World Cup Countdown: T-Minus 3 Days



So today was supposed to be about previewing the U.S. Men's National Team but then John Oliver went and did the bit you see above (NSFW languange).

In case you can't watch the whole video, the gist of it is this: FIFA is a real-life version of the Legion of Doom. Now, I mentioned the unrest that Brazil is seeing in the face of the World Cup last week, but any soccer fan that has been paying attention, all of this is old news.

All of which begs the question: If the World Cup is put on by such a heinous organization, why follow soccer at all? Oliver addresses this question at the end of his bit, talking about how, as a British-born person, he grew up with soccer as a religion and compared it, not so subtly, to the Catholic Church. The parallels are striking.

But for American audiences, and casual sports fans in New Orleans, I can think of a more poignant comparison: FIFA is the NFL on a global scale.

Remember when Roger Goodell suspended Sean Payton for an entire season? Or when the NFL tried to copyright the term "Who Dat"? Or how the NFL basically annexed large chunks of the Central Business District during the Super Bowl? And have you read about all the ridiculous demands that the NFL makes for Super Bowl host cities? Oh and you know that the NFL is a non-profit organization, right? You could also think about all the teams that have strong-armed taxpayers into building (or in New Orleans' case, renovating) stadiums with public funds. Or all the players who have died or had the bodies broken beyond repair while the league turned a blind eye.

Is any of that going to stop you from watching the Saints this season? Yea, that's how most of the world feels about the World Cup.

The only difference between FIFA and the NFL is their sports' relative popularity. While football is king in the U.S., it is a complete afterthought in the rest of the world (if you don't believe me, go to South America, Africa or Europe and ask people who won the Super Bowl this year. At most, they'll be half-right). And if you think if the tables were turned it was football that was the most popular sport in the world and the NFL wouldn't run like FIFA does, well then aren't you just precious?

So once again, you have to ask yourself why even bother watching? Well, for one thing, sports do still have the ability to transcend whatever issues are plaguing them in the real world. Once the games begin in Brazil, it will be hard to tear yourself away from the drama on the pitch and there is a certain mystique that will always surround an event that captures the attention of most of the world.

There's also the fact that we live in a new age where the kinds of injustices and downright atrocities that are perpetuated by FIFA on a yearly basis can no longer occur in the shadows. As an idealistic fan, one can only hope that the more people watch the games and realize the beauty of international soccer, the more people will recognize FIFA for the awful, unnecessary relic it truly is.

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