Cuneiformist
The Imperfectionist

USA
4954 Posts

Posted - 07/15/2012 :  23:33:43   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Cuneiformist a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by On fire for Christ

Personally I think the criticisms are post-hoc rationalizations to explain something they are culturally predisposed to dislike. The USA is not the only country where Association Football is not a major sport. Japan for example have borrowed 2 American "sports", baseball and professional wrestling, which are now huge parts of their culture. Sports which are not popular in neighbouring countries.

Many sports originate from England, e.g. Rugby, cricket, field Hockey. But generally speaking most of these are only played in former colonies where it was popularized by the British.
This is quote true, and in longer drafts of this piece, I went in to a long discussion of just this thing. There is a history to why baseball is big in Japan. Similarly-- as you noted-- England exported many of their sports to various colonies where it caught on. There are historical reasons why cricket is big in India, for instance, but not China or Mongolia. And it's got nothing to do with Mongolians liking (or not liking) some aspect of cricket-- and if the cricket people would just tweak something about the sport then suddenly Mongolians would flock to the TV to watch and start playing in droves.

The only sport that really spread more "naturally" was football/soccer. A good reason for this is because football requires bare-minimum equipment to play. Anything can be used as a goalpost, any kind of ball is sufficient, it can be played on almost any surface. Basketball is the American equivalent of this, (all you need is a ball and a hoop) and consequently basketball is exploding with popularity around the world.
I'm not so convinced of this, though I agree that it is worth considering. There may be something to what we might call a sports "simplicity" (in terms of equipment, playing space, etc.) in it being easier to have people play. But as I was talking about with Machi4velli a sport need not be played by a person for that person to like it.


This is why in almost any country around the world you can see kids in any slum playing football in the streets. It has always traditionally been a game for the working classes in Britain, with Cricket and Rugby being more for public schoolboys. It's not a game like American football, skill is paramount over athleticism, people are never drafted in from other sports, you do not receive academic scholarships, any child with talent will normally be taken out of regular school and put in a training academy by age 12. Consequently the vast majority of football players have bare minimum education. It's very much a working class game, a game of the people.
I'm not sure of your point here-- are you saying that American football is a game of the people? Or that soccer ("football" in most other places) is?

Either way, there certainly is a social element to a person having an interest in a sport, for sure. I didn't highlight that in my contribution, but it is certainly true, and part of that social element are the people you run around with who are often of similar economic status.
Go to Top of Page

On fire for Christ
SFN Regular

Saudi Arabia
1263 Posts

Posted - 07/16/2012 :  00:37:52   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send On fire for Christ a Private Message  Reply with Quote
a sport need not be played by a person for that person to like it.


Doesn't need to be, sure, but that doesn't mean there is no correlation. Plenty of people watch things they have no experience of. But if they did grow up playing a sport, it suggests to me they will have a greater passion for it. Indeed you can start watching a sport you've never tried in your life. But with a sport you've grown up playing, participating in and watching people play, that experience and familiarity is already there. You understand the rules already, you've already seen people play during your own experience. You may even have started watching before you ever played it.



Another thing you have to remember is how partisan different areas can be. Football is almost like a religion, you support teams based on where you are from. Some people don't even like football but they still support their local team. It's probably more likely for someone to switch religion than to change the club they support. If you go to a place like Glasgow religion and football go hand in hand, with the 2 major clubs Rangers and Celtic representing Protestant and Catholic fans respectively. For someone raised in that environment football becomes something more than just a sport you enjoy to watch.


I'm not sure of your point here-- are you saying that American football is a game of the people? Or that soccer ("football" in most other places) is?

Either way, there certainly is a social element to a person having an interest in a sport, for sure. I didn't highlight that in my contribution, but it is certainly true, and part of that social element are the people you run around with who are often of similar economic status.


I wasn't really trying to contrast the two sports so much as highlight why football/soccer is popular. I don't really know enough about American football to comment on it.

Edited by - On fire for Christ on 07/16/2012 00:52:36
Go to Top of Page

Machi4velli
SFN Regular

USA
854 Posts

Posted - 07/16/2012 :  11:32:24   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Machi4velli a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Note, from Wikipedia, the following re the 1968 Yale v. Harvard game:
The Harvard team made what is considered a miraculous last-moment comeback, scoring 16 points in the final 42 seconds to tie a highly touted Yale squad. Yale came into the game with a 16-game winning streak and its quarterback, Brian Dowling, had only lost one game when he was in the starting lineup since the sixth grade.
The Harvard school newspaper's headline following the game read "Harvard Beats Yale, 29-29." A tie is clearly a result that can be interesting and important. To dismiss a sport as "boring" simply because ties exist is to buy into a clearly false myth largely pushed for decades by an unthinking (and somewhat jingoistic and xenophobic) sports media culture.


