American football is a better sport than soccer
This is a debate over whether American football or soccer is the better sport. I will be debating that American football is the better sport, while Cond will be arguing that soccer is the better sport. BOP is shared, so Pro needs to prove American football is better or soccer is worse and Con needs to prove that soccer is better or American fotball is worse. All aspects of the two sports are open to argument, such as the game itself, players, game culture, fans, etc. Rounds will be:
Round 1: Acceptance
Round 2: Opening statements
Round 3: Argument/Rebuttal
Round 4: Final responses/closing argument
Going outside the round structure (ie. rebutting the opponent in round 2) is prohibited.
American football: The code of football played in the United States by leagues such as the NFL and NCAA.
Soccer: The code of football governed by FIFA
Better: Greater in quality or excellence
I believe American football is a better sport than soccer. Contrary to the popular image of soccer-hating Americans, I don't hate soccer - I've played it and I watch the USWNT in the Olympics and World Cup. However, I feel the game is lacking in comparison to football.
My first point relates to gameplay style. Quite obviously soccer strategy is limited - you can't touch the ball with your hands except in a few circumstances, and there is only one method of scoring. In contrast, football is more complex - you can run with or throw the ball backwards or forwards, and there are three ways to score. This isn't to say complex things tend to be better than simple things, but in this I think football requires more thought than soccer. The broader range of football rules allows a much broader range of strategy that can be adapted to fit almost any circumstance; a small team might run a misdirection-oriented offense and an aggressive, turnover-oriented defense, while a larger team might run a power-running offense with a hard-hitting defense. The possibilities in football are limited only to the rules and to the imagination of the coach. In contrast, soccer has a rather predictable formula - if you have the ball, try to get it into the goal, and if you don't, try to get it. Strategy is certainly existent in soccer, but not to the extent of football, where it is paramount.
To continue with strategy, in football game planning is paramount. Watching film of the other team is extremely important and executing the game plan is vital to success. Each play is a literal battle - teamwork is so important that if even one player fails his task, the other side will immediately exploit it. Teams have hundreds of pre-designed plays that the players have have to learn, and there is potential for many more if the quarterback calls an audible (changes the play before the snap). In close games, playcalling is a crucial element that lifts football into a game of wits. In contrast, soccer places emphasis on offensive players and goalies. Teamwork isn't nearly as vital, and one-on-one matchups such as striker on goalie are much more important. At the end of the game especially, soccer can devolve into a boring spectacle of the winning team kicking the ball away from the goal whenever they get it. In football, this never almost never happens due to the four-downs rule.
Time is also managed better in football. Admittedly, football is slower than soccer but at least the clock stops. In soccer, 'stoppage time' is retroactively determined by the official - Manchester United, in particular, is given particularly favorable stoppage time. This is clearly more subject to abuse than football, which stops the clock instead of giving time at the end of a quarter.
Football also has a better method of of resolving ties. Football's two overtime methods (college and pro) are both superior to PKs, which are an absurd way to end a soccer game. PKs don't necessarily favor the best team, just like free throws don't always favor the best team in basketball. Soccer used to have the 'golden goal', but it was removed from the Laws of the Game due to concerns out fairness; however, which is more fair - deciding a game based on a single goal scored in actual play, or deciding it based on three goals from PKs?
In football, you have a 15-minute overtime period. If the first team with the ball scores a touchdown, they win. If they kick a field goal, the other team gets the ball and can tie the game (in which case it goes to standard sudden death) or even win it with a touchdown. It is a very easy, fair system that rewards the best team. In soccer, however, ties in knockout games will ultimately be resolved by penalty kicks, a system as absurd as deciding a basketball game with free throws or a baseball game on a home-run contest. PKs don't reward the best team, they reward the best penalty-kicking team.
Finally, we have the issue of fans. Fans of soccer and football are both passionate about their games, but soccer games all too often devolve into violence and hooliganism. The Cleveland Browns and Philadelphia Eagles both have reputations for rowdy fans, but even their worst moments rarely match up to the thuggery exhibited by some soccer fans. When was the last time you heard of a rogue Eagles fan shooting a flare at the other team? That happened, except it was in Greece and it was a soccer game. Some instances have resulted in hooligan 'firms' combating each other with deadly weapons. Football has 'Bottlegate', an incident where Browns fans showered the field with beer bottles after a controversial call, but incidents like 'Bottlegate' are quite rare in football, even from the rowdiest fans.
In short, football offers greater excellence in gameplay, strategy, tie resolution, clock management, and fans. I look forward to my opponent's response.
