Well, it’s on. Futbol Americano is being played in Commerce, America with an international flair, and it won’t be easy. Here are 5 things to provide context.
- Gridiron Football (or American football) is VERY popular in Mexico, but especially in the Northern states that border Texas and New Mexico/Arizona. Popular in the same way that ice hockey is very popular in the northern states of the US that border Canada, and just like the Mexican football teams of the north, the closer they are to the country that loves the sport the better they are. (Think Minnesota, North Dakota, Wisconsin).
- The school we are playing is a major University system in Mexico that has some of the best gridiron players in Mexico. The two schools that produce the most talent are Monterrey Tech and Universidad Nuevo Leon. These two schools send their talented players to Nuevo Leon to play on the highest level of non-professional football. To explain in better, think of it this way. Let’s say that there was a University in North Texas that teamed up with schools like DeSoto, Southlake Carroll, Allen, Dallas Skyline, and Duncanville to funnel their best players to that school and play college football for them. That would essentially be a super team, and that is what we are basically facing.
- This is a truly neat opportunity. The Mexican teams that come up to the US to play see this as a privilege to play the best and also use it to their advantage as they play later on in the year. Playing a high caliber college team from the US will greatly help any of the Mexican University teams down the road, and truth be told, playing a school that is not used to losing will be good for us too.
- Watching the film that I have been mulling over ever since this became probability, I see a few things that stick out. First, UNL plays hard. I don’t just mean in effort but in what they do. They don’t just tackle, they tackle and hit hard. Routine tackles are punishment. They also jaw-jack a lot, and the Lions need to contain their emotions because flags could be costly. Finally, the team executes their game plan very well. Their receivers are crisp route runners and are overall fundamentally sound. The Lions of course have much more talent, but talent does not always guarantee a win.
- I hope this is a great experience for both teams and fanbases. This is a great chance for cultural exposure for both of the teams, and not to put too fine a point on it, but I love seeing gridiron Football taking a hold in country so close to us. The fact that we are making history by playing the first international collegiate football game in history is something great and again, huge props to our athletic department for getting this done. The season kicks off soon, and not soon enough.