So there's an example of a good tie that has the benefit of having someone come from way behind, no one supposes there can't be an exciting game that is a tie, but that having it happen often isn't popular. NFL, NCAA, even high school, changed the rules to make ties impossible or nearly so. I assume it's due to a, maybe incorrect, perception among rule-makers that it's what most fans want to see. (From Wiki, MLB has essentially eradicated ties as well over the years, and it's never been possible in any basketball as far as I know.)

I know I don't really want to go to a game that ends in a tie unless something else special happens (say a come-from-behind tie) or a playoff spot is on the line, but I can appreciate that tie-breaking rules can dilute the quality of a winner decision -- i.e. a win in regulation should probably be worth more than a win in some tie-breaking scenario in determining what teams are better. I think we can deal with diluting that slightly (especially in college because you can still consider that in those rankings) in exchange for excitement. A tie is sometimes uninteresting (just as non-ties sometimes are), but tie-breaking scenarios are almost always exciting, it forces some play to happen with the game on the line.

All of this aside, the fact remains that the talk about how Americans don't like ties assumes a monolithic mindset of tens of millions (or more) sports fans that I find hard to believe. As I said above, I think it's the result of fans who don't reflect much on sports being pelted with anti-tie sentiment from various sports media outlets.


It doesn't, the most anyone would argue is that some sizable subset of fans prefer not to have ties. Sports media can encourage the sentiment, but I don't think they can create it. I'm not sure why a cultural environment couldn't make a population predisposed to dislike the inability to declare a winner in a contest.

Hmmmm. So if you saw two "reasonably evenly matched" teams in the Super Bowl play to a 75-66 game, that would be normal and everyone would love it? I seriously doubt that.


Probably not, but by balanced teams I meant teams that are not particularly bad defensively. If the offenses are just making amazing plays against decent defense, it's not going to be panned. Examples are anecdotal and don't prove much, but just for some support, there was Baylor-TCU (maybe got a pass for the exciting late comeback), some Stanford games in 2011, the 2006 national championship game is remembered as one of the best in recent years by many at 41-38.

"Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people."
-Giordano Bruno

"The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, but the illusion of knowledge."
-Stephen Hawking

"Seeking what is true is not seeking what is desirable"
-Albert Camus
Go to Top of Page

Hal
Skeptic Friend

USA
302 Posts

Posted - 07/16/2012 :  12:40:09   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Hal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by On fire for Christ

a sport need not be played by a person for that person to like it.


Doesn't need to be, sure, but that doesn't mean there is no correlation. Plenty of people watch things they have no experience of. But if they did grow up playing a sport, it suggests to me they will have a greater passion for it. Indeed you can start watching a sport you've never tried in your life. But with a sport you've grown up playing, participating in and watching people play, that experience and familiarity is already there. You understand the rules already, you've already seen people play during your own experience. You may even have started watching before you ever played it.


Which raises the interesting point that "Soccer" is played by many more American children than American football. Professional soccer is, consequently, gaining in popularity, but I don't think there is as much sustained interest as one might expect. Perhaps Americans are growing to regard soccer as a kids' sport?

Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.
Martin Luther King Jr.

Go to Top of Page

H. Humbert
SFN Die Hard

USA
4574 Posts

Posted - 07/16/2012 :  13:19:55   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send H. Humbert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Cuneiformist
There may be something to what we might call a sports "simplicity" (in terms of equipment, playing space, etc.) in it being easier to have people play.
And simplicity also means it's cheaper. Soccer seems to be popular in a lot of poor countries because all that's really needed is a ball and an open field. Contrast that with baseball, hockey, golf, or football, all of which require a considerable investment in equipment or facilities. Basketball seems to fill the same cheap sport niche in urban environments.


"A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true." --Demosthenes

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool." --Richard P. Feynman

"Face facts with dignity." --found inside a fortune cookie
Edited by - H. Humbert on 07/16/2012 14:30:52
Go to Top of Page

Hal
Skeptic Friend

USA
302 Posts

Posted - 07/16/2012 :  13:29:49   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Hal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by H. Humbert

Originally posted by Cuneiformist
There may be something to what we might call a sports "simplicity" (in terms of equipment, playing space, etc.) in it being easier to have people play.
And simplicity also means it's cheaper. Soccer seems to be popular in a lot of poor countries because all that's really needed is a ball and an open field. Contrast with with baseball, hockey, or football, all of which requires a considerable investment in equipment.




