An Open Letter to the People of London


I just wanted to drop you all a note to say sorry about that football game yesterday. I know I've already admitted that rugby is a superior game, but honestly, the NFL can do better.

You see, the thing is, the Miami Dolphins are a really bad team this year. And the New York Giants, much as I love them, have a long history of playing down to the level of their opponents. You match those two up anywhere, you're going to get pretty much what you got yesterday. I'm just sorry it had to happen in your fine city.

(Though, honestly, the conditions of the field didn't help. You know, in American cities with a pissy wet climate, we have this marvelous invention called a "roof" that extends over the whole playing field. I know it sounds crazy, but it works...

(Of course, I suppose that's what we get for putting a football game on a soccer field. Had the players been willing to flop over at the first hint of contact, and roll around like they'd been shot with a high-powered rifle, the turf probably would've held up fine.)

So, anyway, that was an ugly display, and really not the best that the NFL has to offer. It didn't help that Giants coach Tom Coughlin was obviously trying to run the clock out for pretty much the entire second half. I think he was trying to prevent his star players from getting injured, though it might've been just courtesy. He may have thought you'd find it disorienting to watch a game called "football" in which both teams keep trying to score all the way to the end.

I'd just ask that you not judge the entire NFL based on this one game in sloppy conditions. Fire up the satellite dish, and watch the Colts play the Patriots next week-- that'll be a game worth seeing. It still won't be as good as rugby, but it'll be better than the crap display you saw yesterday.

(While I'm apologizing, let me also throw in a quick note about our national anthem. I didn't really appreciate, until I heard it being sung in London, that the entire song is basically one big "Nyaaahhh nyahhh" aimed directly at you, and your failure to take Fort McHenry in Baltimore. Got to be a little galling to listen to in your own capital, eh? Particularly since it's such a tiresome dirge of a tune.

(Of course, we're probably even on that score yesterday, given the tubby amateur you trotted out to over-sing "God Save the Queen." Christ, what a lugubrious pair of athems we have...)

Anyway, as I said, sorry about the bad show yesterday. If you're ever in the Albany area, drop me a line, and I'll buy you a beer. I'll even leave it in the garage for a few hours first, so it's at the temperature you prefer.

Your friend,



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By Jonathan Vause (not verified) on 29 Oct 2007 #permalink

Rugby better than American football? Nonsense!

It's American ingenuity that created the forward pass and I don't think we should apologise about being creative.

Still, while I didn't watch this game I did enjoy NE Whipplizing the Redsins.

Meh, you can keep the sport and no need to apologise. We forgave you years ago when we realised you couldnt do any better. You are doing your best, and one day you will graduate from "football" to rugby, just as you will one day graduate from baseball to cricket.

What you REALLY have to apologise for is the habit of getting someone with a microphone to sing the national anthems. I REALLY hate that. When I were a lad, it was down to the crowd to sing the national anthems and a much more stirring event it were too. (Well, not when England were playing, thats a crappy anthem as well, but when Scotland were playing it was great).

By Donalbain (not verified) on 29 Oct 2007 #permalink


Oh, *American* football. Right.

Visited Fort McHenry the first time I was ever in the USA, lots of years ago. The guide there showed us an unusually large flag, which she confided was probably not the one that had streamed o'er the ramparts whenever.


I'd heard about the American insurrection but surely the Government of the time had cut their losses and left long before 1812?

So I asked, "Who was doing the bombarding?"
"The British sir." [What a nice lady. People never call me sir at home and even people in foreign countries don't call me sir, as a rule. A policeman in Cordova did address me as "caballero" once but he was sneering at the time.]
"Oh. This wasn't part of the, er, revolution?"
"No sir, it was the War of 1812." [What an amazingly polite lady too, but I suppose they see all kinds]
"They never told us about that back home. Who won?"
She paused for a while. "Well, I guess it was some kind of draw."

A few days later we were invited to a branch of the American Legion as guests. On the bar were dozens of jugs laid out, full of beer. "We poured them hours ago because we know you like your beer warm." Now, it's an unfortunate thing about American beer that when it's approaching room temperature you can taste what it's really like. Even so, it was a kind thought from some really nice people. Reminding ourselves that beer is beer, we gritted our teeth and drank it as fast as we could.