Oh it’s fine, ironically the same happened to me.
1. Soccer is simple
There’s a reason soccer is the most popular game in the world and that’s because it can be played by almost anyone at anytime. Football requires a specific ball shape as well as being quite difficult to throw the first couple attempts. Soccer on the other hand can be played with hundreds of different objects. The soccer legend Pele grew up playing with a grapefruit or rolled up sock . This allows anyone, from children in Africa to kids on a college campus in New York to play a pickup game at any time. Added to that, you can even play the game by yourself, whether it be shooting goals or passing the ball to yourself off a wall. Later in life, rules do emerge though and the game can be complicated. But anyone can sit down and watch a soccer game, no prior experience needed. Granted, the minor rules and offsides can be confusing at first but it’s an easier game to understand for a beginner than a NFL game.
2. Scoring is more exciting in soccer
Soccer games can last their full length with only one or two goals being scored so therefore, compared to a football game where there are both multiple ways for teams to score and both teams almost always score multiple times, scoring in soccer is rarer. Just look at the goal celebrations that teams do , either way better than a guy throwing the ball at the ground as hard as he can.
3. Length of game
Football is 60 minutes long. Soccer is 90. But how is an NFL game 195-210 minutes long while FIFA games usually average around 120? Well, one of the reasons is the constant commercials that the NFL and now even the NCAA air. There are commercials before and after kickoff now. That means for around 15 seconds of gameplay, the viewer has to watch several minutes of commercials. In soccer however, that isn't the case as there is only once chance to show commercials and that’s during halftime. You get to watch 45 minutes straight of soccer without interruption unlike football where the most you get is around 5 minutes if it’s a long drive. Also, this shows the endurance needed to play a soccer game compared to a football game.
4. Fitness of players
I will concede that it takes a different body type to excel as a linebacker rather than a midfielder, that’s obvious. However, in a country with obesity being such a prevelant problem, should the people the kids idolize be overweight? “The issue of weight and heart risks has spread even to high schools, where studies indicate that more than half of linemen are overweight. Some medical experts have called for weight limits on players, though that seems unlikely in the immediate future. Even so, some former N.F.L. linemen wonder whether it is really necessary to weigh 300 pounds to play effectively today.” . Soccer players on the other hand, have to be neither underweight or overweight in order to succed at what they do. Most elite soccer players have a normal BMI . This is also due in part to the fact that football players get rests every 15 or so seconds during a game. Added to that, they only play half the game because offense and defense are two seperate to units. On top of all that, substitutions are fairly common during a drive in football. Soccer on the other hand has none of that. Players play for up to 45 minutes straight, with substitutions being few and far between.
I again concede that football is much more of a contact sport than soccer. But then you have some players going out and intentionally going out with the intent of harm. Take for example the New Orleans Saints who offered bounties based on who they hurt and how badly they hurt them . Also, in regardance in injuries, soccer injuries are much less common than football injuries  . Added to that, they are also less severe, the worst a soccer player can get is maybe a fractured limb compared to permanent brain damage that some football players sustain after years of playing  . Some football players have even died on the field, ranging from pros to even high school boys .
While my opponent makes excellent points, I believe they can be refuted:
My opponent argues that soccer is simpler than football, especially at the amateur level. I would like to quote a book:
"I started playing football when I was eight or nine years old. In those days there was no [modern entertainment], so e just used our imaginations. There was an empty lot alongside our house... We used to play there every day until someone decided to build a house on it. We always organized games ourselves. Sometimes we didn't even have a real ball, but we'd still play. We'd stuff some rags into a paper bag, and just like that we had a football... Because we never had twenty-two guys to make a full eleven-to-a-side team during football season, we would create a game for whatever number of players we had. We even played one-on-one if there was only two of us. Sometimes it was two-on-two or four-by-four... No matter where we were or how many guys we had, we could always play football"
Now, who would this seem like at first? At first glance, this seems entirely like the story of Pele - a young kid playing pickup soccer on the street. However, this is not a quote from Pele this is from Hall of Fame coach John Madden, who said this in his book Heroes of Football. Like soccer, football can be picked up and played easily - my opponent notes that a specific shape of ball is needed (an oval-shaped object), but the same is true for soccer - soccer needs a roughly round-shaped object. An oval object would not work in soccer, nor would one that is unkickable. A football is somewhat difficult to throw, but throwing isn't a required aspect of the game - many youth leagues run only a few pass plays a game. Passing isn't required in football because you can also run with the ball. My opponent also notes that you can play soccer by yourself - however, there are many ways to play football by yourself as well. Legendary quarterback Sammy Baugh spent hours on end throwing the football through a moving tire swing, and he spent even more time than that punting the ball.
