Tag Archives: nfl football

MLB Playoffs vs NFL and College Football

The Major League Baseball playoffs are getting close to crunch time as the World Series will get underway shortly. Throughout much of the MLB playoffs I have noticed Fox Sports and TBS advertising the games that are coming up. Finding sports viewers that prefer the MLB Playoffs over NFL and college football can sometimes be a challenge. Even though the baseball playoff games are much more meaningful it is still the case that diehard sports fans would rather see action packed football even though the NFL is not even halfway through the season. The college football season is hitting the halfway point and SEC football games are getting TV ratings that are better than some of the baseball playoff games. Why is football so popular in the United States when compared to baseball?

Baseball is a Very Long Season

The major league baseball season starts around April 1st of every year. The college baseball season starts in late February. This means baseball fans can start consuming baseball before the snow has melted in some areas of the country. College baseball concludes with the College World Series in late May and early June. Fans that want to continue to watch baseball will have the opportunity to watch professional baseball games all the way through the summer and into the months of September and October. This means baseball season spans the seasons on spring, summer and fall. There are no other sports that span more than one and a half seasons.

When I was younger I throughly enjoyed playing fantasy baseball as it gave me something to do during the summer months. I grew up in a very rural area and there was not much going on. Instead of getting in trouble I decided to hop on the Internet and find a game that allowed me to use my number crunching skills. There were years in the mid 1990s when I was one of the top 100 players in fantasy baseball. I used to check the stats on a daily basis and I could predict who was going to have an amazing year on the mound. As the years passed I realized that fantasy baseball took way too long.

When playing fantasy baseball in the 1990s you had to adjust your team on a daily basis. There are often players that get placed on the 15 day DL or will sit out a few games causing an entire fantasy baseball team to struggle. If you were not willing to check your fantasy baseball team at least three times a week there was a good chance that you would end up getting beat by the team owner that had the time to simply update his team with players that were in a lineup. These owners didn’t have a better team, they just had the ability to update on any given day.

This process helped me to realize just how long and time consuming baseball was and is. Baseball games take around three or four hours to complete and there is a lot of downtime. There are 18 interruptions in the game with an interruption coming after just three outs. There are interruptions in football but it tends to be after something exciting has happened. Teams call a timeout or slow down the game when the other team is scoring or about to score. In baseball, an interruption can come when nothing happened in an inning. For the younger generation, this can be very boring.

The NFL Season is Short Enough to Stay Interesting

The NFL season starts in September and concludes during the final week of January or the first week of February. What makes the NFL very interesting is there are only 16 games in a regular season. This means that fans of a particular team have the opportunity to watch eight home games. Compare this to 81 home games during a major league baseball season. It is often true that people will be more excited about something that happens eight times a year when compared to something that happens 81 times a year.

Something else interesting about the NFL is the anticipation that is built for each game. ESPN and other sports channels now have hours of coverage leading up to the games on Sunday. When I was a child it was only Sunday morning TV shows that previewed this week’s games. Now we see shows every day of the week. There are shows that document the injuries for each specific team. Personally, I feel as if this is too much but some NFL fans absolutely love it. They only get 16 weeks to enjoy their team so they are going to soak up as much information as possible.

NFL fans are armed with plenty of knowledge when the game comes around. They know which team is expected to win, they know who is on the injured reserve and they know the weather conditions. Fantasy Football has truly changed the way some of these avid fans consume the game. If they know the weather in Pittsburgh is going to be cold and windy they can guess the two quarterbacks in the game are not going to have great stats. The defenses and kickers in this game might end up being the stars of the show. The numbers game that is Fantasy Football has encouraged fans to watch more games and consume more content related to the sport.

What I have come to realize, over the last decade, is that fans are not watching just the NFL to understand Fantasy Football and the growth of their favorite team. They are watching the college game as well, because they know in the near future these college players will be on their team. It is amazing to see how many NFL message boards will analyze specific college players to fit the needs of the team. Once again, this is taking it a little too far for me but it happens every day of the football season.

Will the World Series Garner Interest?