I was thinking about this point, too. Simplicity certainly makes soccer more accessible than football (I'm giving myself permission to use the American terminology - sorry). I wonder, however, if it doesn't paradoxically lead to the impression that football is the more "serious" sport. That's where the big money goes, after all.
Go to Top of Page

Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
25973 Posts

Posted - 07/16/2012 :  20:38:38   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by H. Humbert

And simplicity also means it's cheaper. Soccer seems to be popular in a lot of poor countries because all that's really needed is a ball and an open field. Contrast that with baseball, hockey, golf, or football, all of which require a considerable investment in equipment or facilities.
If the movies are to be believed, New York City has (or at least had) thriving baseball-like games involving nothing more expensive than a broom handle and a ball of some sort. Bases were provided by parked cars and manhole covers.

In my suburban childhood, cheap bats and gloves were always available at Toys-R-Us, and free balls could be found by going through the tall grass behind the fences at the community baseball fields. As a teen, I did a lot of dog-walking for money, and there was a pair of golden retrievers I took out who could be counted on to find me a baseball or a softball on every single walk (once, one of them came back with a half-deflated soccer ball).

Also, Nerf footballs were nearly standard Xmas presents in the early 1980s. Touch football ruled the neighborhoods and the schools in my area.
Basketball seems to fill the same cheap sport niche in urban environments.
The important part being that the courts, nets and backboards are publicly built. The only expense put on the kids is the ball. But the same is true of baseball. Fly over New York City and you'll see gazillions of baseball fields (not so many in Manhattan, no, but Queens and the Bronx are littered with them). And all those fields can be used as small American football fields, too, if a city street isn't enough room for a dozen kids with a ball.

Having said that, you won't get any argument from me about the expenses involved in hockey or golf. Or even lacrosse.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
Go to Top of Page

H. Humbert
SFN Die Hard

USA
4574 Posts

Posted - 07/17/2012 :  09:34:10   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send H. Humbert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Dave W.
If the movies are to be believed, New York City has (or at least had) thriving baseball-like games involving nothing more expensive than a broom handle and a ball of some sort. Bases were provided by parked cars and manhole covers.
Yeah, I was mostly thinking of rural environments in third-world countries. Even something as simple as a baseball glove (which does require a considerable amount of leather-working craftsmanship to create) is probably beyond most people's means. And the whole team needs to have them, unlike a single ball for a soccer game.


"A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true." --Demosthenes

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool." --Richard P. Feynman

"Face facts with dignity." --found inside a fortune cookie
Edited by - H. Humbert on 07/17/2012 09:35:47
Go to Top of Page

Cuneiformist
The Imperfectionist

USA
4954 Posts

Posted - 07/17/2012 :  10:46:01   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Cuneiformist a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by H. Humbert

Originally posted by Dave W.
If the movies are to be believed, New York City has (or at least had) thriving baseball-like games involving nothing more expensive than a broom handle and a ball of some sort. Bases were provided by parked cars and manhole covers.
Yeah, I was mostly thinking of rural environments in third-world countries. Even something as simple as a baseball glove (which does require a considerable amount of leather-working craftsmanship to create) is probably beyond most people's means. And the whole team needs to have them, unlike a single ball for a soccer game.
Well, except that in a lot of very poor Central American and Caribbean countries, baseball is king-- over even soccer. They probably don't play with brand new gloves, but they're willing to spend money on them because it's what you do there.
Go to Top of Page

Cuneiformist
The Imperfectionist

USA
4954 Posts

Posted - 07/17/2012 :  11:02:04   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Cuneiformist a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Machi4velli

Note, from Wikipedia, the following re the 1968 Yale v. Harvard game:
The Harvard team made what is considered a miraculous last-moment comeback, scoring 16 points in the final 42 seconds to tie a highly touted Yale squad. Yale came into the game with a 16-game winning streak and its quarterback, Brian Dowling, had only lost one game when he was in the starting lineup since the sixth grade.
The Harvard school newspaper's headline following the game read "Harvard Beats Yale, 29-29." A tie is clearly a result that can be interesting and important. To dismiss a sport as "boring" simply because ties exist is to buy into a clearly false myth largely pushed for decades by an unthinking (and somewhat jingoistic and xenophobic) sports media culture.


So there's an example of a good tie that has the benefit of having someone come from way behind, no one supposes there can't be an exciting game that is a tie, but that having it happen often isn't popular. NFL, NCAA, even high school, changed the rules to make ties impossible or nearly so. I assume it's due to a, maybe incorrect, perception among rule-makers that it's what most fans want to see. (From Wiki, MLB has essentially eradicated ties as well over the years, and it's never been possible in any basketball as far as I know.)
To be sure there's been a shift among American sports to do away with ties. But can anyone say that, for instance, people like hockey now more than ca. 10 or 20 years ago when it actually had ties? Has anyone come out and said "Thank god hockey did away with ties-- now I'll watch!"?? I've never been able to find such a sentiment. Likewise, I can't find anyone saying "You know, back before the mid 90's a few college football games ended in ties and I couldn't stand it. Now that they got rid of that, I'm more willing to watch!"