As a second point, my opponent notes that scoring tends to be more exciting in soccer than in football. l would argue this is generally the case, but what about the many nil-nil ties? 0-0 games are unheard of in football, and there is always some form of scoring. Celebration is only the case because it is so uncommon; in football, it isn't a great idea to get cocky and celebrate early because the opponent almost always has a shot to come back. Another factor in football is that group celebrations are essentially prohibited, but they still go far beyond just the spike that my opponent notes - for example, let's have a look at the celebrations of Steve Smith, a WR for the Carolina Panthers. His celebrations have included, among other things, being a swashbuckling pirate (at a Bucs game), making a snow angel, being a boxer, being a Hawaiian dancer, changing a baby's diaper, and sliding down the base of a goalpost. His most famous is perhaps the rowboat celebration, which mocked the Vikings' "Loveboat scandal". Steve Smith is not even the best celebrator out there - Chad Johnson and Terrell Owens were much better known for theirs. The fact of the matter is, however, football celebrations are often creative - they just have to confine to a different set of rules.
My opponent notes that football does run longer than soccer, mainly due to play stoppages and commercials. I do not dispute this; this is a well-known fact. He proceeds to argue that soccer's constant gameplay is better than football's start-and-stop style. I disagree with that idea. To put it into a narrative perspective, is a movie with constant action for half the movie, a short plot break, and constant action for the second half always better than a movie with rising and falling actions? Of course not. I like an action flick just as much as anyone, but is that formula always better than a more plot-oriented film? Probably not. My opponent also notes that soccer is constant - however, how much of that is actually significant play (ie. fast breaks or shots on goal)? Frankly, much of soccer is spent around midfield, with both teams constantly stealing the ball and nothing really getting done. Further, upon research it has been found soccer players go an average of 6 miles a game - this averages out to roughly 4mph per player. Two-thirds of this distance comes from walking or jogging, and the rest comes from running - mainly in short bursts of 10-40 meters. No such studies are out about American football, but almost all action in the game takes place as a result of short bursts of running. In other words, the constant set of movement in football is running for short bursts - often ending with contact with another player.. The voters can decide which is better, but I do think there is merit to football being a physically exhausting game.
My opponent next argues that soccer players are more fit. It is not deniable that lineman are indeed, by typical standards, overweight - the average is 260 pounds. However, the fact of the matter is these players are very fit. Simply being large does not make you a good lineman - you need to be in excellent physical shape to be effective. You must have an extremely quick release off the line (ie. be able to move properly), eat the right foods, and maintain a solid exercise routine. A former Penn State lineman noted that his diet included eggs, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Like the Sumo, linemen must be large - but they must also be flexible and fit.
Finally, my opponent argues that the worst injuries in soccer are a fractured limb. Football does have its deal of injuries, but sadly, this is not the case in soccer - many soccer players have died on the pitch. Here are a list of deaths resulting from soccer:
This doesn't even include people like Patrick Battison, who damaged vertebra and had teeth knocked out following a collision. Clearly soccer is not immune to injuries; incredibly, no deaths have ever occurred in the NFL except for Chuck Hughes, who died of a heart attack in 1971. Heart-related deaths are relatively common in soccer, outnumbering basically every other form of death besides lightning strike. Since American football essentially prohibits games or practices from being played in lightning, this is not a real issue there.
As I had responded to all of Con's arguments, I turn the debate over to him.
1: Pg. 1, Heroes of Football
I like to order my arguments so I’m going to organize my opponent's arguments (Round 2) numerically.
Yes I will concede that football does have more possibilities when it comes to play calling. The stereotypical football chalkboard, complete with X’s and O’s is rather accurate, as I played a couple years of football myself. And yes, football does tend to allow more complex plays such as the “Statue of Liberty”. However, I would like to point out that NFL players get up to 40 seconds (realistically around 30 though) to decide and call plays. Added to that, many NFL plays aren’t decided on by the players itself but a coach sitting up in a box, radioing in plays. Soccer on the other hand doesn’t have these breaks in between every play. Rather, it is a pretty constant game. However, during those few breaks such as corner kicks, play-calling does emerge , and it can be just as complicated as football, but unlike football, te defense reacts along with the offense.
“In contrast, soccer has a rather predictable formula - if you have the ball, try to get it into the goal, and if you don't, try to get it.”
