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MLB vs. NFL history.

MaywoodMaywood Posts: 1,839 ✭✭✭✭✭

Why is there such a disparity in the history keeping or history telling of these two sports?? MLB seems to hold past accomplishments in very high regard historically with most of the fanbase having some general knowledge of past players and past championships. The NFL, on the other hand, seems to have made a concerted effort to keep the talk about what is happening in the recent past with an artificial cut-off of the 1960's when the AFL began and the Super Bowl started. By consequence, most of the fanbase knows nothing of NFL history prior to that time.

A good example of this might be the Pittsburgh Steelers. Most fans probably know nothing of this team's history prior to the 1970's when they were a powerhouse. The truth is that before that they had been a 40 year perennial losing franchise, established in 1933 and having eight winning seasons before the arrival of Chuck Noll. What a turnaround from then till now!!

Is there a reason why the NFL tends to ignore their early history??

Maywood.

Comments

  • thisistheshowthisistheshow Posts: 9,386 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Interesting topic. One potential minor reason is the difference in the difference in attention paid to individual performances and records. With MLB, much historical significance is taken from individual record breaking performances, and for a long time many of these came from an older era. Also, baseball was so popular during that time. The history of it was relevant to the people writing the books and making television shows, etc.

  • craig44craig44 Posts: 10,268 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I think the game has changed so much over the years. especially in the early years pre 1920 or so. The basic rules of baseball have not changed for a very long time. they moved the mound back to 60'6" in 1893. they waffled back and forth for a few years about how many balls for a walk, but the general basics have stayed the same since i would say the late 1860s. Football took much longer to evolve. the ball was very different and it looked much like Rugby back when the ivy league schools were forming the game in the 19th century. There were free kicks and lots of strange rules we wouldnt recognize today. FG's were worth more than touchdowns, the fields were marked of in Grids with no hash marks. they looked like "grid irons" we would think we were watching a mish-mash of soccer, rugby and american football if we were able to take a time machine back to the 19th century. It would be unrecognizable. we would certainly recognize a baseball game if we were to jump back to 1875.

    It also took much longer for the pro game to develop. professional baseball has been around since 1869. the NFL didnt start until 1920. and even then, the game looked much different than now.

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  • perkdogperkdog Posts: 29,219 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November 1, 2022 6:27AM

    Baseball was more popular, probably until the mid to late 70's

    Monday Night Football probably brought a lot of new fans

    For that reason alone it got far less coverage

  • 2dueces2dueces Posts: 6,230 ✭✭✭✭✭

    At one time in America baseball and boxing were king. Baseball card collecting will always top football because of the history you mentioned. Some say it’s because football players wear helmets and you can’t see them. Others will say baseball will always be one on one, batter vs pitcher.
    Today instant gratification is why football is king. Football is fast paced and sometimes high scoring. Baseball is slower and the action is limited.
    On a side note did you know there is an average of 18 minutes of actual play in a 3 hour football game? That’s a lot of commercial time. The quarterback accounts for 11 minutes total.

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  • craig44craig44 Posts: 10,268 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @2dueces said:
    At one time in America baseball and boxing were king. Baseball card collecting will always top football because of the history you mentioned. Some say it’s because football players wear helmets and you can’t see them. Others will say baseball will always be one on one, batter vs pitcher.
    Today instant gratification is why football is king. Football is fast paced and sometimes high scoring. Baseball is slower and the action is limited.
    On a side note did you know there is an average of 18 minutes of actual play in a 3 hour football game? That’s a lot of commercial time. The quarterback accounts for 11 minutes total.

    that is an amazing number. only 18 minutes of actual game play. definitely illustrates why the QB position is so vital to each team.

    George Brett, Bobby Orr and Terry Bradshaw.

  • MaywoodMaywood Posts: 1,839 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Actually, 18 minutes makes sense. There are approximately 60 plays/team in every game and each one takes between 5-10 seconds. At 10 seconds/play it works out to 20 minutes.

