September 9th, 2012 by Colin M Jarman
What happens when you take the top NFL teams and compare them to Europe’s leading soccer clubs? You get, Do You Know Your Football? … how well do you know both forms of football?
See how our team comparisons below match up during the NFL and Soccer seasons.
So, what makes a football team a football team – whether they play in the NFL, the Barclays Premier League, Serie A, La Liga, Ligue 1, Bundesliga, etc.? Sometimes it’s the history, sometimes it’s the fans, sometimes it’s the stadium, and sometimes it’s just plan weird & wonderful. If you agree or disagree with our choices, go to our FACEBOOK PAGE to comment and discuss along with other football fans.
We will also be rolling out a special NFL / Soccer Player Comparisons, as the seasons progress.
So check back in to cast your vote each week as we build our “NFL Starting Soccer XI”.
DALLAS COWBOYS = MANCHESTER UNITED
Big Team, Big Brand, Big Names
Reason for Support: Both teams have historically built their long-term success on the field with a global fan-base and corporate branding off the field. United is the leading soccer brand in the world, while the Cowboys promote themselves as “America’s Team.”
Big Name Signings: Both teams have consistently boasted the biggest names from Eric Cantona & Wayne Rooney for United, and Hall of Famers Troy Aikman & Emmitt Smith for Dallas.
Why are they different: Manchester United has enjoyed considerable success across many tournaments in recent years, while the Cowboys have famously failed to win a Super Bowl since 1995.
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS = CHELSEA
Destinations for Top Prospects
Top Prospects: Chelsea beat a number of European clubs to bring creative midfielder Eden Hazard to West London from Lille, while the Colts made college quarterback Andrew Luck from Stanford the number one draft pick in the country. Both teams have recently seen high-profile veterans depart, including Didier Drogba and Peyton Manning.
New Coaches: New hope was brought to both clubs with newly appointed coaches this year with Roberto di Matteo and Chuck Pagano.
Why are they different: Chelsea were crowned the best team in Europe last season by winning the Champions League, while the Colts had the worst record in the NFL after losing their star quarterback to pre-season injury.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS = JUVENTUS
Team Leaders: Juventus, often referred to as the “Old Lady,” is led out every week by world-class goalie Gi Gi Buffon, while New England is led by “All-American” QB Tom Brady.
Big Name Busts: Both teams have reputations for bringing in big name players, who have failed to make an impact and have left the following season. Diego moved to Juventus from Bremen, while Chad Ochocinco was released by the Pats after one forgettable season.
Why are they different: Juventus’s iconic leader Buffon is nearing the end of his illustrious career, while Patriots leader Tom Brady is in the prime of his career and still putting up record-breaking numbers.
DETROIT LIONS = BORUSSIA DORTMUND
Young and Gifted Players
Borussia Talent: “Die Borussen” as the team is known in Germany has a roster stacked with young and exciting talent such as Mario Gotze who is recognized as future world star.
Lions Talent: The Lions also boast a roster full of tremendous talent such as receiver Calvin ‘Megatron’ Johnson and QB Matthew Stafford. Hailing from famous industrial centres, Dortmund and Detroit are considered young, fierce and ready for any challenge
Why are they different: Dortmund is one of the most successful Bundesliga clubs ever – winning the League title last season, while the Lions recently ended a long run of losing seasons including going 0-16 in 2008.
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES = MANCHESTER CITY
High Rollers with High Expectations
Team Spending: City has spent a record amount in transfer fees and salaries to secure the biggest names in world soccer including Sergio Aguero and Yaya Toure, while the Eagles gave mega-contracts to a number of players including Michael Vick and Nnamdi Asomugha.
Players & Coaches: Both teams excel in extravagant play from eccentrically gifted players (Mario Balotelli & DeSean Jackson) and both are led by enigmatic coaches (Roberto Mancini & Andy Reid).