To a common observer (I’m not insulting my opponent’s intelligence) this would seem so. But, as a 13 year veteran of organized soccer, I can tell you this is not so. While football revolves around the use of hundreds predesigned plays, higher levels of soccer is played using several basic strategies. And unlike football where they have a coach to plan it all out for them, the players of a soccer game have to change things around while they play, adjusting for their opponent’s actions. A common strategy in a soccer game is “The Triangle” . Just like I said before, this is exceedingly simple, one that kids learn. However, in the heat of a game, the offense must modify it, depending on the defense they are face with. The defense can be arranged in all sorts of patterns and so can the offense as this list shows . Also, responding to my opponent’s that “Teamwork isn't nearly as vital, and one-on-one matchups such as striker on goalie are much more important.”, this is far from the truth. Only several men in the world can outmanuever an entire defense and even then, the defense has to make major mistakes or be awful for this to happen. Soccer is a game of passing and teamwork. In a game where the players get very few breaks, passing becomes key as it takes less effort to pass a ball to the center of the field than to dribble the ball there yourself. Rarely will a goal be scored by a breakaway down the entire field. Rather, the entire team is involved as the ball is slowly shifted downfield by a combination of forward, backward, and side-way passes. Added to that, everyone touches the ball and has a chance to score (except for the goalkeeper, they rarely score unless they are pulled or in a non-professional game manages to kick it across the field and score, I’ve had that happen to my team once before but it’s pretty rare) in soccer  . Compared to football where the majority of plays involve only involve some of the team, this seems to support my argument that soccer does involve a lot of teamwork.
2. Time Management
I think I covered this in my original argument but I will briefly go over it again. First off, allowing 40 seconds for an offense and defense to reset as well as call a play is ridiculous. I could understand if the quarterback or captain was trying to decide which play to do but he is simply passing on instructions, the play is decided upstairs. Also, the commercial breaks in a televised football game are out of control. There has even been suspicion that some coaches purposely extend a game by calling timeouts just so networks can get extra commercial breaks . Also, the stoppage of time in football can be quite ridiculous as such as in the NCAA where in the last 2 minutes of the game, the clock is stopped after every single play . It’s tedious enough already with both teams getting a free break with the 2 minute warning and with all the timeouts and spiking of the ball being called. There is no real flow in a football game unlike the constant ebb of a soccer match.
3. Tie Resolution
I completely agree with the fact that PKs don’t determine the better team. However, PKs are a necessary evil because as you pointed on this round in your refutations, games can go 90 minutes without a goal being scored and with only 30 minutes of overtime, sometimes goals aren’t even scored there. A two hour game ending with a tie shows that the teams are practically the same skill level and there isn’t much alternative to PKs to decide a winner. Sure, they could go back to the golden goal rule and just have both teams play until the first goal is scored, but that could last awhile and would only prove which team as greater endurance. NFL football has been flawed in the past with their overtime system, as a team only needed to gain around 40 yards before kicking a field goal and winning it, before the opposing team even had an opportunity to touch the ball. However, they did fix this injustice recently.
If you have ever seen the movie Eurotrip, the phrase “soccer hooligans” brings to mind the typical stereotype of a soccer fan that my opponent has brought up. However, there is nothing like attending a soccer game, especially in Europe. Fans are so much more passionate of a soccer game than their counterparts attending a football game. From an entire half of a stadium going doing the Poznan  to the constant buzz of a vuvuzuela. No football game can compare to the energy and passion exuded by soccer fans . The fact that people can become so enthralled by this game is remarkable. I think this shows why soccer is better sport than football. However, my opponent does point out some nasty incidents that have erupted. While some riots can be atributed to the diplomatic situation between countries and other alcohol (not an excuse though), a chunk of them are because soccer fans are hugley passionate about their teams. This passion as I said before isn’t a bad thing but the lack of restraint on the part of fans isn’t and it tarnishes the reputation of soccer. However, the NFL causes riots of its own, as riots tend to break out after Super Bowls, as shown by this year 
With the final round upon us, I would like to wish my opponent luck. This has been an excellent debate and I look forward to seeing your final argument, as well as the opinion of the voters.
In response to my opponent's rebuttal of my complexity argument:
In response to the time management arguments:
In response to the tie resolution arguments:
In response to the fan arguments:
Now, with the responses out of the way I will list the arguments my opponent has not refuted or responded to. These are only from the first round, since my opponent has not responded to my Round 3 comments yet (I assume he will do so in this round, and I would request he treat my responses similarly)
While the second point is rather minor - let's be honest, armed hooligans aren't common in the developed world these days - the first is very significant. More time equals more opportunities to shoot at goal. In the 2009 Manchester derby, Manchester United won on a stoppage time goal 5 minutes and 26 seconds in. Let's just say the time added was favorable to Manchester U - almost seven minutes were given, nearly twice as much as suggested minimum of four. This sort of thing does not happen in football because we stop our clocks when they need to be stopped rather than retroactively giving time back.
