Super Bowl 51 arrives this Sunday, with the New England Patriots taking on the Atlanta Falcons in what is set to be one of the most exciting Super Bowls of all time. Impact sat down with American Football publicity secretary Edward Hoyle to chat about the game, participation in and spectating of the sport in the UK, and how UoNAF (University of Nottingham American Football) are getting on this season.
Impact : Despite growing over the last 5 years American Football still isn’t the most popular sport in the UK, can you explain to our readers how it works?
E.H : “Without going into the complications of it, American football is basically comprised of two teams made of off three elements – offence, defence and special teams. Offence put points on the board, defence is job is to stop them, special teams deal with all the kicking that goes on through the game. It is split into 4, 15 minute quarters and the team with the most points wins.”
Impact : How did you get into the game, and do a lot of people that play it have a rugby background?
E.H : “I watched the Super Bowl in 2008 and that inspired me to play. I trekked two hours by bus to play 5 aside for London Blitz and then joined the university team in my first year. Yeah, I would say most players do have a rugby background but there are also some people from sports you would expect such as gymnasts and rowers.”
Impact : Looking at the University team, how has the season gone so far? What are your goals for the rest of the year?
E.H: “We are doing brilliantly, currently undefeated, 5-0 and ranked number one by double coverage. The hope is that we will get promoted this season. Winning Varsity last year was a highlight of my sporting career, but we won’t get too cocky. Last year Trent rested a few of their senior players, so we’re out to prove that we can repeat it against their best players and prove last year wasn’t a fluke. With that around the corner we will hope to continue our good form from 2016 this year.”
Impact : Is there a lot of commitment needed for American football?
E.H : “Unlike other sports American Football takes up a lot of time. We have all of our practice sessions videoed, so we need to put time in on our own to watch these back and also do opposition scouting. We come together every Tuesday and Thursday to put what we’ve learnt together. This is aside from regular gym sessions and training sessions on the 3G.”
Impact : When is your next home game and how can we go and support you?
E.H : “We have two away games at Liverpool and Worcester next. In three weeks, we have arguably our biggest game of the season against the Warwick Wolves, if you want to come down give our Facebook page a like for updates and come down to the David Ross Sports Village where we will be playing on the 3G.”
Impact : How is your Touch Women’s team getting on?
E.H : “We have women’s flag teams who are doing exceptionally well, both teams competed in tournaments last year and did well. We have also had girls play for the contact side, where they have done extremely well.”
Impact : It is clear the team cohesion is important for success in the sport, so tell me about socials.
E.H : “We cater to everyone. We take part in BUCS Wednesday at Rock City and we also go down to Yates bar to watch the football.”
Impact : So Super Bowl 51 between the Falcons and Patriots is on Sunday – what are you guys doing for it?
E.H : “We will be hosting our biggest super bowl party at the Marcus Garvey Ballroom in association with Student Clubber. There will be a big screen PA system and should be a good night. Tickets are available online for £6.”
— UoNAF (@UoNAF) February 3, 2017
Image courtesy of University of Nottingham Sport via Facebook.com