Why are they different: City managed to buy success with a Premier League title this past season, whereas the Eagles’ big spending has yet to bring them success as the overpaid and underachieving team missed out on the playoffs last season.
OAKLAND RAIDERS = GALATASARAY
Extremely passionate fans
Fanatical Followers: The Turkish Giants – referred to as the “Cim Bom Bom” – is known within footballing circles for its fanatical fan base. Galatasaray’s supporters are known for their undying passion for their club and for the deafening noise that erupts from the stadium. The Raiders are known for their fans taking passion to the next level. Week after week fans dress up in full Silver & Black costumes to support the Raiders and to show their love for their team.
Local Rivarly: Galatasaray has an intense local rivalry against Fenerbahçe in Istanbul, while the Raiders despite relocating to LA and back have a long-standing rivalry with the San Francisco 49ers across the bay as the Raiders was forced to play its first two season in the 49ers Candlestick Park.
Why are they different: Both teams are renowned for the distinctive colours. Galatasaray boast vibrant Yellow & Reds while at the other end of the colour spectrum, the Raiders are famous for their iconic Silver & Black uniforms.
GREEN BAY PACKERS = BARCELONA
The Teams to Beat
Past Victories: Over the past few years, Barca and the Packers have been the teams to beat. Barca won the Champions League in 2006, 09 & 11, while Green Bay lifted the Super Bowl trophy in 2010. However last season both teams were favourites to win it all again but both failed to bring home to goods.
Strong Roster: Each team boasts the most potent attacking player in their respective sport: Lionel Messi and Aaron Rodgers. Led by such firepower, both teams attack in the most expansive sweeping style imaginable.
Why are they different: Both play in legendary stadiums:, but with vastly differing climates – the Nou Camp is always a cauldron of Catalanic heat, while Lambeau Field (in the dead of winter) is as inhospitable as the South Pole.
PITTSBURGH STEELERS = REAL MADRID
The most successful football teams on their continent
Team Records: Real have won more European club championships (9) than any other team, while the Steelers have won a record 6 Super Bowls. These teams have been powerhouses for many years, and have built up a winning formula for success season after season.
Legendary Players: Both teams boast iconic players of the past and include: Ferenc Puskas & Zinedine Zidane and Terry Bradshaw & Lynn Swann.
Why are they different: Madrid is known for its flamboyant, flashy style and fan base, while Pittsburgh is renowned for its gritty grind-it-out team ethic with a strong blue-collar fan base.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS = PORTO
Won major Championships in 2003
Past Wins: Both teams enjoy a sunny location on the coast but more notably Porto and Tampa won a major title – Champions League & Super Bowl – in 2003. Neither team has come close to repeating this success.
Past Leaders: Porto was led to Champions League success by the ‘Special One’ Jose Mourinho, while Tampa Bay won the Super Bowl under the guidance of coach Jon ‘Chucky’ Gruden.
Why are they different: Porto is renowned as one of the biggest clubs in Portuguese football, while as Tampa Bay is considered a small market team in the NFL.
NEW YORK GIANTS = AC MILAN
NEW YORK JETS = INTER MILAN
Long-standing City Rivalries
Rivals versus Rivals: A.C. and the Giants are the older, more successful and more established traditional team in their city, while Inter and the Jets are younger outfits who never fail to attract big names and outsized personalities, who like to speak out in the media and on the field.
Big City Attraction: All four teams trade on their big city location by attracting top players: Big names include Eli Manning and Wesley Sneijder
Why are they different: While both Milan clubs compete for the Serie A championship, the Giants and Jets are in different conferences and – despite their close proximity – only play each other every few years.
WASHINGTON REDSKINS = ARSENAL
Strong History and building for the future
Future Stars: Arsenal pin their hopes on developing young and raw talent into World class players. Graduates of the Arsène Wenger philosophy include Thierry Henry, Patrick Viera and Cesc Fabregas. While the Redskins drafted Heisman Trophy winner RG3 (Robert Griffin III) from college, to spearhead their offense. Interestingly, both teams play in their nation’s capital and wear red shirts.
