I have had the most delightful time perusing the website for NFL-UK, and I just had to share. The fact that there are several Reggies and Clives with an interest in American Football came as a total shock to me, quite frankly. The best part of the site is the obvious attempt to dumb down the game enough to attract athletes who could just as easily go start a game of soccer or cricket. For instance:
- Petitioners are encouraged to use the Position Indicator gizmo to determine where on the field they should play.
- From the FAQ page: “All equipment is defensive and is never meant to be used as a weapon!”
- Trying to explain why there are so many breaks in the action: “These breaks make the game very exciting as each team tries to out guess the other with their next play.”
- “Decide what position you would like to try and explain this to the coach. However it is important to remember that you may not have the necessary physical skills to play that position so be prepared to change to another position.” Why didn’t anyone ever explain this to Eric Crouch or Mike Vick?
The choices of photos to illustrate the How To section are also priceless. How to Become a Coach is illustrated by an image of Brian Billick throwing his hands up in the air in disgust. How to Become an Official shows a headscratching clusterf*ck of zebras. But best of all, How to Get in Shape displays the Adonis-like frame of Warren Sapp.
I can only imagine the potential for embarassment when kilts are crossed with flag football.
I also love the 15 Minutes of Fame feature, which spotlights an up-and-coming British player once a week. The most recent is Allan “Gigolo” Murdoch, a Free Safety for the Manchester Titans. Allan played his college ball for the Stirling Clansmen (a team name that will not go over well in the U.S., by the way), and racked up some international playing time vs. the Carrickfergus Knights. He also reveals his most embarassing football memory:
Has to be the first time you try to put on the kit. You are a rookie and everyone knows you haven’t a clue how to get it on and has a good giggle at you. I had my thigh pads in my kneepad sockets, I hadn’t a clue how to tie the belt and the coccyx pad confuses everyone! Now I get to have a giggle at the new guys on the Titans squad but it happens to everyone.
Yep, the coccyx pad is a head-scratcher, but “having a giggle” sounds a bit, well, poncey. Allan’s double chin shows he followed Warren Sapp’s training regimen to a “T”, so good going, Al!
I’m really looking forward to seeing some of these guys on my NFL Network soon, because NFL Europa could use a few more Bass-swilling free safeties, in my opinion. And who knows. Maybe some day Ted Ginn, Jr. will be afraid to go over the middle because “Gigolo” is there, waiting to punish him.