It seems like just yesterday that Atlanta United defeated Portland to win the 2018 MLS Cup. In fact, it wasn’t that long ago; December 8th to be precise. That’s why it’s amazing to see that all 24 teams have already begun their preseason training. Unlike other major US sports, these players don’t get much down time.
Over the years I’ve had arguments with friends over which professional sport produces the best athletes. I still say it’s soccer. Here are the reasons why:
Each match has two 45 minute halves where the players are constantly running. Outside of injuries, the play continues. There are no commercial time outs, like in the NFL, NBA and NHL. As for baseball, I do love the sport, but the amount of down time in a baseball game can be excruciating to the casual fan.
I have nothing but respect for any athlete that is able to make it at the professional level, but let’s look at the physical requirements for athletes of each sport. According to Gizmodo soccer players run between 6-7 miles for each 90 minute match. That is far more distance covered by athletes in other sports.
Wide receivers and cornerbacks run an average of 1.25 miles per game Also, keep in mind that the average amount of ACTUAL action in an NFL game is just 11 minutes. Let that sink in.
NBA basketball players average just under 3 miles per game.
In baseball, there are short burst of running here and there, but mostly it’s a lot of guys jogging back to the dugout and standing around between pitches.
Hockey players are probably the closest in terms of physical conditioning to soccer players. The average player covers 5 miles per game which amounts to 410 miles throughout the course of the NHL season.
The bottom line is there are different skills required for each sport. NFL players are generally strong, NBA players can jump high and baseball players must have good hand-eye coordination. But let’s be honest, can you possibly compare Cristiano Ronaldo’s athletic prowess to that of Bartolo Colon?
Soccer players get very little time off. The season lasts 9 months, with at least one month of preseason. The baseball season is long and with spring training can go on for about 8 months. The NBA and NHL seasons last 7 months. As for NFL, the average team puts in less than 6 months a year. Plus, while NFL games are insanely physical, the season is only 16 games in total. That is nothing to compared to the number of games played in the other professional sports.
So, which athletes do you think are the fittest?