The St Louis Cardinals have a very large following. This means the World Series will get some interest from fans of the National League. As much as people say they want a different team in the World Series or Super Bowl, they really do not. The ratings show that more people watch when the most popular teams are in major events. The best thing for Major League Baseball will be a St Louis Cardinals vs Boston Red Sox World Series. This would get the best ratings and it would bring in a few fan bases that normally would not watch. The Red Sox being in the World Series would put New York Yankees fans in their seats hoping the Red Sox lose. If the Red Sox were not in the World Series Yankees fans would care a lot less.

One of the biggest problems for the World Series is the expansion of the college football and NFL season. There are now NFL football games on Monday night, Thursday night and all of Sunday. College football games are on Thursday and Friday Night and all day Saturday. This does not leave a whole lot of time for sports fans to watch baseball. Even when the World Series is on I still devote the majority of my TV consumption to college football. If there is a good college football game on TV it always trumps the World Series or any type of baseball. This is all too common with my generation.

Major League Baseball has also been slow to react to the technology era in which we live. Baseball is a traditional sport and a large majority of fans are not in their teens and twenties. This is much different from football. When you visit a college football or NFL stadium on any weekend you will find many age groups represented. When going to a baseball stadium it is often the case that adults and seniors are the ones that are at these events.

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Google+ have changed the way people talk about sports. While the MLB is trying to increase interest on social media they don’t even hold a candle to the NFL and college football. The MLB Twitter account has 3.2 million followers while the NFL Twitter account has 5.2 million followers. The distance is even more significant when we compare college football to college baseball. This means the younger generation is actively engaging about football online but not as much when it comes to baseball.

The World Series will be a big event for Major League Baseball this year. With the Cardinals playing in the series there should be plenty of interest. Whether or not the MLB can parlay this interest into something bigger has yet to be seen. Over time it will be interesting to watch to see if the MLB can meet the challenges they have.

College Football Fans vs NFL Fans

I am a college football fan to the core. I have tried to dive into the NFL, but it just does not work for me. When Philip Rivers was drafted by the San Diego Chargers I became a diehard fan. I still have my #17 Chargers jersey in the closet but it rarely comes out. Shortly after becoming a San Diego Chargers fan I realized that the NFL was a business. Chargers wide receivers would come and go. The offensive linemen would have different names every single year. The only name that has really remained consistent with the Chargers is Antonio Gates. In all reality, he is on the way out as well. This has made it difficult for me to remain loyal to the powder and blue. The business model for an NFL franchise is to get an amazing quarterback and fill in the rest of the team. In the last several years you really don’t even need a great defense to make it deep into the playoffs. The Colts team that won the Super Bowl with Peyton Manning had one of the worst defenses in the entire NFL. On the flip side of that, college football is much more about the team. Very rarely will one player lead a team all the way to the national championship. In fact, I would argue that one quarterback has never lead a team all the way to the national championship. Hear me out.

College Football is More of a Team Sport

Some would argue that Cam Newton lead his Auburn Tigers to the national championship by himself. I would say that is completely false. That Auburn Tigers team had an amazing defense. Anyone that knows their college football recognized their front seven as one of the best in recent history. The defensive line on that particular team was loaded with NFL talent. I would argue that the defensive line was actually better than Cam Newton. Cam was an unbelievable athlete but he was not the only player on the team. The Auburn Tigers could not just put pieces together to win the national championship. They did struggle in the defensive secondary but the front seven was so good that it made up for this weak spot.

There were also some very talented tailbacks on that team. Even though Cam Newton was the face of the program for a year it was quite obvious that it took more than just him to win the SEC and the national championship. I often wonder what would happen to the New England Patriots without Tom Brady. What would happen to the Indianapolis Colts if Peyton Manning went down? Oh, wait! We saw that a few years ago. With Peyton Manning the Colts were a 12 to 14 win team every year. The year he got hurt they won a single game. How can anyone argue that the NFL is not a one man show when this is the case? The same can be said for many NFL quarterbacks. It is amazing to see teams fall apart when they lose just one player. In college, the loss of one player does not change a team from a 10 win team to a one or two win team. That is one of the reasons I feel as if the fans are different.

