There might be an ongoing debate about its name but the sport itself is thriving well beyond the borders of the continental United States
There are many seemingly insoluble differences in the world. Republicans and Democrats can’t agree on anything, the varying religions of the world all have their own mutually exclusive ideas of piety and the love-it-or-hate-it Marmite division seems unlikely ever to be settled. There are those for and against nuclear power, abortion or immigration, with neither side in any case likely to change their minds or compromise, and the middle east is awash with intractable historical splits that seem all but irrevocable. We are, lamentably, a divided world.
Swedish American Football
• Sport has hoards of fans across Sweden
• NFL is down to the final four
• Swedes use ComeOn! Sportsbook to bet on Super Bowl
One of the most irritating of these differences exists in the sphere of sport and involves approximately six billion and a half billion people on one side, and around half a billion on the other. Neither side seems about to change their view, neither side would countenance the idea the other side might be right, and the argument will still be causing confusion and error many years from now as the longevity of the issue seems to have no bearing on the thought processes of those involved. This ghastly division between peoples? The word “Football”.
For the vast majority of the world football is a game of two teams of 11 men attempting to score goals using a spherical ball and, perhaps saliently, their feet to do so. Unfortunately for a vocal minority on our beleaguered planet the game of football involves an egg-shaped monstrosity, teams of what often appears like several dozen players, goal posts seemingly stolen from a rugby pitch and an apparent aversion to actually letting the ‘ball’ touch their feet. Once upon a time this wouldn’t have mattered, but then we got the internet.
Travel to the four corners of the globe and you will find nothing more irritating than an American uttering the phrase “Oh, I thought you guys were talking about real football” as if the rest of the world had some how misappropriated the name and just didn’t understand how wrong they were. In the old days you actually had to travel quite far to have it happen, now you just have to log on. In forums and chatrooms, in virtual worlds and across social media you can see this now age-old chestnut play out time and time again.
American Football In Sweden
This is actually all a bit of a shame because both sports are entirely valid in of themselves, it’s just a pity some people didn’t display a little more originality when they named theirs, and are enjoyed by legions of loyal fans. Indeed whilst by no means as widespread or popular as football there has certainly been a growth in people playing American football outside the US. There have even been NFL matches held abroad. It’ll never be real football but American Football is an awfully watchable spectacle whatever your views on the appellation.
There are teams in numerous countries from Japan to Germany, the UK to Mexico, and the NFL can claim fans in many more nations with the Super Bowl regularly attracting viewers from all over the world, whatever time of the morning it might be where they are. Of course the international spread of American Football began in the 1980s when having massive shoulder-pads and a tendency to wear spandex didn’t count against you and indeed the first Swedish teams cropped up early in that decade.
Now the gambling news that they play American Football in Sweden isn’t a complete surprise, they did come fourth in the American Football World Cup in 2007 after all, and they do have a history that involves a great deal of helmets, horned or otherwise. As with every sport the Swedes decide to try they don’t do it by halves with the SAFF (Swedish American Football Federation) having been around since 1984 and comprises of some 76 different clubs spread right across the country.
The Stockholm Mean Machines might not have the same high profile as teams across the Atlantic but their fans are just as vocal and entirely as ardent with their love of the sport and it’s top teams being every bit as evident as amongst fans in the US. There have even been Swedes who have played in the NFL, with Carl-Johan Bjork perhaps being the best known, and the US season is closely watched by fans in Sweden which means this Sunday and Monday they’ll be paying attention because the NFL is down to the final four.
Swedes Bet On The Bowl
Despite the somewhat bizarre Swedish gambling laws there will be a fair degree of cash wagered on the remaining games in Stockholm and elsewhere and fortunately ComeOn! Sportsbook is offering up all the opportunities one could wish for at the click of a mouse. This means they’re not just presenting a single book on who wins, but a whole range of options to make sure Swedish NFL fans have ample room to make the bets they want on the results they hope to see, from who scores first to a full under/over and spread facility.
This Sunday the Packers and Seahawks come together with the latter favored in the odds to walk away with a Super Bowl appearance awaiting them. Green Bay might have slipped by the Cowboys but they’re still on 3.55 with their opponents at 1.29 which means there’s plenty of room for an upset and a nice chance to earn something on the boys from the bay. Both teams share the same Over/Under at 1.90 for 46.5 and the spread is 7.5 with the packers getting 1.83 up and Seahawks 2.01 down.
Of course a day later the Indianapolis Colts have to take to the field against the New England Patriots in what is sure to be a real clash spirit, on the moneyline the Colts are 3.25 against the Patriots’ 1.34 but it gets a lot closer in the spread of 6.5 with the colts 1.90 up and the boys from New England 1.91 down, with those figures reversed on the Over/Under of some 53.5. Of course those that like internet betting in Sweden may perhaps want to bet on the Super Bowl winner right now.
ComeOn! Sportsbook has the Colts on the outside of the quartet on 9.00, the Packers in third on 6.50, the Patriots are on 2.70 close on the heels of the bookies favorites the Seattle Seahawks on whom you can still get very decent odds of 2.0 which is well worth a small flutter. The debate about the name may rage on for years to come, and that might prevent a wider spread of the game, but as the NFL comes to an explosive conclusion many around the world will be watching along to see who wins.