So like every other dedicated American lad, I was set to watch Super Bowl XLVII (47). This year’s Super Bowl was a special one: two brothers coaching opposing teams for the very first time in NFL history (Jim Harbaugh for the San Francisco 49ers and John Harbaugh for the Baltimore Ravens). When the other American students and I arrived at the Woolshed Bar for the festivities we were in for a big surprise, the place was mobbed. It was so packed you could barely move through all the people, there was nowhere to sit, and getting a beer was quite nearly an impossible task. This made me wonder why is American football so popular in Ireland? Shouldn’t they be off watching Gaelic football?
Some research (http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1073811-nflthe-rise-in-populartiy-of-americas-game-in-ireland) has indicated the rise in popularity is because of “machoness” of the sport. Irishmen like there sports rough, if there is physical contact and the chance to get hurt it’s a good game in their eyes. The article continues to list facts like cheerleaders and any excuse to drink but perhaps these aren’t the only reasons. I personally believe that it’s the fact that Ireland’s culture has been greatly impacted by American culture (such as movies, music, etc.) and this is the natural progression of both our culture’s assimilation into one mixed culture. But it’s not one sided, Gaelic Football has seen a rise in popularity state side but what’s the difference between the two?
“A huge difference between American football and Gaelic football is that the Irish athletes are amateurs… Rather, they are regular citizens with full-time jobs, a love for their county, and a love for their sport. (http://royalpurplenews.com/?p=1518)”. The article explains that Gaelic football has 15 players per side in the same positions as soccer. It has a leather ball and players are allowed to walk 4 steps before they have to kick or pass the ball. You score by getting the ball through an “H” shaped goal post going through the top gets you one point and through the bottom is 3 points. I as an American football fan am both a) intrigued by the concept of Gaelic Football and b) see some similarities to the American version. But what really matters is the Baltimore Ravens won 34-31, the Beyoncé concert was amazing, BBC didn’t show the American commercials but both American and Irish lads had a great time at the pub!