  • coinkatcoinkat Posts: 22,681 ✭✭✭✭✭

    This is an excellent question without a compelling answer. My initial gut reaction is three fold: Most think of the NFL with a history that dates back to the first Super Bowl and what happened prior to that time is just something most are just unable or unwilling to relate to. And that leads to the second component of my gut reaction in that most have little if any connection to the past and that time frame. I see that as a fair and valid observation- Otto Graham was a great QB and rightfully deserves to be mentioned as one of the greats... but he seems to be snubbed more often than remembered for being that special player at a time when the NFL was different.

    So is MBL history different? Not really and perhaps the lack of historical recollection is close- if not equally unfortunate. There is interest in the HOF but beyond that... the interest seems to slide as if it is falling off a cliff. Look at great players that missed the HOF and the little respect that exists for them today... so many to mention and I am not going down that path in fear of who I will omit in the brief moment of responding to your question.

    This is really part of a much larger problem whereby there is just simply no appreciation for history in general.

    And lastly... there is an attention and retention span issue... which can be characterized and summarized more accurately as in there is simply a lack of attention and retention span. Andy Warhol may hay be right about being famous for 15 minutes... but as time progresses few remember and even fewer seem to care. It is all about the present and the concept of "what have you done for me lately". And that short sided outlook is what is truly wrong and not limited to NFL or MLB History.

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  • BLUEJAYWAYBLUEJAYWAY Posts: 7,826 ✭✭✭✭✭

    TV,radio,movies exposed baseball more than FB. Saw both BB on TV and had that little transistor radio in my ear quite often. Also I think most parents promoted BB to their children more than FB. I know mine did. So for these reasons I believe FB and it's history took a backseat to BB.

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  • VikingDudeVikingDude Posts: 1,296 ✭✭✭

    Great topic. I would agree that a huge part of has to do with baseball being interwoven heavily into the culture. And I'm not sure what affect the NFL/AFL merger had on the perception of history prior to that (i.e., how records from AFL were thought of at the time).

  • thisistheshowthisistheshow Posts: 9,386 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @VikingDude said:
    Great topic. I would agree that a huge part of has to do with baseball being interwoven heavily into the culture. And I'm not sure what affect the NFL/AFL merger had on the perception of history prior to that (i.e., how records from AFL were thought of at the time).

    ...
    Yes, perception is key I believe. With baseball, there was a continuous ebb and flow was also within culture.

  • 1951WheatiesPremium1951WheatiesPremium Posts: 6,206 ✭✭✭✭✭

    The Super Bowl, like World Series before it, took the two best leagues and combined them to create a single champion in a sport that was growing in popularity and prominence.

    I’d say most people today don’t know much pre-World Series baseball, either, unless they happen to collect the players of the era.

    When was the last time you heard Old Hoss Radbourn or King Kelly in the discussion of greatest baseball players?

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  • BillJonesBillJones Posts: 33,383 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited January 22, 2023 2:44PM

    For people of my father’s generation of sports fans, baseball was THE sport. Professional football was the red-headed step child. College football was very popular, but not the pros.

    Baseball also lends itself well to endless study and debates about statistics. Since the stats for football are mostly limited to the offensive players who get to handle the ball, there are not that many stats to debate. There are other stats for defensive players, but it’s just not the same. Offense lineman don’t have much in the way of stats.

    Another factor is that everyone seems to denigrate the achievements of past NFL stars who go back to ‘70s and before. When I was kid, Johnny Unitas was thought to be the greatest all time player. Now people just blow him off. Jim Brown is the only “old time” (In baseball years, he’s not that old - ‘50s and ‘60s) who gets any respect.

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  • MaywoodMaywood Posts: 1,839 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @BillJones, you bring up some good points. MLB seems to make a conscious effort to embrace it's history while the NFL tends to look past their history with a focus on the present. Also, until recently there weren't many major changes in MLB while the NFL has rules changes from season to season which radically affect the way the game is played. I think the recent MLB changes are tied directly to slipping interest and attendance.

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