Of course not. Likewise, I can't imagine anyone saying "The main reason I don't watch soccer is because there are ties, and if the just got rid of that I'd be more inclined to watch." I just find it hard to believe.

And perhaps you're right when you state that
the most anyone would argue is that some sizable subset of fans prefer not to have ties. Sports media can encourage the sentiment, but I don't think they can create it. I'm not sure why a cultural environment couldn't make a population predisposed to dislike the inability to declare a winner in a contest.
Maybe. Perhaps there's something "cultural" that makes Indians love movies in Hindi with lots singing and dancing. But nevertheless, I am not convinced that the main discriminatory aspect of soccer's appeal in America is because it has ties.

(And for the record, whenever any NFC East team not named "The Dallas Cowboys" plays another NFC East team, I root for a tie.)

[quote][quote]Hmmmm. So if you saw two "reasonably evenly matched" teams in the Super Bowl play to a 75-66 game, that would be normal and everyone would love it? I seriously doubt that.


Probably not, but by balanced teams I meant teams that are not particularly bad defensively. If the offenses are just making amazing plays against decent defense, it's not going to be panned. Examples are anecdotal and don't prove much, but just for some support, there was Baylor-TCU (maybe got a pass for the exciting late comeback), some Stanford games in 2011, the 2006 national championship game is remembered as one of the best in recent years by many at 41-38.
Well, let's be clear: college football has a tendency to have higher scoring games than the NFL. A college game of 41-38, even among similarly-ranked teams, seems within the realm of normal. But 41-38 in the NFL is quite high.
Go to Top of Page

Cuneiformist
The Imperfectionist

USA
4954 Posts

Posted - 08/08/2012 :  21:42:26   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Cuneiformist a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Reading this piece at ESPN about the decathlon (it is the 2012 Olympics, kids) made me roll my eyes. After making the trenchant observation that the event isn't as popular as it once was, the author tries to reason why this is. He posits 3 factors:

1. We aren't as interested in generalists-- I don't even know what that means.

2. No time-- The argument here is that people don't have time to follow a two day event. This also doesn't make any sense (we are watching the US Beach Volleyball team play games for a longer span, aren't we? And swimming, and so on, and so on.

3. We're not good at math-- Here, he laments the complex scoring system of the decathlon. It's unclear how this is a problem when the complex scoring of diving, gymnastics, ice skating, and so on, aren't a problem.

In all, whenever you see someone try to blame a sport's popularity (or lack of it) on stuff like this ("This is just too complex for Americans; we like things simple") you should know immediately that this is just some hack trying to make a deadline by spewing out these simplistic, superficial observations, and not someone who's really put thought into actually answering the question.
Go to Top of Page

Machi4velli
SFN Regular

USA
854 Posts

Posted - 08/08/2012 :  22:08:22   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Machi4velli a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'd say it just had bad time slots and not much hype. I've yet to hear anything about the athletes participating in it and I've watched quite a lot of the olympics, only heard about it for the first time tonight. And they're just now starting it after some time of other track and field events getting airtime (which were really the same events these athletes are doing).

With #1, I think he means that the athletes are good all-around, but aren't the best in any of the events. Usually specialists are best at most events. I don't see why that should matter though, it's just a different sort of skill being tested.

"Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people."
-Giordano Bruno

"The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, but the illusion of knowledge."
-Stephen Hawking

"Seeking what is true is not seeking what is desirable"
-Albert Camus
Edited by - Machi4velli on 08/08/2012 22:14:44
Go to Top of Page
Page: of 2 Previous Topic Topic Next Topic  
Next Page
 New Topic  Reply to Topic
 Printer Friendly Bookmark this Topic BookMark Topic
Jump To:

The mission of the Skeptic Friends Network is to promote skepticism, critical thinking, science and logic as the best methods for evaluating all claims of fact, and we invite active participation by our members to create a skeptical community with a wide variety of viewpoints and expertise.


Home | Skeptic Forums | Skeptic Summary | The Kil Report | Creation/Evolution | Rationally Speaking | Skeptillaneous | About Skepticism | Fan Mail | Claims List | Calendar & Events | Skeptic Links | Book Reviews | Gift Shop | SFN on Facebook | Staff | Contact Us

Skeptic Friends Network
© 2008 Skeptic Friends Network Go To Top Of Page
This page was generated in 0.45 seconds.
Powered by @tomic Studio
Snitz Forums 2000