Quick “Wildcats” reference for you, and I’m not talking about trendy offense Ronnie Brown runs for the Miami Dolphins. I’m actually referring to Goldie Hawn for those of you old enough to remember.
“It’s the sport of Kings, better than diamond rings...football...football.”
What better way to describe, what I believe to be, the greatest sport known to man.
It’s a sport that rings in a season. It unites a city, and galvanizes a fan base. It warrants a dozen or so parties a year and dominates the water cooler conversation on Mondays.
It's season consists of fewer games than any of the other major sports, yet it has become a year round obsession by fans, and a 12-month-a-year job for its players and coaches.
It’s football, and the thought of it gives goose bumps to even the most hardened of men.
But which form is the most beloved?
Is it college or the pros that you live for?
Below we take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of the NCAA vs. the NFL, and let you decide.
The NFL has the Green Bay Packers, the Dallas Cowboys, and the Oakland Raiders. There is plenty of history here for some very marketable names. The league dates back to 1920 when it was called American Professional Football Association.
The NCAA has the Oklahoma Sooners, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, and the University of Southern California Trojans. Even more history here as the first documented game of “football” was played in 1869 pitting Rutgers against Princeton (as each team is known today).
In addition to the history advantage, there are over 100 teams in the NCAA compared to only 32 in the NFL. It’s like shopping at a Wal-Mart compared to a convenience store.
The NCAA has crazy shirtless teenagers with chests painted their team colors as they chant in unison on one side of the stadium while the other side waits to chant back an answer.
They scream that their team is No. 1 when in actuality they have yet to make the Top 25. They pack into stadiums like sardines, and in some cases can cause small towns to become the most populated in the state on game day.
The NFL has rabid, creative fans who can feel a vested interest in their teams with the introduction of the PSL. They take pride in having their own idea of how personnel decisions should be made, and they dominate the apparel industry as players names are allowed to be on jerseys.
Bottom line however, is even with the NCAA having almost four times as many teams as the NFL, we never see over 100,000 pack in for an NFL game as we do commonly in college games.
The NCAA has some of the best athletes in the country fighting for the pigskin every week. They have blue chip prospects and five star recruits. They have college visits, and National Signing Day. But they don’t have the best, and they are only there for a handful of years.
The NFL does have the best. They have the draft, free agency and trades. You can have a star play 10-15 years for your team or you can bring in a player you have rooted against for years. The salary cap also adds a competitive edge to the league creating parity across the board.
Being able to follow special players for a career rather than a four year period makes the players in the NFL that much more special. Whether loving them, or loving to hate them, you are able to form a longer, stronger bond in the NFL.
In the NCAA you have very affordable tickets to coliseums that in some cases appear to be better suited for gladiator fights than football games. The stadium’s history and its character ooze from the run down concession stands, while the aluminum bleachers rattle like shields and swords when jumped upon much to the liking of the fevered home crowd.
The NFL has venues built for the fan’s experience with escalators, ushers and HD screens the size of office buildings. They have giveaways, games, and promotions designed to keep the entire family entertained.
While the NFL ticket exceeds the college ticket in price, Jerry Jones has ushered in the new era of NFL entertainment with his billion dollar stadium. You won’t find one of those in the college ranks.
The NFL has the Chicago Bears vs. the Green Bay Packers, the Dallas Cowboys vs. the Washington Redskins and the Pittsburgh Steelers vs. the Cleveland Browns. These rivalries have brought out some of the best in many hall-of-famers over the years, and nothing beats an old video tape of NFL Films with the voice of legendary John Facenda.
The NCAA has USC-Notre Dame, Miami-Florida State, Alabama–Auburn, Oklahoma-Texas, and many more. These clashes are rich in tradition and peppered with stories of the higher ranked team suffering the upset loss to its rival.
A loss to your rival will sting harder when your opponent resides in state. Most college rivals are within miles of each other making it harder on the losing fans.
With mush respect to the “frozen tundra of Lambeau Field”, the NFL rivalries just aren’t what they used to be. In addition you never hear of one being referred to as simply “The Third Saturday in October.”
The NCAA has the history of its bowl games. Every year college football teams fight for the possibility of going to a bowl. It’s a chance to travel to different city and take part in the pageantry of the each specific bowl’s history.
The National Championship is decided by the winner of the BCS Championship game. Its participants are tabulated by a formula factoring in polls and rankings.
The NFL has a true playoff system. The top six teams, basically, from each conference fight in a single elimination tournament that culminates in the granddaddy of them all, the Super Bowl.
The NCAA has never quite solved the problem of how to decide its champion. The Super Bowl accounts for nine of the top ten most watched shows in the history of television.
So, what is your opinion? With football right around the corner, who gets your hard earned dollars? Who do you look forward to seeing more this weekend?
Weigh in with your answer and let us know why!