Musings and commentary
Saturday, September 17, 2016
Having spent more time out of my day than I should have watching the recent Summer Olympics and now being confronted with the so called "America's Game" i.e. NFL football I have some thoughts as to conditioning and fitness.
First a reality check, the average NFL football game averages 6 to 8 minutes of action and replays command more time than that. A play has to be executed on 30 seconds or the offensive team is penalized. On a passing down the quarterback has 3 to 5 seconds to get rid of the ball, a running play takes even less time. those time frames represent the actual time of physical effort expended by the players. Every time out of which there are many both called and those for commercials players are swilling down athletic drinks such as Gatorade as thought they had become dehydrated. Announcers make comments such as "the defensive players are tired and slowed down due to the time they have had to spend on the field". Hello they are not even doing an interval or HIIT workout notwithstanding the "body armour" and weight they are hauling around.
Now let us take a look at some Olympic sports, I will exclude cycling and triathlon and only look at those sports which have limited breaks in the action. Let's begin with beach volleyball played with sand as the playing surface, not a lot of breaks in the action there and the demands are instant reaction based. Team volleyball does not allow a great deal more in the way of breaks in the action which equal time outs. Basketball is played at a much more frenetic pace that NFL football with timeouts but the action is of much longer duration. As for water polo itis a swim or drown option for the athletes.
Now let's look at a similar field sport played on a similar sized playing field. Soccer or football as it is called in every other country but ours is called the "world game" which is accurate. There are more countries in FIFA, the international governing body for the sport, than the number of members of the United Nations. The game has two 45 minute largely nonstop halves and a dedicated no fewer than 5 minutes half time interval. The action for each 45 minute half is virtually nonstop movement by all the players other than to goalkeeper.
My question is this, even considering the tenets of SAID(specific adaptation to imposed demand) who are the more fit athletes on a broad scale, those who play American football (my apologies to my Canadian friends since they have the same game) or the limited selection of Olympic athletes whose sports I have cited?