With that done, I would like to close my case. I believe my arguments have shown that football is better than soccer in a number of ways. In one of the most significant, timekeeping, my opponent did not refute the potential for abuse from the stoppage time system. Nothing in football is this bad. In addition, I believe I have refuted my opponent's key points - Simplicity, Excitement, Length, Fitness, and Injuries. At the very least my counterguments offer room for thought; at the most, the negate his points. In short, I think my arguments have proven that either football is better than soccer or soccer is worse than football.
I turn the debate over to my opponent for his final responses and closing argument - thank you, and vote Pro!
Clarification on simplicity
I concede that both sports can be played individually, I have a very limited experience of football and didn't mean to imply that only soccer can. I also agree that both sports can be played easily together, i.e. it's easy to get a pickup game going. What I meant to imply is that the sport of soccer has a basis that is simpler. You take a round object (I also mean to clarify that it's a lot easier to get a round object to play soccer with than a suitable substitute for a football) and strike it with your foot. To me, this seems simpler than the basis of football, which I leave to the reader to define, as others may have different definitions.
I also concede to the point that a 0-0 tie can be quite boring for some, especially people new to soccer and those in America who are used to football, but as a soccer enthusiast myself I find nothing wrong with these games. For me to describe the game of soccer as "beautiful" would require an explanation I'm not quite sure how to word. I can't describe why. I believe a key reason why soccer is a better sport is because of its fluidity. Unlike the start and stop nature of football which I find annoying but my opponent equates, quite nicely I might add, to an action movie. This is accurate, a game off football is much more like an action movie than soccer is. However, soccer is one of those older movies, before there was advanced CGI and stuff to that nature. In those movies, such as maybe "Silence of the lambs", the intensity builds as the time goes on, with everyone leaning forward in their seats as the movie progresses, engrossed in the plot development, which while not action packed, is still hypnotizing. This is what I would equate soccer to. This I find better than than the on and off action of a football game.
Regarding the celebration argument, yes there are some creative guys out there and they do go beyond the stereotypical spike I referenced. However, they are hugley limited by rules and their creativity is greatly diminished, unlike in a soccer game where ther are far less rules governing celebrations.
Injury and Fitness
Most soccer players wouldn't do well in a football game and most football players wouldn't do well in a soccer match. Each athlete has spent a majority of his life training for a specific job. However, I only point this out because of the adverse effects of obesity, the prevalence of obesity in the NFL, and the effects it has on younger football players. Also, related to deaths and injury, I concede that soccer has had its share of deaths. But so has football. However, when there is such a vast number of people playing soccer and over such a long time, deaths do happen. However, in a sport played by less people such as football and where middle school kids are dying from it, I see this as a bigger problem. Also, many football players have after career complications, resulting from their years playing. Many experience death before their 50th birthday, well below the national lifespan average .
I will concede that soccer fans can be more passionate and also wish to clarify that I didn't mean that soccer was more popular just because it had more fans, I apologize for wording that wrongly. However, while some fans do tarnish the sports reputation (I agree wholeheartedly on the disgracefulness of soccer riots), they are not just in the sport of soccer, every sport has them. Also, I believe that the fans, the vast majority of them, add to the sport of soccer. I already covered this earlier so I won't bore anyone by reiterating it. However, I would like to say that for many, a soccer game, especially FIFA, is incredibly exciting. Soccer fans are so much more passionate about their teams (which leads to bad things though as has been pointed out before) and this leads to a more lively game experience than one would experience at a football game.
MU stoppage time
Refs are human. When you have tens of thousands of passionate fans screaming for one side, you're tempted to go with them. Do I think this is acceptable? Not at all. Stoppage time should be determined by a ref perhaps offsite or sitting up in a press box.
To conclude, I would like to cite again soccer's fluidity and complexity, as well as its simplicity. There's a reason soccer gains immense popularity in impoverished areas (i.e. Africa). In the words of John Cruijiff, "Soccer is simple, but it is difficult to play simple".
I would also like to thank my opponent for an insightful and polite debating experience. Finally, to remind the readers, just like my opponent has, that the BOP is equal. Vote Con!
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