The British take on American football link SMQ was searching for in his last post is here, from The Guardian:
Gridiron war games rule...Gaudy, vulgar, contrived, melodramatic, overhyped and regularly punctuated with gratuitous violence - what's not to like about American football?
You may have surmised the sophisticated wit of backhanded compliments from the English expat author, Stephen Wells, who's ripped the vulgar American game before and makes odd references to things like "America's football dead." But he does also admit, seemingly in earnest:
You want to know why American football has made me its bitch? It's because it's so relentlessly, jubilantly and definitively futuristic. Baseball is a boring old fart wallowing in nostalgia. Football runs around like a ADD-afflicted special-needs kid with the key to the drug cupboard, wearing tights, a cape and goggles, screaming gleefully as he pretends to be a superhero-astronaut. Like Japanese manga, Snakes On A Plane, Art Brut's We're in a Band, and Apocalypse Now - American football is so intensely and inherently existential that it's all but beyond aesthetic criticism.
Since the 1960s, American football has been the once and forever future sport. When the NFL guys saw the Nasa guys using those cool hands-free head-mikes, they immediately nicked them. From the astronaut style helmets to the shiny metallic-blue sheen of the Dallas Cowboys' super-futuristic play-pants, American football is modernism incarnate - forever relentlessly updating the Kennedyesque can-do, gung-ho, woof-woof, early 1960s version of the coming Space Age.
Are there political reasons to hate the game? Hell yeah. But none of them strong enough to survive contact with the visceral thrill of watching a car crash without the car. Steve Volk is a left-leaning journalist at the left-leaning Philadelphia Weekly newspaper. At a recent pre-season game between the Eagles and his beloved Pittsburgh Steelers, he watched a particularly savage (but perfectly legal) tackle and had a moment of crisis. A "What am I doing? Why the hell am I watching this?" episode. "I get them occasionally. This one lasted about 30 seconds."
And then, of course, there's the war.
SMQ presumes the "political reasons to hate the game" are metaphorical and related in very large part to the surrounding hoopla, fireworks, frequently insulting fans, and ludicrous pomp such as was on display before Thursday night's professional opener, intended to draw "fans" who don't really like football so much into watching the commercials and getting an eyeful of the maximum possible number of logos (the latter tactic is not necessarily an American innovation). Or perhaps he finds distasteful the un-spontaneous, showy individual celebrations. In such cases, SMQ reminds Lord Wells to hate the playa, not the game.
On the topic of celebrations, ones even snobby Brits could possibly appreciate, SMQ recalls his favorite celebration, from about three years ago, when a Wisconsin player (possibly Erasmus James) was so overjoyed after getting a sack he got up off the ground and bear hugged a nearby ref. Even the official started laughing as the player apologized. Nothing contrived about that, at least.