Not that I'm paying attention or anything...

But this bit of news about the UEFA Cup 2016 caught my eye- apparently a bunch of football (that's "soccer" to you non-English-speaking Americans) fans got into a bit of a punch-up before the Russia-England game in France:
England and Russia fans rioted Saturday at the Old Port in Marseille and outside the city's Stade Velodrome before the two countries met in a soccer match at the European Championship. 
It was the third straight day of violence in the Mediterranean port city, reviving bitter memories of clashes involving England fans at the 1998 World Cup. 
Police fired tear gas and water cannons at rioters around the city to rein in violence that authorities said left at least five people injured. Some fans walked through the city bare-chested and with blood dripping from head wounds. 
Amid the broken beer bottles and grey clouds of tear gas, families and tourists walked around the picturesque port, sometimes forced to skirt around lines of riot police leaning on their shields. Groups of people watched the chaos from the rear decks of two gleaming white yachts. 
French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said one British citizen was "seriously injured" in the clashes. 
"Once again, as over the last 30 years, an international football competition has been the scene of clashes between violent people claiming to be supporters of their national team," Cazeneuve said in a statement. 
UEFA, the governing body of European soccer, also condemned the fans, saying "people engaging in such violent acts have no place in football." 
TV footage showed fans throwing chairs yanked from restaurant terraces and scuffling on a staircase, where one man was seen kicking another one down the stairs. Shortly before the match kicked off, a group of Russia fans ran toward England supporters and started fighting outside the stadium. Riot police fired a water cannon at them and quickly broke up the scuffles. 
There was no fighting among fans inside the stadium, where England fans vastly outnumbered Russians.
The reason I bring this up is that it jogged my memory about a rather good video concerning the differences between American football and football football from a few years back that Bill Whittle made:

See, the thing is, I cannot remember the last time I heard about gridiron fans rioting after a game. If there had been one anytime recently, the media would have been ALL OVER the news- unless of course it happened in a majority-black city, in which case there's nothing to see here, mind your own beeswax and move it along there, bub...

But football hooliganism is depressingly normal. You'll see that sort of thing quite regularly with English football fans, though in reality that sort of silliness is a global phenomenon. Try getting the Turks or Colombians or Argentines riled up in a football stadium sometime and watch what happens.

In the case of the current UEFA cup, there is one match that I think could provide plenty of fireworks. Apparently Poland is playing Germany on Thursday. And I cannot stop laughing at the idea.

If you don't know why I find that hilarious, read up on a little something called Fall Weiss, which took place in 1939.

No matter who wins, there is likely to be a riot after that game.

So that got me thinking: why is it that gridiron fans are relatively tame (except in cities like Detroit and Birmingham and Newark, obviously), and football fans are such a rowdy bunch?

I honestly think it comes down to what Bill said about the very different natures of the two games.

In gridiron, two teams of... well, don't ask me how many men, since I don't watch this stuff... come together on a pitch to create an hour of chaos and violence and brutality within the context of a civilised, rule-bound, and generally more or less polite society. (This is of course very much the case in states where people are allowed to openly carry guns.)

In football, by contrast, it's very often the case that you get two teams of... I think it's 11 men... who come together from generally chaotic, violent, brutality-filled societies (and yes, that does actually describe modern England fairly well in many respects) onto a field where there are rules and laws that have to be obeyed.

As a result, the two sports diverge significantly in terms of fan bases and cultures. In American football, you have plenty of beered-up fans making lots of noise and generally acting silly, to be sure- but they do that inside the football stadium. And then they go home, because they've gotten their fill of vicariously watching athletes beat the crap out of each other on the field.

But in soccer, you have fans making a nuisance out of themselves both inside and outside the stadiums, because NOTHING EVER HAPPENS ON THE DAMN PITCH except watching 22 men running back, and forth, and back, and forth, and back, and forth, and- well, you get the idea.

Admittedly, this does not stop footballers- the European kind, I mean- from committing some of the most flagrant play-acting dives you'll ever see this side of a synchronised swimming competition.

And people wonder why I can't stand watching football matches...

Anyway, the point is that gridiron, for all that I simply don't see the point of it, just comes across as a more interesting sport, by far. It says a lot about how Americans think that they love a sport that basically involves slamming bodies together; it's a mentality that basically says, "we're going to keep rolling forward until either you're dust or we are".

Compare this with the European mentality of "let's all have a competition to see who can pretend to have the worst fake injuries on the field without actually doing a damn thing to score a goal".

You choose what you'd rather watch.

That difference in mentalities also explains what used to be America's approach to warfare- namely, shock or assault. America used to be very, very good at it. Which might explain why, back in 1944, a certain USA-Germany match, conducted in France, went quite well for the Yanks...


  1. ugh. eurofootball.

    Hockey. Now there's a game. These brazillian bitches tried any of those dives in Hockey, They'd literally get cut to pieces as their OWN TEAM skated over them.

    1. Damn straight. Any game where the refs only get involved to break up a fight when someone actually goes down, is a true man's game.


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