As you may or may not know, the US Men’s National Team (or USMNT, for those that prefer acronyms) is gearing up to compete in this year’s World Cup, to be held in Brazil. You may have seen the lavishly produced and emotional ads on ESPN. There’s a reason for that. People worldwide love soccer. It’s a big deal, and that’s why some sites have put together handy guides like this one, meant to make the World Cup more interesting for us common folk that cannot understand the intricacies of the game without comparing it to a known quantity. In that spirit, here’s KSK’s guide to the World Cup, presented as a list of NFL teams and the World Cup team they most resemble.
Arizona Cardinals: Haha, it’s an easy mistake to make, since soccer is called “football” overseas, but American football has almost nothing in common with soccer, so you can’t really compare a team that plays one against a team that plays the other.
Atlanta Falcons: Again, they’re completely different games. Comparing a team that plays football to a team that plays soccer would not only be an exercise in futility, it wouldn’t tell you anything meaningful about either team.
Baltimore Ravens: Okay, getting a little old now. They’re different sports. Stop it.
Buffalo Bills: I’m not listening anymore.
Carolina Panthers: LA LA LA LA LA I CAN’T HEAR YOU
Chicago Bears: …
Cincinnati Bengals: …
Cleveland Browns: Okay, you know what? I’ll wait. Watch this. Or read this. It’d take less time than reading all these fucking World Cup articles designed to get you to learn about the sport without actually watching it.
Dallas Cowboys: Why are you still here? Either you’re not interested in soccer, or you are, and you’re watching that playlist of USMNT highlights. Who…who are you?
Denver Broncos: Have you ever watched a soccer game? Do…do you know what soccer even is? I’ll assume you’re still here because you have some sort of child-like wonder about this new and exciting game.
Detroit Lions: Soccer is played by 2 teams of 11, with one goaltender to a side. The games are typically low-scoring affairs, where the excitement comes, much like hockey, on precise passing and movement, as well as challenging counters and acrobatic saves.
Green Bay Packers: The teams each field some combination of strikers, midfielders, and defenders, depending on which formation the team’s coaches and managers feel matches the style of play of the players best.
Houston Texans: Games are played without pauses for 2 45-minute halves, with extra time added at the end for any stoppages of play.
Indianapolis Colts: Congratulations. You now understand soccer better than if you had just read a list of NFL team names with random countries listed next to them.
Jacksonville Jaguars: What the fuck else do you want me to say?
Kansas City Chiefs: THEY.
Miami Dolphins: ARE.
Minnesota Vikings: TWO.
New England Patriots: DIFFERENT.
New Orleans Saints: SPORTS.
New York Giants: You can’t compare them any more effectively than you could compare, like, Oscar De La Hoya to, fuck, I don’t know, Danny Amendola. Where do you even start?
New York Jets: I guess you could talk about how both organizations are corrupt and don’t have the best interests of the players or fans at heart?
Oakland Raiders: But that pretty much goes for every major sport, so we’re still back at square one.
Philadelphia Eagles: I guess at the heart of this is a need to simplify? To see things in the broadest strokes, and therefore, to be able to believe that you understand these things even without seeing the intricacies that make them beautiful? It’s understandable, I guess. Lazy, but understandable.
Pittsburgh Steelers: But at the end of the day, you only cheapen both football and soccer when you make comparisons like this.
San Diego Chargers: Athletes and teams are impressive when they live in the worlds of their sport. If you start comparing them to other athletes in different sports, or even in different eras in the same sport, things get… dicey.
San Francisco 49ers: That’s why the debate over whether Lebron is better than Jordan is so annoying. Basketball was different when Jordan was playing. It’s a slightly different game now. The two don’t even play the same position. Do you see how silly this is?
Seattle Seahawks: The thing is that you can’t even compare the way offense and defense are played, since soccer is so much more fluid than football. You’d think that I could compare the Seahawks easily to a team that relies on counters and takeaway chances, but since every player on the field has to play some combination of offense and defense, it’s a false equivalency.
St. Louis Rams: If you really want to compare football and soccer teams, you fucking do it yourself. Watch a fucking soccer game and draw your own bullshit conclusions on which team vaguely reminds you of the St. Louis Rams’ style of play.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Just… come on. Just watch the World Cup. You can turn it off if you want, if it’s not your thing. But it’d be a disservice to you as a sports fan to not learn to watch the game of soccer based on its own rules, not for any perceived similarity it has to any other sport.
Tennessee Titans: Or, you know, just watch it to support the USA. Or fuck it. If I haven’t convinced you by now and you still want a trite conflagration of two unrelated things, scroll up and re-read that Yahoo! Sports post. Whatever, man.
Washington Redskins: Oh! Wait! I can do this one! Nailed it.