Tuesday, June 15, 2010


TO: Czabe
FROM: Matt Nevinger
RE: "The Dreadful Game"

Alas, I shouldn't do this. But, I dvr'd the Dutch game this morning (one of my favorite teams to watch), made it through the whole day without learning any scores, got home and got the family squared away, and was finally able to watch the match. Oh, and have a few drinks doing so, which is probably what has led to this fruitless email.

I lived in Europe for a while. I was a soccer fan before, but this certainly deepened my feelings. I was in Ireland for the 2002 World Cup, and Robbie Keane's goal against Germany will forever be the most exciting sporting moment of my life (buzzer beaters and last second field goals aren't even in the same league as watching someone grasp a four-year in-the-works lifeline for their whole country).

Your comments are the same ill-informed, openly biased rubbish every person who dismisses the game throws out. Look, I don't like tomatoes. I don't feel the need to write an editorial about it. If someone asks, I just say they're not my favorite and move on.

Ah, where to start?

How about with your "Get rid of offsides" suggestion? Yeah, that will open the game up. It's sort of like saying that if you were allowed to lineup your receivers fifteen yards in the secondary the defenses would be more aggressive and you would see more blitzing. This is actually very similar to football: if you want to go over the top, you have to actually beat someone.

I've thought about it (and tried to explain football to Europeans), and here it the best analogy I can come up with: get rid of holding.

EUROPEAN FAN: It's a stupid rule. I can't normally see it when it happens (mainly because I don't know where to look or the camera isn't focused on that part of the field) and all these awesome plays get called back because of it. Seriously, does it really impact the play? Let offensive guards tackle blitzing linebackers and who cares if a safety grabs a receiver? I don't understand how this could affect the game, so just get rid of it.

Seriously, no rule in sports encourages more aggressive play (bring those defenders forward--if they can all work together the strikers have to stay with them) and creates more space (if offsides didn't exist, at least one defender would never leave the top of the penalty area, if you had a two goal lead, it would be even worse, which would completely diminish the likelihood of comebacks, but I digress). Also, it is maybe the only example of a rule in sports that allows a team to leverage risk. What if the NFL got rid of ineligible receivers? Think about it: you could have a center and nine downfield skill players. Of course the other team could just blitz you, but if you got rid of the ball quick enough, who cares? For the defense, you could run nothing but safeties and corners, but at some point you have to create pressure. You're call.

Anyway, you can now go back to dismissing a great game (and the most brilliant sporting event in the world). But believe me: if you had been in that pub with me with Robbie Keane scored, you wouldn't feel this way.


P.S. Most football games are at least moderately boring unless you are very knowledgeable and can watch at a higher level, and most deep passes fall incomplete.


  1. soccer sucks plain and simple. its boring, slow, actionless and noisy, oh boy i can't wait to sit on the couch for ninety minutes and see 5 total shots on goal. yippee!! im sick and tired up people trying to ram it down my neck. bp should take all the soccer balls in the world and plug that dam leak with them.

  2. Czabe:

    Thank you for posting this fellow's reply to yesterday's blog entry. I don't think he will convince you to appreciate or like soccer, but you could have very easily swept this under the rug.

    - Taha

  3. And I am sick of people trying to ram the NBA down my throat!

    I would rather watch an MLS match between the two worst teams than any game ever played in the NBA.

    Sorry, Czabe, there are at least two soccer fans who (generally) like your work!

  4. At least the soccer players play better than Lamar Kardashian wack azz

  5. You're both right...soccer and the NBA both stink. Liberals love soccer. It's a chance to bring the world together in one place, where everyone can ignore the action, blow incessantly on horns, dance in the stands regardless of the score, and whine to "authorities" when someone bigger and stronger kicked them in the shin. All that matters is that you try, not succeed. Ideally, the game ends tied (everybody wins!). And each team gets a prize no matter the score...a sweaty jersey from the other team.

  6. Amen, Bob D. Soccer is a great equalizer, because in all likelihood there won't be a winner, just 2 teams that can go away content with a tie and maybe even brag about it. I propose a deal with the rest of the world: the U.S.A. will keep real football, baseball, the beacon of freedom, and tailgating. Euros, you can have the following: depending on the U.S.A. to bail your asses out of wars both hot and cold, soccer, snooty continental attitudes, and chicks with armpit hair. I'm glad we could work this out.

