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America is expected to win the Super Bowl

Weird headline? Yes, but why is the winner of the Super Bowl called "World Champion"? Anyway, enjoy the game! Slate Magazine has some fun:
According to my research, "football" is very popular among my fellow Americans. It sort of resembles chess, but with a lot more physical contact. Today is, like, the biggest day of the year for football enthusiasts.
American Football is getting increasingly popular in Germany as well. Public TV station ARD is broadcasting the SuperBowl live tonight.
To help those non-American readers, who don't understand the game: How American Football Works.
For our American readers: If you are interested in some "real" football, then check out the Atlantic Review's posts on the recent world cup in Germany:
Soccer in German-American Relations (American Exceptionalism in sports)
U.S. Soccer Captain Praises Party Atmosphere in Germany
State Department Uses the World Cup to Improve U.S. Image
Germany's National Holiday and the "Summer's Tale" Documentary

The Economist wrote during the world cup: "America is perhaps the only country that greets the World Cup with an orgy of football-bashing." The Weekly Standard, Huffington Post and American Thinker took the World Cup as an opportunity to make
condescending comments about European cultures and politics. I have not seen any such comments about American culture and politics in the German coverage of the Super Bowl.
Davids Medienkritik found an article in Die Welt about the rise of African-American head coaches in the NFL. It is a positive article about the recent developments, but it has an awful and misleading headline "Super Bowl as a victory against Apartheid."
Super Bowl enthusiasm in the German blogosphere: Statler & Waldorf Basic Thinking, Indiskretion Ehrensache, American Arena, Dirk Steins, Radioskala.

Endnote: Today, Germany competes in the Handball world cup final. Another one of those sports, which are quite unknown in the US, but the game is a bit faster and more goals are scored than in soccer, so it should be of more interest to Americans, who are used to high scores in their favorite games. Of course, handball is not as popular in Germany as football is, but one in eight Germans watched the semifinals...

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benperry.net on : Go Chicago

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Joerg totally called it, The United States of America will win the Super Bowl today, albeit fully precedented but you never know. If Janet Jackson can suprise us with a nipple, then presumably Canada or the EU can with their last minute champion flown ...

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Pinkerton on :

True, the Superbowl is HUGE in the US. In fact, the team from my city, Chicago will be playing (er...winning, I hope) the Superbowl today. Go Bears! That said, I've seen lots of bashing of American football on SuperFrenchie.com blog. It wasn't just done in the comments, but there were entire posts written about it. It's ridiculous to try and compare sports. Being an American, soccer (European football) wasn't that big when I was growing up, but now it is very popular. I doubt if it will ever reach the popularity of American gridiron football or Baseball, but it certainly does generate a lot more attention than it did 10 years ago. I have nothing against any European who may say they don't like American football because they don't understand it. Many of us don't understand or have even had the opportunity to see a Rugby game. But to outright bash a sport because it is different from your own is just childish.

JW-Atlantic Review on :

I don't mind if anybody bashes soccer or football, but what bothers me is this kind of comment: "Soccer is the perfect game for the post-modern world. It's the quintessential expression of the nihilism that prevails in many cultures, which doubtlessly accounts for its wild popularity in Europe." That was from the conservative Weekly Standard, but the liberal Huffington Post is not any better: "Imagine if the World Series ended in a tie, and they picked five pitchers aside to throw strikes, or five catchers to throw out base runners, or five batters to have a home run hitting contest. It would be preposterous and infantile. And oh yeah, unjust. But [b]that's how the rest of the world is - a little underdeveloped and full of injustice." [/b] [url]http://atlanticreview.org/archives/354-The-Superiority-of-American-Culture-and-Sports.html[/url] I think these comments are a bit more than bashing just the sport. Should we make a fuss about it? No, we should not, but the Weekly Standard and the Huffington Post should remember it the next time they complain about European Anti-Americanism.... I don't want to defend the guys at [url]http://www.SuperFrenchie.com[/url], but did they make such comments about US culture and politics rather than just about American football? Besides, that is just a forum by "super" Frenchmen. They don't have as many readers as Weekly Standard and Huffington Post. Having said all that, I do acknowledge that there is condescension in Germany/Europe towards American culture and politics, even though none of it has been expressed in the coverage of the upcoming Super Bowl to my knowledge. The usual suspects in the media do not need the Super Bowl to bash the US.

David on :

As a native Chicagoan, I am rooting for the Bears (my adopted team - the Patriots - didn't make it this year). Also, the Colts' quarterback - Payton Manning - gave money to the GW Bush's last presidential campaign, and last year was a financial backer of the race-baiting Bob Corker from Tennessee. Go Bears!

Pinkerton on :

Good for you David! BTW, the temperature in Chicago today is 2 degrees with a windchill factor of 25 degrees below zero. That's Bear weather....unfortunately, they'll be playing in 75 degree heat in Miami. Go Bears!!!!!!

Kuch on :

David You may want to reconsider.... You see, it is common knowledge that the Halas family are longtime contributors to Illinois right-to-life causes, whereas the Irsay family have always contributed to both the Indianapolis AND Baltimore Teamsters Unions.....Shouldn't this alone be enough for you to root for the Colts? Just joking... let's just enjoy the game!

