One of the most enduring transatlantic debates tends to be about who the ‘real men’ are. American football is much faster and rougher, the Americans argue. “Ah yes,” the British answer: “But anyone could do that if they were wearing crash helmets and more padding than the average walrus”.
Who is right? Well, in truth, it really doesn’t matter much. Because what both sides fail to appreciate is that, despite the shape of the ball and the greenness of the grass, they are two very different sports.
American football, like rugby, is a fairly complicated game – but also a tremendously exciting one. The NFL has recently launched a website aimed at non-Americans to explain the sport in an entertaining way. With the Super Bowl fast approaching, rugby fans are invited to visit Coach Stilo, a free online game, in time to get the most out of the Super Bowl on 1st February.
Coach Stilo is the head coach of a fictional NFL team who guides the user through the process of becoming and American football star on his team – easily learning to understand the rules along the way.
Through Coach Stilo, the NFL hopes to make the Super Bowl less of a mystery for British sports fans, and therefore an even better spectacle: because, whether you know the rules or not, the Super Bowl is always an exhilarating spectacle.
In its UK marketing effort, the NFL is at pains to emphasise that there is no competition between American football and rugby. Television sports fans can watch both with a clean conscience. This is especially true when you consider that the Super Bowl is one of the world’s biggest sporting events, and because the NFL is already preparing its third large-scale game in the UK.
In October, the New England Patriots and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will clash at Wembley in a showcase match designed to pique Brits’ interest in America’s favourite game.
With Coach Stilo, the NFL is not only providing a fun, informative and clever website, but they’re also making sure ignorance of the rules is no longer a good enough excuse not to get into American football!