Rebuilding Plans: Both teams are looking to rekindle past glories when they ruled their respective leagues, and look to rebuild their once dominating defences.
Why are they different: While the Redskins have recently recruited their new hope for the future in RG3, Arsenal are planning their future without last season’s top scorer Robin Van Persie.
DENVER BRONCOS = PARIS ST. GERMAIN
Up and coming teams
New Beginnings: Both teams have had a recent revival with the recruitment of new players. The Broncos added four-time MVP Peyton Manning to their roster in place of NFL sensation Tim Tebow. At the same time PSG incurred a major cash injection allowing the Parisian club to bolster their ranks with the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and highly acclaimed coach Carlo Ancelotti.
Why are they different: Denver play in “Mile High Stadium” team (in the Colorado Rockies), while PSG plays its home games at the Parc de Princes in Paris – a mere 195 meters above sea level.
CLEVELAND BROWNS = AJAX AMSTERDAM
Great Past! Great Future?
Storied History: Both teams glory days are back in the past: Ajax – with the likes of Cruyff, Neeskens and Krol – were dominant in the early 1970s with three straight European Cup wins, while the Browns’ heydays came in the late 80s with Bernie Kosar and Ernest Byner winning three straight AFC Central crowns.
Youth Development: Ajax is world-famous for its youth policy and has developed world-class players such as Dennis Bergkamp, Zlatan Ibrahimovic & future star Christian Eriksen. The Browns have adopted their own youth movement with the likes of Colt McCoy, Trent Richardson, Jo Haden & Brad Smelley.
Why are they different: Despite numerous similarities Ajax have won the major European championship four times, while the Browns has failed to even reach a Super Bowl.
CHICAGO BEARS = BAYERN MUNICH
Throughout the Years: Both teams have a long-standing tradition and have been consistently successful over the years. The Bears habitually make the playoffs, while Bayern never fail to make an impact in the Champions League. Both are always very strong and organised in defence but have always boasted great playmakers from Bastian Schweinsteiger to Matt Forte – Pro Bowl running back for the Bears.
Current Veterans: The teams also have outstanding veterans in team captains Phillip Lahm and Brian Urlacher.
Why are they different: While Munich are sometimes referred to as “FC Hollywood” for their off the field antics, the Bears are known as the “Monsters of Midway” for their no-nonsense approach to physical football.
MIAMI DOLPHINS = OLYMPIQUE MARSEILLE
Laidback, south coast vibe
Sun and Skill: South of France meets South Beach Florida. These teams make the most of their sunny locations to produce exciting teams with attacking players including brothers Andre & Jordan Ayew and Reggie Bush for the Dolphins.
Historic players: High profile legends dominate both clubs’ past glories: Jean-Pierre Papin & Eric Cantona for Olympique to Larry Csonka & Dan Marino for the Fins.
Why are they different: Since being built in 1937 Marseille’s stadium – the Stade Vélodrome – has always kept its original name, however the Dolphins’ Sun Life Stadium has been renamed six times since it was built in 1966.
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS = NAPOLI
Storied history and currently rebuilding a dynasty.
Former Domination: Napoli and the 49ers are steeped in history and are known for being dominant forces during the 80’s. Napoli won two Serie A titles, the Copa Italia Cup and the UEFA Cup, while 49ers won four Super Bowls in that decade.
Then and Now: In the 80s, Napoli was led by Argentinean superstar Diego Maradona and the Niners were led by Hall of Fame QB Joe Montana. Both legends are still talked about, however a new breed of stars are emerging through the ranks such as Marek Hamsik and Edison Cavani for the Naples based team and Patrick Willis and Aldon Smith leading the charge for the 49ers.
Why are they different: The 49ers are looking to return to the Golden Years by building a team of the future, while Napoli are struggling to hold onto major stars such as recently transferred Ezequiel Lavezzi.
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