Fuchur on :

Oh my. That wasn't a game, it was an execution... It's a bit of a shame - when Poland came back to 20:22 (or so), it looked for a few minutes as if it'd be an open fight. So now Germany is Handball World Champion for the third time in history (after 1938 and 1978). I watched the game at some kind of party from the local handball club - and I must admit that it gave me quite a start when the "1938" on one banner caught my eye :-). Like, 'WTF? Do it again, like in 1938?? What kind of a crowd is this here??' Just the typical German paranoia, I guess :-).

Markus on :

I heard them sing "'38, '78, 2007" and indeed they won this year again. They paraphrased the footballers' hymn from the world cup: "'54, '74, 2006" or 2010... That's all.

JW-Atlantic Review on :

Yeah, Poland really came back, when Goalkeeper Henning Fritz injured himself and the German team got all nervous and insecure and like aufgeschreckte Huehner. During those awful ten minutes I thought the German team does not deserve to win. Then they returned to their strength. The second goalkeeper Bitter was great.

Pat Patterson on :

Now I'm going to really test amity by explaining the infield fly rule. Then I'm going to explain the designated hitter and the balk rule. American football or soccer, those are easy to explain.

Zyme on :

This week, I tried to take a look at two sports unfamiliar to me: The world cup of Handball in Germany and the american Football Super Bowl. While each Handball game involving the german team proved to be a totally exciting event, I couldn´t keep myself from turning the TV off after watching the Super Bowl for about 10 minutes. Maybe this game has many complicated rules to follow, but for viewers it is as exciting to watch as a chess game. My goodness..

Zyme on :

Oh and what really astonished me, was when the commenter said the Super Bowl is about the only sports event in America at which everyone of the audience is in the stadium from the beginning of the event! So I checked whether the Audio of my TV was too silent, but I could hear the commenter clearly while I could barely hear anything from the audience! They should really compare the noise level from this event to an ordinary soccer match in the german federal soccer league...! You could also compare it to the italien soccer league: I´ve been told they even die for their sports there :D "Brot und Spiele" doesn´t seem to work in America.

Pinkerton on :

Zyme The reason you didn't hear the crowd noise on tv is because they use filters to keep it down so the commentators can be heard. Believe me,I've been to football games and I attend numerous baseball games and the crowds are very loud. I wouldn't judge by what you hear on tv. Regarding watching American football, they do have a set of rules that may be different than what you are used to, and the same goes for baseball, some may think it's a slow game, but you have to understand the nuances of the game. I fell asleep watching the World Cup last year, I'm not kidding! I thought it was one of the most boring sports I've ever seen, next to golf or bowling. I was struck by the dramatics of the soccer players when they would fall on the ground, acting as if they lost a leg or something just because someone bumped into them...then after they are brought to the sidelines and a bunch of coaches come over to kiss their boo-boo's, they jump up as if being resurrected by a faith healer, to return to the game. Really...it was quite bizarre! So, I guess it all boils down to is people like different sports for different reasons. One isn't better than the other...just different.

Zyme on :

Hmmm you sound convincing. Yeah soccer sometimes has extremely boring games, the more a match matters the more cautious and tactical it usually becomes. That´s why I only watch big tournaments or matches of very good teams, everything else is too dry for me :)

Don S on :

I also watched the World Cup this year. Not quite for the first time but 2006 was the first time I really followed it slightly seriously. Yes the games are kind of boring when compared with American football, but Itsly's semifinal win over the Germans did not lack drama with those two goals at the very end of extra time. Neither did the final lack drama in it's own way with the sending off of Zidane Zinedine and Italy's win on penalties tie-breakers. My first experience of the World Cup was in 1994 when Italy lost to Brazil on penalties tie-breakers in the final. I was living in Italy at the time and World Cup madness was in the air. I dearly love Italy and Italians so it was good to see them win this year! It was a shame that someone had to lose this year. I would have liked to see Germany win it all, or even France. I'm not usually a big fan of things francaise but have always liked Zidane Zinedine, who had a helluva tournament before the final tragedy.

Pinkerton on :

Don S I was happy that Italy won the World Cup, too. Although I don't get into European football, I do tend to root for certain teams that represent nations. I also have a tendency to go for the underdog. Maybe that's an American thing, a Cinderella story always tugs at me. It was because of Zidane that I was glad France didn't win. I thought he showed little respect for his team when he did that. In American football the guys always "talk smack" and insult each other, which was why I was so surprised that would have caused so much trouble. Either way, I still fell asleep. I'm not so sure I'll watch it this year....unless the US end up in the World Cup finals, like that's going to happen! :-D

Don S on :

"Either way, I still fell asleep. I'm not so sure I'll watch it this year....unless the US end up in the World Cup finals, like that's going to happen! :-D" Ummm, errr.... Nobody sees another World Cup until 2010 when it will be held in South Africa I think. The next big international futbal do will be the European Cup held in 2008. Zidane? I thought it was sad. A sad way to end a career which should have ranked with Pele and the other greats of the game. Zinedane was one of the 10 best players in futbal's history, but now he will be remembered for this.