College Football Fans

College football fans are a different breed. They will drive to their alma mater’s stadium on a Friday afternoon. This stadium could be 30 miles away or 300 miles away depending on where they work in relation to the university. After driving to the college town on Friday night the “football talk” starts. This could be something as small as going to the local bar and grill and talking about the top 25 and as much as going to the stadium to start tailgating. Trust me when I tell you that some people start tailgating 24 hours or more before the game. They have to take in the entire experience. By the time gameday rolls around almost all diehards will be at the stadium at least six hours before kickoff. They are walking around, finding old college buddies and tossing the pigskin around. There are often some adult beverages involved. A few hours before kickoff these avid fans will find a tailgate with a TV. They have to know the scores of all the other games.

The band will walk around the tailgate area playing the fight song. The coeds will be getting a tan in the sun. Food will be on the grill and fans will be getting geared up and ready to go for the three hour game that means absolutely everything. No matter who the team is playing this is the biggest game of the year. If their alma mater loses this game they have no shot at winning the conference championship and the national championship is out of the picture. Every game matters. Every game matters so much that college football stadiums will fill up to well over 100,000 fans every Saturday. There are some stadiums that will hold in excess of 110,000 screaming fans.

If you were like me, you got to your seat at least 45 minutes before the kickoff. You watched the pregame rituals to make sure none of the star players were hurt. You would notice just a slight limp by the starting tailback and wonder if that was going to affect his performance. By the time the national anthem is being sung about 85% of the seats are full. Admittedly, the student section is only half full as they are getting their pregame game face on. Most college football teams have a tradition when it comes to running onto the field. Virginia Tech runs out to Metallica’s Enter Sandman while Clemson touches Howard’s Rock and runs down the hill. Tennessee runs out through the T and Chief Osceola welcomes the Florida State Seminoles to the field.

By the time the game is halfway through the first quarter the stands are full and fans are completely enamored in the game. There are very little forms of entertainment outside of the game. Fans of college football go to the game just to watch the game. It is not as much of a social scene as professional sports. Many stadiums have the bare minimum when it comes to entertainment. There are not TVs in every section and there are definitely not games to play in the concourse. Now let’s look at the NFL.

NFL Fans

NFL fans know their team plays at 1:00 pm or 4:00 pm on Sunday. Most NFL Stadiums are in very large cities which can make it difficult to park or get to the stadium. Instead of planning ahead or tailgating for six to eight hours most NFL fans will try to get to the stadium as close to kick off as possible. They will end up paying a certain amount for a parking spot and go directly into the game. When watching any NFL game, most viewers will notice that the stands are only halfway full at kickoff. Some of this is caused by the congestion getting in and part of it is the fact that some fans aren’t all that concerned about watching the actual game. Being spotted at an NFL stadium is sometimes more important than the outcome of the game. It is also the case that every game does not matter. In most years a team with seven or eight losses can make the playoffs. This means half the games they play they can lose and still have a chance to go to the Super Bowl at the end of the season.

In the concourse there are all kinds of games for kids and families. There are also restaurants and bars for fans to eat a full meal. Why you would eat a full meal while sitting at an NFL football game is beyond me. As a hardcore college football fan I can tell you that I have never once consumed an entire meal while my team was on the field; especially if I was in that stadium. There are plenty of fans wearing jerseys to NFL games but there are also a large portion of fans that are wearing their everyday normal clothes. Whether or not they are wearing team colors is not very important. They just want to be spotted at the game.

Let me make it completely clear that college fans must wear their team colors. By most I mean it is unacceptable to wear any other colors. When you watch a college football game on Saturday notice that the stadium is full of fans wearing one color. Notice the fans in the stadium at an NFL event. You couldn’t even pick out the home team’s colors if you had to. In fact, some NFL stadiums end up having more fans from the away team than the home team. This would not happen in college football at a big time program. These are just some of the many reasons I feel as if college football fans are better than NFL fans.