The parity of American football in comparison to European and Gaelic football

The parity of American football in comparison to European and Gaelic football

Having written a lot about American soccer in a few of my previous posts, with my interest in sport that side of the Atlantic piqued I began looking into champions of the big three leagues in the United States, namely the NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball. I was particularly amazed at the spread of champions in American football.

Back on 1 February the New England Patriots won their fourth Super Bowl title, a triumph that has since been tarnished by the disclosure that balls were, in fact, deflated during the AFC Championship Game. It was the Patriots’ eighth Super Bowl appearance in total, their seventh since 1997. This number of appearances in the championship game is a joint-best record along with the Dallas Cowboys and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Sadly for Tom, you cannot deflate the ball atop the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
To Tom Brady’s bafflement, it turns out you cannot deflate the ball atop the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

The Cowboys and Steelers are two of the most successful franchises in NFL history. The Steelers have won six Super Bowls, four of which came in the 1970s and two in the last decade. The Cowboys are tied second on five, alongside the San Francisco 49ers. For a team that is top of the pile, six titles for the Steelers seems rather a small number, considering the Super Bowl has been going since 1967. Compared with the significantly younger Premier League in England, which was established in 1992, there is a startling difference.

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Demythologising Italia ’90

Demythologising Italia ’90

It is has been 25 years to the day since Ireland’s penalty shoot-out success against Romania at the 1990 World Cup. 25 years since Packie Bonner’s heroics, George Hamilton’s “A nation holds its breath,” “Put ‘Em Under Pressure” and David O’Leary sending the country into delirium.

As it’s an odd-numbered year it appears tangible sports news is thin on the ground, with the obvious exceptions of the Women’s World Cup and the Copa América, according to sports outlets in this part of the world. So they have been waxing lyrical over the last couple of weeks about Italia ’90. Despite this, there has been a huge response to these articles so I thought I would jump aboard that bandwagon and in the process maybe triple my numbers, which would bring the grand total of individual viewers to six.

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10 of the most ridiculous American soccer franchise names

When it comes to naming their soccer teams, the United States has generally employed the same method as it does with its basketball, baseball and American football; give a city a glitzy, often alliterative franchise name. New York has the Yankees in Major League Baseball, Los Angeles has the Lakers (and the Clippers) in the NBA, and Dallas has the Cowboys in the NFL.

Catchy brand names sell so the Americans don’t do dour, straight-laced team names such as Liverpool F.C. or Charlton Athletic. That said recent new arrivals to the MLS have been uncharacteristically tame, such as the New York Yankees and Manchester City-backed New York City FC or Orlando City Soccer Club. There is also a habit of placing the definitive article before team names, irrespective of the sport or lack of plural, the LA Galaxy or the Miami Heat.

The attempts to establish a professional league in the United States really began in earnest after the 1966 World Cup in England, which I  already covered in greater detail [see here]. The United Soccer Association (USA) was no exception to the American enthusiasm for trying to create a brand, even if some verged on the comical. There was the Los Angeles Wolves (simple, given Wolverhampton Wanderers were LA’s tenant team) but there was also the San Francisco Golden Gate Gales. Not exactly short and snappy.

Today I thought I would look at 10 of the most ridiculous sounding teams that have played professional soccer in the United States since the establishment of the United Soccer Association in 1967.

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1967: The summer Shamrock Rovers became an American franchise

1967: The summer Shamrock Rovers became an American franchise

During my research of domestic football in the United States for my last post [see here] I stumbled across the short-lived United Soccer Association. It was a professional league that lasted just one season before merging with the National Professional Soccer League (NPSL), itself a one-season wonder, to form the North American Soccer League (NASL).

United Soccer Association
United Soccer Association

The United Soccer Association (USA) was truly unique as rather than building franchises from the ground up, or building upon existing semi-professional clubs, it imported European and South American clubs which were then designated a major city and given American franchise names. In short, to explain this post’s “click tease” headline, Shamrock Rovers were one of 12 such clubs. Given the city’s prevalent Irish heritage, Rovers were based in Boston as the Boston Rovers.

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