Which is Better - College Football or NFL Football?

Matthew GilmartinSenior Analyst IJuly 15, 2008

For as long as I can remember, football fans have argued whether college football or NFL football is better.  It's time to settle the score.

If you're a college football fan reading this, I know what you're thinking: we have more enthusiastic players. 

Yes, I have to admit, being a big NFL fan, that that is true—especially after watching my beloved Carolina Panthers play with no energy or spirit whatsoever last year.

College football players play for the love of the game and the thrill of competing.  Many NFL players simply play for the money (which their families often need). 

But there are those few NFL athletes who play for the love of the game (cough, cough, Steve Smith of the Panthers, cough, cough).

College 1, NFL 0 


The college game may also have more enthusiastic fans, as college grads usually root for their alma-maters for the rest of their lives once they graduate.  The fact that they went to the school creates a sentimental attachment to it and often makes them more enthusiastic fans. 

But NFL fans can form strong sentimental attachments to their teams as well.  Many NFL fans grow up rooting for their team from a very young age, and once they get to be old enough the thought of rooting for another team is just preposterous.   

On the other hand, that's the case with many college football fans, too.

College 2, NFL 0


The rules are very different between the two levels of play. 

In college, receivers only have to have one foot in bounds to make a sideline catch. 

In the NFL receivers have to have both feet inbounds to make a sideline grab.

While I like the added difficulty in the NFL rule because the extra skill required to make plays is more fun to watch, the NCAA's rule is more lenient, which can allow for more offense.  And every football fan loves offense.

College 3, NFL 0       


In college both teams get a possession in overtime. 

In the NFL often only the team that wins the coin toss gets a possession in overtime.  The first team to score wins. 

The NFL's method of finding a winner in overtime games is hugely flawed and based mostly on luck.  

Having seen my team victimized by this glitch in NFL rules before, I can tell you that there's no worse feeling than walking out of the stadium frustrated because the other team scored first and won without your team even getting a chance to do something.  

College football's rules are much more fair and no doubt less anger-inducing.

College 4, NFL 0


College football players are usually dignified, honorable young men who are great role models (yes, I know, not all college football players are perfect people).  Many are hard-working, responsible, respectful, polite people.

Far fewer NFL athletes are quality role models whose behavior you would want your kids copying.  Some are drug addicts, alcoholics, and criminals masked by the elite athletes they claim to be—and only be—for three hours on 16 fall and winter Sundays, Mondays, or Thursdays. 

No parent wants their kids to grow up to be anything like these rebellious, dishonorable, irresponsible athletes.  I wouldn't want myself or any of my friends and family members to be like those guys, either.   

College 5, NFL 0


So far this has been a college-football dominated list.  But this last topic is the one place where NFL football reigns—overall quality of talent. 

College football players—especially D-I athletes—are very good at the game.  But the bottom line is that they are not the best gridiron athletes in the world—that's why they're not getting paid to play the sport in the NFL. 

The college game is overall easier than the NFL game due to a shortage of overall talent because most top players who have graduated from high school opt to play in the NFL ASAP. 

NFL players are the best of the best.  They make a living playing football, teams pour millions of dollars into them in hopes of having the best team on the planet.  

Plus, as was mentioned earlier, NFL rules are less relenting than NCAA regulations, making it even harder to be good.

When you add up the facts that NFL players are better than collegiate athletes and that NFL rules are tougher, there's no question that the NFL has more talent and skill. 

Which makes the NFL more fun to watch. 

That's why I'm a huge NFL fan (and I think the Madden NFL games are awesome) and I think that college football (and the NCAA football games) is utterly boring. 

Final score:

College 5, NFL 1


Even though I personally love the NFL and avoid college football as much as possible (which is hard to do because my brother absolutely lives for college football), I must admit that, based on these points, the college game kicks the pro game's tail.                                


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