Culture

A Casual Reason Football (Ours) is Better Than Football (Everyone Else’s)

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BELO HORIZONTE, BRAZIL – June 17, 2014: Marc wilmots, head coach of Belgium is seen during the FIFA 2014 World Cup Group H at Mineirao Stadium

The Belgian soccer team apparently doesn’t worry about excess baggage costs. Sports Illustrated reports that the team packed 674 home shirts and 878 away shirts for its trip to the World Cup in Brazil. Since it’s only guaranteed three games, that’s quite a wardrobe. Maybe they’re afraid the Brazilian dry cleaners might lose their items.

One thing’s for sure: None of those shirts will be worn by team manager (we might call him coach) Marc Wilmots. He’ll be on the sidelines running his team, but he’ll be wearing what might be called street clothes: dress shoes, slacks, oxford shirt and a blazer. And he’s not alone.

At the World Cup, tens of thousands of fans come to games wearing crazy costumes, flag-themed pants and, for the less adventurous, replica team jerseys. But when the camera pans to the team managers they seem always to be dressed as if they’re on their way to work at a bank. Most, as in the recent South Korea-Russia contest, even wear a tie.

It’s just another reason American football is better than the rest of the world’s football.

America football coaches created “casual Sunday” many years ago. Perhaps the last man to coach in a tie was Dan Reeves, and he retired from coaching in 2003 when the Falcons fired him.

Since then, the sidelines have been filled with nothing but men in comfortable clothes.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EF9r4kBbM4E

The Harbaugh brothers took Baltimore and San Francisco to the Super Bowl a couple of years ago, each sporting a baseball cap and mock turtleneck shirt. The most successful coach of his generation (and perhaps all time) is Bill Belichick, who prowls the sidelines wearing a hoodie sweatshirt. He cuts the sleeves off for early season games, and leaves them on for the colder nights in December.

Most NFL coaches dress as if they’ve just stepped out of a team gear photo shoot. Baseball cap, logo shirt, sneakers. They’re certainly more comfortable than they would be in loafers and a sport coat. And they don’t look out of place on the sidelines, either. The players are all in athletic gear, and the fans in the stands are in casual clothing (or face paint). Why should the managers be decked out in kit from Jos. A Bank?

Clothing isn’t the only reason our football is better than theirs. Let’s not even get started on the shootout – another topic for another time. Let’s just, casually, say that clothes make the man, and sideline attire is just one reason our version of football is superior to everyone else’s.

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images via shutterstock / Celso Pupo