Let me describe two experiences to you. The first happened around 1988 or 1989. I was a kid watching the Emerald Isle Classic on TV in America. A crowd has assembled that resembled a crowd that you'd see on All-Ireland Sunday. I knew something was wrong though when the biggest cheers went to the kicker, when he attempted point afters and took care of the kickoffs. Regular NFL fans, even kids, would know these as the most boring parts of a game of American football.
Fast forward 14 or 15 years. At the Aviva on Saturday, the amount of utterly random NFL garb, of fathers and daughters in American football jerseys, of passion and knowledge for the game itself was striking and refreshing. It's still a minority sport here, but there's a growing fanbase for American football. You see it on Twitter. It's there. It's real.
Which is why it's alarming to realise that the NFL season is only a few days from kickoff and Sky and the NFL have yet to do a deal. Now I'm assured that something will be done, but I also worry. Much of the popularity of the game is down to Sky's Sunday night offerings, and if those games were to disappear from the airwaves, it would be a major step backwards for the game. Sort it out Murdoch and Goddell.