Which is better: college football or NFL?

Kabal Caldwell  
Staff Writer

One of the most debatable and subjective questions regarding football specifically as well as sports overall is which is better: NCAA football or NFL? In other words, do people enjoy watching two schools with a team full of amateur young adults settle their school’s everlasting rivalry out on the battlefield or watch a collection of the best athletes in the world go against each other on a very competitive playing field? Before you make an opinion on which version of football you like better, like any other debate, you have to know the facts. When referring to college sports, you are talking about college students (aka kids) who just left their home, parents, and are most likely broke (unless they’re an exceptionally high-rated recruit with a lucrative NIL deal). On the other hand, when you consider professional football players, they are the best of the best who excelled in their 3-4 years of college football and have physically and mentally grown themselves into being where they are. Due to this, they are paid a significant amount of money, which the minimum salary for an NFL player is $660,000; meanwhile, these salaries are guaranteed so they get paid regardless of how well or how poorly they performed in a game. With this in mind, amateur college football players whose dream is to make it to the NFL and change their lives and their family’s lives financially have more of an incentive to always play to the best of their abilities, as well as not to disappoint the alumni, students, and school where they live, eat and sleep. 

When watching college football, you always see the pride and support that every college has in their football team regardless of their wins and losses and the weather the football game is being played in. The results of a college football game grant the winning team and its fans bragging rights, as bitter rivals whose campuses are probably less than 50 miles apart or a particular state’s two biggest and best universities and/or have a long history of competing against each other in the same conference. In college football, you are seeing a team of above average-to-good football players come together and be a great football team. With the sport of football being as popular as it is in America, a winning college football team, I believe, changes the culture and tradition of the university, because if the football team is successful why not the basketball team or the mathematics team be successful as well. However, not every college football team can build a winning culture and consistently win games, due to the simple fact that some colleges recruit new players significantly better than others because of their superior resources and their winning tradition (i.e. Alabama), which is why college football games result in more blowouts and predictable outcomes than the NFL. The excitement of watching college football is mostly based on the amateurism of watching young football players make mistakes or do crazy things like any other young adult, which makes college football games fun to watch. For example, in the 2013 Iron Bowl rivalry game between number-one ranked Alabama and number-four ranked Auburn, Alabama was setting up to kick a very long and improbable 57-yard field goal to win the game; though, Alabama and Head Coach Nick Saban knew this attempt to kick a field goal was most likely going to fail as this kick was just simply a last moment prayer in which they could either make it-and-win the game or miss-and-go to overtime. The kick landed short in the hands of Auburn’s kick returner, Chris Davis, who returned the kick for a game-winning touchdown that knocked Alabama out of the top-five in the rankings and propelled Auburn to the National Championship game. Mistakes and crazy sequences on the field don’t happen often in the NFL.

Every football player in the NFL most likely was the best player on every team they ever played on: youth, high school, and college. They have trained themselves to make very little mistakes when playing on the gridiron. Simply put, NFL football games are usually “nail-biters” and competitive because everyone is essentially the best in the world at their position. In the NFL, the talent difference between players is minimal because the only way an NFL team could win a game is by being smarter and mentally better than the other team; this is why winning NFL teams are known to have coaches who are considered football geniuses. With every NFL team having phenomenal players on their roster, upsets are very common in the NFL. Notably, NFL fans around the world always use the term “Any Given Sunday” to choose and depict an outcome between two NFL teams before they play, in which one team has a dreadful losing record but has the ability to beat a winning team anytime. Due to having many competitive games, some football fans believe NFL football games are boring and not as exciting to watch as college football. However, when watching NFL football, you know you’re watching football at it’s highest peak which makes a fan more knowledgeable in the concepts of what a football team needs to do in order to win. Overall, the phenomenal abilities that all NFL players have makes watching NFL games exciting in itself, because sure it may not have as many crazy and random events as college football does, but it will show the greatness and mastery of football. 

I’ve come to believe that college football is better/more enjoyable to watch than the NFL. College football is viewed mostly by fans who have their heart and emotions on their sleeve when they watch college football games because they may know a friend, relative, football player, or themselves included that attends, graduated or have personal association with a particular college. Whereas in the professional business of the NFL, teams are constantly changing their rosters, coaches, and sometimes the location the team is based in, which causes fans to not have a true connection with the team they support and possibly go support another team. I attempted to provide evidence by conducting a survey to the Sewanee football team, in which I asked them the question of which is better: college football or NFL. 70 percent of the Sewanee football players and coaches said they enjoyed watching college football more. In addition to this, when a person is watching sports or anything in general, they are most likely doing it to enjoy themselves and be excited by what they are watching. This is what many football fans experience when they are watching care-free young adults play football. Though this is all completely subjective to one’s taste on which level of football they like to watch most, college football always brings out the best and worst of fans and players of college football teams because it actually means something to them.