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Association football (Soccer) is a more creative sport than American Football

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/22/2014 Category: Sports
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,061 times Debate No: 56996
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
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I watched a video on Youtube recently of John Cleese (a British comedian) making a rather entertaining argument extolling the virtues of association football over American football, something which I believe is largely a subjective decision. His primary argument, however, was somewhat more objective: that Association football is a more creative sport than American football:

Being British, I fully agree with Mr Cleese, and yet I would like to hear the opinions of proponents of American Football, as they were not forthcoming in the comments section of the video.


I would first like to say that I enjoy watching and playing both American football and soccer, as I call it. I know the rules for both because I referee for soccer and play football. Secondly, Mr. Cleese is a comedian. I really don't think he's trying to be serious on this one, but for argument's sake, let's say he is. In his rant, he states the following:

1. Soccer never caught on with Americans because it's too creative

2. In America, the action is purposefully kept short so that there can be a lot of commercials and so the players don't have to think

3. The players get instructions from the quarterback, who receives them from the sideline, so no one has to think

4. This is the same thing as doing exactly as you're told, it is not very creative, or as Mr. Cleese says "Dick Cheney's version of creativity"

5. American football is played like a series of advertising jingles, while soccer is played like jazz

Then he goes on another rant about the title of our sport and their sport, and how his sport's name is more logical than ours. First of all, I would like to point out that the first people to use the term soccer were the British[1]. We've just adopted the name along with Australia, Canada, and New Zealand[2].

Now my points refuting Mr. Cleese's:

1. Soccer never caught on in America because it's too creative
This claim is false and biased; in my community we have a rec soccer league, a travel league, and lots more. If soccer never caught on in America, how come we have a national team? How come over 13 million people play soccer[3]? Almost all of my friends play soccer and don't watch or play American football.

2. The action is kept short for commercials and so the players don't have to think
I'll address the thinking when I get to point 4, so for now I'll argue against commercials. Football plays are, on average, four seconds long. That's how long it takes for a running back or a receiver to get tackled after the ball is handed off or passed. If the quarterback is sacked before he passes it, play stops then, too. That's the real reason why every play is short. There are multiple plays before a commercial break happens, but with the commercials a game ends up about three hours long.

3. The quarterback gives instructions to the players that were received from the sideline
This is somewhat true, but what Mr. Cleese gets wrong is the fact that no one has to think for themselves. Everyone on the team must memorize a playbook so they know who they're blocking and they must block them so their team can
advance towards the endzone. Here is just one play from a playbook:

When a defensive player is coming after the quarterback/running back than an offensive player must act on instinct built up by hours of extremely difficult practices, and must tactically decide how to protect the ball carrier.
4. This is the same thing as doing exactly as you're told, or as Mr. Cleese calls it, "Dick Cheney's version of creativity"
They have to do the play exactly right, otherwise they won't score.
5. American football is played like a series of advertising jingles, while soccer is played like jazz
In other words, we can't play our own sport like we play the music we invented. In actual other words, American football is boring and uncoordinated while soccer is creative and colorful with many different factors and results.

Like I said, I take this more like a comedy routine than a serious rant, but it certainly makes for an interesting debate.


The second wikipedia link doesn't work, but it's the football (word) page of it.
Debate Round No. 1


Well, I think my opponent hasn't really understood or read the title of the debate, but I suppose that's partly my fault for not defining the parameters early. Despite this I thought the title of the debate made it fairly clear: I'm not asking for a critique of the video, but a debate on which sport is more creative: something which my opponent really didn't address fully.

I would define a creative sport as one in which those who take part are presented with a problem (such as putting a ball into a net or running or passing a ball into the endzone) and must create a solution using imagination and daring. This obviously goes on in both sports but I would argue that in association football, creativity is much more important, as it is required from every single player.

As my opponent has conceded, the vast majority of players on an American football team do not need to create solutions or use their imagination. They are provided with a set task to perform each play, and success usually depends on them performing that task with as much fidelity as possible. This is only possible due to the highly structured nature of the game and is therefore intrinsic to the sport, and not just due to the style of one particular team.

In association football the action is much less controlled by the coach (or manager as they are known here), and it is left to players to decide what to do in most situations. The only time when this is not the case is during set plays, which are incidentally the area of the sport which most resembles American football.

So, in association football all 11 players on each team are constantly required to think for themselves and adapt to changing conditions, in other words, they are being creative. Conversely, American football players are required to follow orders, precisely the opposite. The only people who really have to think for themselves are the coaches, and even they don't use original plays during the game. Hence association football is more creative.


patrick967 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


Hitchslap2013 forfeited this round.


patrick967 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Dr.Love 7 years ago
If this debate gets made again I would love a chance to be the Con. I have played both and have studied the ins and outs of American Football and believe I can give a better representation for American Football than the current debater
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