Markus on :

There is a women's soccer world cup this year !!! The United States women's team was world champion in 1999. Germany won 2003. Who will win this year?

Don S on :

"why is the winner of the Super Bowl called "World Champion"" Why, because the winner of the Super Bowl is the World Champion of a game that nobody plays outside of the United States! Not even Canada plays it. Well - that actually makes a kind of sense, although perhaps they ought to allow the college teams a chance to play. Explanation two: No sporting event outside of the US is of any importance whatever, therefore if it occurs in the US it's the World Championship. This one seems to apply to baseball. Japanese and Latin American teams need not apply to the World Series. Seems a bit unfair. I thought possibly that baseball in Latin America and Japan postdated the first World Series (held in 1903) but that is not the case. Cuba was playing the game by 1864 and had an official league by 1878. Japan played a form of baseball as early as the 1820's and had a professional league in the 1890's. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_baseball_outside_the_United_States In fact Canada clains the first 'documented' game of baseball in 1838, although the Canadian rules do not seem to have been used anywhere else. Even so the US seems to have been first, with a mention of baseball in 1792!: "The earliest known mention of baseball in the United States was in a 1792 Pittsfield, Massachusetts bylaw banning the playing of the game within 80 yards of the town meeting house."

Pinkerton on :

Hi Don! I just did some checking on the "world champion" title. I saw that the NFL did try to interest European countries in participating in American football and they weren't interested in developing a team. So, I guess they can call us World Champions on the basis that we are the only ones in the "world" who want to participate. Now, I can't verify the truth to this...I only saw it on the internet and you know the kind of garbage that is out there..but, nonetheless, it's an interesting answer. As far as baseball, Canada is in our baseball league, but I don't know why teams in other countries, especially Japan, don't want to be a part of our league. I would imagine it is because the travel schedule would be almost impossible. No?

JW-Atlantic Review on :

Where did you see that?

Pinkerton on :

Here ya go, JW... http://answers.yahoo.com/rss/question?qid=20070123102739AAX2JIE Like I said, it just came from the internet, so I can't verify that the NFL did try to get European countries to participate in the NFL...besides, if they did then NFL (National Football League) would have to be WFL (World Football League). Regarding the Super Bowl....I think they are referred to as "Super Bowl" Champions, not "World Champions". However, the World Series champions for baseball are called "World Champions". I looked up the history of baseball and tried to figure out when the World Series got that name, and I seem to remember it was pegged by a newspaper to hype the game. I'll have to do some digging on that again.

JW-Atlantic Review on :

"I seem to remember it was pegged by a newspaper to hype the game." Nope! It's explained at the end of this post, which I linked to before: [url]http://atlanticreview.org/archives/354-The-Superiority-of-American-Culture-and-Sports.html[/url]

Pinkerton on :

JW So, if it wasn't the newspaper, it was a marketing ploy and I could understand perfectly why the word "world" was attached to it. But, to ask the US to change this title because baseball is played throughout the world seems a bit...I don't know...anal. Like the article mentioned, there is a World Baseball classic that is played (which really doesn't seem to be all that popular yet) so it's not like the US is trying to keep anyone around the world from competing with the US. Regarding the World Baseball Classic, it's difficult to get any of our professional players to play in the game because it comes at a time when we are still playing our season out. I know there have been grumblings from the coaches who don't want anyone from their teams to play in the Classic because it messes up their play at a time when the players have come together as a team. That is another problem, our US players who go into the classic are forced to play with guys they have never practiced with before, whereas the other countries that compete have their guys practicing for months before the Classic. It is an unfair advantage for the US. It takes awhile for them to get used to the way they play together and to be able to read all the nuances of their players. Anyway, the way I feel about it is, what's in a name? I don't think you would hear any complaints from Americans about how a sporting event is labeled in Europe. At least I would hope not!

JW-Atlantic Review on :

"Why, because the winner of the Super Bowl is the World Champion of a game that nobody plays outside of the United States!" a) So why call the winner "world champion" rather than "US champion" or just "champion"? b) American football is played outside the US. There is professional American football league in Europe: [url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nfl_europa[/url] Okay, many of those players are from the US. Though there is also a German league (in addition to college leagues): [url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_Football_League[/url]

Don S on :

Joerg, The NFL Europa League uses somewhat different rules than the NFL regular season does. I have never heard of the GFL before and have no idea whether it is 'standard' football as played in the US or something else. There is also the Canadian Football League, a football league based completely in Canada. Canadian rules are significantly different than those used in the US. I don't believe an official regulating body exists for gridiron (American) football as FIFA does for futbol. Rugby and cricket also have international regulating bodies. So does baseball now - but it seems weak compared with the power weilded by FIFA. So the answer seems to be that the 'World Series' is also the 'World Champion' essentially because the US major leagues say it is - and have done since 1903. It's a tradition by now but that doesn't mean that Japan, Cuba, Mexico, or Taiwan have to accept the assertion.

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