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OK, it’s time to quit dicking around. The goal of this series is to determine a victor in the blood feud between college football and the NFL. So let’s finally talk football. Similar though they may seem, the college and pro games are wildly different, comprised of divergent strategies, talent levels and even rules. Both have millions of fans who’d argue each side of this debate. Unfortunately the millions on one of those sides is dead wrong.
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Eric Couch. Matt Lienhart. Danny Wuerffel. All Heisman trophy winners and all utter garbage in the NFL. They’re also not alone. The list of players who were awesome in college and awful in the pros is so easy to assemble that damn near every sports website has done it. But how can a player excel so much at one level and be a complete bust at the next? Simple, it’s because college football is an inferior game. The coaches are dumber. The athletes are weaker. The cheerleaders are frumpier. Taken together, these things make college football a different game. It’s a game in which the National Champion plays a horrifically boring brand of football. It’s a game in which a player like Eric Crouch can win the Heisman as a quarterback, get drafted as a receiver and never play a game in the NFL. It’s a game in which teams like Florida State welcome opponents like Savannah State, and enter the game a 70.5 point favorite. It’s just a worse game.
Verdict: The difference between the college and pro games is the difference between a high school film class and Hollywood–one’s a group of kids running around without a clue, the other is making “Back to the Future.”
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The average football player reaches his peak somewhere around 26 or 27–about five years after college. That means the NFL is full of the game’s bets athletes at their best. It only follows logic that they would produce a better form of football. And they do. The NFL game is faster. The players are stronger. The tactics are smarter. What’s more, the NFL’s rules encourage a more exciting game. A few years ago the NFL changed rules to better protect quarterbacks and receivers. The result has been a surge in offense, which any clear thinking individual will admit is what makes the game exciting. Sure, big hits are great, but 7-3 games full of fumbles and punts are not.
Verdict: The NFL is the restaurant where the best chefs from culinary school work. Why would you eat anywhere else?
The Victor: College football does some things better than the pro game, but when it comes to the product on the field the NFL rules.