We love our full-contact sports don't we? We just really appreciate really big dudes smashing each other and little blokes running a'muck. The big shots, the skill, the speed, the funk/stuff that you can't find anywhere else like a Roger Tuivasa-Sheck/Nehe Milner-Skudder step - it's all there and it's fabulous.
Before I go any further, I need to make my standing on the following matter pretty clear; I don't want to see the NFL encroach on the dominance of rugby and rugby league in our part of the world (Aotearoa and Australia). I like the NFL, but I don't like it more than any sort of rugby or rugby league.
Jarryd Hayne's excursion to the NFL has increased the popularity of the NFL down here, which is cool but it only raises the competition in the Australasian sporting market. Given the financial backing and smarts of the NFL - which puts the NRL and Super Rugby in the shade like 'ya'll are five years behind' - it's not crazy to imagine the NFL targeting Australia and in-turn Aotearoa as potential un-tapped markets. This has already started with the amount of NFL we get on our telly's and with Hayne going well, NFL scouts and agents are hunting for the next big thing, of which we have in abundance.
I'm a Twitter kid. I've grown up with Facebook and Twitter, this is my world now and these are the tools I believe can take the fight to the NFL. As I said, I don't hate the NFL but I don't want to see the sports I love fall victim to Americans with lots of money. Whether it's bits of footage from the NRL or Rugby World Cup that amaze the casual viewer, being thrown around the world via social media or a simple hashtag like #FreeHodgo; the sports that we love can let the product do the talking and build some sort of social media hype for trivial matters.
Right now, the NFL has Americans in an absolute frenzy, as is usually the case. But right now there is also a very exciting Rugby World Cup going down and the NRL season is coming to a climax. You could say that both rugby and rugby league are currently peaking, the very best players are on display and they are doing amazing things. Thanks to the ease of access to videos and information, the whole world can now enjoy the sports that I love instead of a rather small-minded view taking hold. I want the whole world and NFL fans throughout America to watch the NRL Grand Final and see how cool this sport is. I want those same people to watch the Rugby World Cup and enjoy the contact and intensity of rugby at its finest. And in 2015 that's so easy to do.
I think most of us look at the NFL as the big dawgs. They have the most money and we just assume that the NFL has the best product. But I'd vouch for rugby and rugby league any day of the week and instead of waiting for the NFL to come to our shores and bring the battle for market-share right to us, why don't rugby and rugby league take the fight to the NFL? This has already started with the All Blacks and Wallabies playing games in the USA, but they become a bit meh because they result in easy wins with dumb commentators and small crowds.
But if Americans see a Vine or a video of some of the amazing action we see on a regular basis in rugby and rugby league then that would do a much better job.
The other part of interest is the battle between rugby and rugby league for dominance of our market. Super Rugby is a growing beast and while Japan's team might not really take off, there are encouraging signs out of Argentina and the product served up each week is largely of a high quality. But Super Rugby falls behind the NRL, which in my eyes is the premier sporting competition in Australia and Aotearoa.
I can't remember things being more competitive though with the NRL spreading its tentacles throughout Aotearoa and Super Rugby having a wee resurgence in Australia. The fact that Australia now has a provincial rugby competition also points to positives signs. The A-League, AFL and ANZ Championship are all strong as well, so it's only getting crazier.
I hope we all know that the Melbourne Storm currently have a development team in Wellington to play games against Wellington youth teams. This is yet another example of the NRL's strong links to Aotearoa and with more kiwis than ever playing in the NRL, it is truly a trans-Tasman competition. Pity the Warriors aren't taking development teams around Aotearoa though, they are just leaving the door open for smart Aussie clubs to get in.
Lastly, I had a slightly crazy thought last night that I don't think is very crazy at all.
Australia have security concerns about their cricket tour to Bangladesh, because an Italian man was stalked and murdered by militants. Australia have concerns and have been told by the USA and England that touring would be risky business.
Australia, like Aotearoa have strong alliances with England and the USA. We're basically in bed with them for starters thanks to the old East vs West vibe and the perils of religion which see the world fighting against each other just because someone believes something different.
Asia and the Middle East (possibly Africa) may, at some point become too dangerous for any sort of sporting team to tour. This is thanks to both sides (East vs West and Christian vs Muslim) reckless trying to kill each other - BOTH SIDES ARE GUILTY OF THIS. It would be horrible, but if we (the world) keep on recklessly killing each other then violence will only escalate and the world will only become more fragmented.
Is it too crazy to raise the idea of that fragmentation shifting to the sporting world? I definitely don't think so because touring sporting teams are easy prey compared to attacking America or some redneck Americans abusing/killing a foreign athlete/team just because they believe in Allah. If things continue on the path of reckless violence and hatred that we are currently on, then we could, for example, see cricket teams from Australia, England and Aotearoa unable to tour anywhere in Asia. This could stretch to any other sport and would be crazy. We would have sporting leagues for certain countries and so on. Which would suck.
C'mon world, sort your shit out.