  7. If you believe that holding doesn't affect a play, you know nothing about football. The game would be nearly unplayable if holding were allowed.

  8. Defending soccer is silly so please just stop. A 0-0 tie? C'mon. Baseball is like watching paint dry, and is still infinitely more entertaining than this silliness.

    My favorite soccer news of the week was the story about the player who broke his arm and was going to play with a cast, but before he could play FIFA (FO FUM) had to clear him because they were concerned the cast might pose a danger to OTHER PLAYERS! Wow.

  9. Oh geez. Nothing like a soccer debate for the Right Wing Nut Jobs (RWNJs) to come out of the woodwork and somehow politicize this.

    I'm not particularly a huge fan of soccer one way or the other, but it takes a great deal of athletic skill and thrills billions of fans all over the world. Why can't people just recognize that and then live and let live.

  10. I love it when people create acronyms (RWNJ) and then don't use the acronym later in the post. If you're going to go through the mental gymnastics of creating the acronym, at least use it. I mean really, what was the point?

    As for soccer, I think the ideas that soccer players are great athletes AND the game is boring are mutually exclusive. What I would not do is make an argument about how bad soccer is using the NBA as an example of how it should be done. Others have made this point correctly that the NBA sucks donkey balls.

  11. The same can be said about soccer Czabe. There are boring games in soccer. I will give you that but there is more to soccer than just goals. A non-soccer fan cannot grasp that just like the average football fan cannot grasp football. There are games that end 0-0 that are incredible and there are games that end 5-0 that are boring. Unfortunately, the average American fan does not understand that. One will look at the ties during the World Cup and complain but in reality, 8 years ago, North Korea would have lost 5-0 to Brazil. The gap between the best teams and the worst teams is closing. This is incredible to soccer fans. To watch two countries play two completely different styles is great.

    Soccer fans have not asked you to watch the World Cup. Just ignore ESPN for the next 3 weeks.

    American sports writers who commentate and write about the World Cup sound like asses when it comes to soccer. Just let it go.

    Still a huge fan, just don't talk about soccer.

  12. I love it when adults retain their nicknames from when they were 10 years old. Just sayin, Jimbo.

  13. I disagree with crowan when he says that soccer fans have not asked you to watch the World Cup. They have done nothing but for the last 20+ years. Watch the World Cup and you'll turn into a fan, it's great, trust us. No really, this World Cup will turn you. If they are not asking, nay, begging us to watch why is it getting ESPN coverage in the U.S.? Meanwhile hockey fans had to search TV guides to find the Versus channel for Stanley Cup matches played between two American teams. And all the soccer fans who say to sportswriters "just leave it be if you don't like it"...um, hello, it's sport, it's their job to comment and opine about it.
    Last ad: yeah, "cedesantis" is much cooler than Jimbo.

  14. Watching a match for 90 minutes and ending at a 0-0 tie is like watching all of Gladiator and having Maximus and Commodus just shake hands and go home. It's not just boring, it's pointless. Oh, I'm sorry, did you want to be entertained? Wrong sport. Try football.

  15. How about instead of getting rid of offsides they just create "blue" lines like in hockey? Put the lines 25 yards in front of the goal. If an offensive players beats his defender and gets the ball before reaching the line then either the defender catches up or the offensive player has a breakaway against the goalie. That seems to make the most sense to me.

  16. thats the most ridiculous thing i have ever heard. you should really stop talking soccer. stick to baseball/football.

  17. People who watch soccer are riduculous to me. The sport sucks. Deal with it.

  18. you are an idiot. stop talking. you make no sense. you come up with stupid ideas and then cannot handle when people tell you that. go back to watching baseball and football. ignore espn for the time being.

  19. Sounds like you cant handle people telling you your sport sucks and how it can be improved and gain more viewers in the US. Having fun watching your 0-0 and 1-0 games....Oh i forgot, its not always about scoring goals. Its about "strategy" and "ball control".

  20. Briliant comeback on the handle, cedesantis, whatever the f**k cedesantis is. Maybe it's another acronym. I'll chalk this up to one of the first times I've run into someone who takes blogging handles as seriously as they take their soccer. which makes all the sense in the world. You're a real catch man.