Friday, July 10, 2009

World American football needs improvement

The U.S. won the Junior World Championship of American Football easily ... too easily. It was so easy I thought I was looking at video game football stats.

The American team, a group of player age 19 and under, won its three games by a combined score of 174-3: they beat France 78-0; Mexico 55-0; and Canada 41-3 to win the gold medal.

I'm not sure the Americans broke a sweat during the three games. But it was defense that won it. The French had -31 yards rushing and only 7 net yards for the game. Through three games American opponents had a combined -67 rushing. That's hard to do, even in a video game.

The NFL is looking to expand beyond the U.S. borders and a world championship is one way to generate interest in other countries. But a beat-down by the home team is not going to generate much enthusiasm outside the U.S. It also shows how far behind in rest of the world is in the junior system. But it's not all that surprising. All of those other countries have other more important sports -- soccer and hockey, among others -- and have well-established junior programs.

Hopefully, the competition will be better in 2012.

The other good news is a couple IU recruits, offensive lineman Aaron Price and "athlete" Nick Zachery, made the team. Zachery was playing defense and had a 49-yard kick return against France and a sack against Mexico. He wasn't listed in the box score against Canada.

Price was among the offensive linemen used consistently. Hopefully both can translate the international success to Big Ten play.