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NFL expects China to produce an American football "Yao Ming"

Discussion in 'Football: NFL, College, High School' started by Yaowaming, Feb 4, 2006.

  1. Yaowaming

    Yaowaming Contributing Member

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    http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20060204/sp_afp/amfootnflsuperasia_060204165032

    NFL expects China to produce an American football "Yao Ming" 1 hour, 13 minutes ago



    DETROIT (AFP) - A Chinese player among the American football elite, a notion that might have been fantasy a decade ago, is coming in the near future, according to National Football League visitors to China.


    Chinese center Yao Ming of the Houston Rockets was the top vote-getter in balloting for this month's National Basketball Association All-Star Game and an NFL version of him could excite all of Asia in a similar fashion as Yao.

    That's the hope of NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue and Chad Lewis, the Philadelphia Eagles tight end who has visited China for youth programs and served as a television commentator for Mandarin-language Super Bowl telecasts.

    "It's not too far in the future before we see the 'Yao Ming' of football," Lewis said. "There is no doubt about it. We will see a 'Yao Ming.' It probably won't be a quarterback. It's probably going to be a special teams player.

    "You get some kamikaze guy flying down the field full speed on the kickoff team and slamming into American guys. He will be a rock star in China."

    Lewis learned Mandarin to handle two years of a Mormon mission in Taiwan and has visited China, Thailand and Singapore as well in helping spread the global reach of American football, whose championship showdown here Sunday will match the Pittsburgh Steelers and Seattle Seahawks.

    "People in China ask, 'Why do you think it will work in China?' Well when you get the ball and go out in a park and just start throwing it around, it's a lot of fun. The joy of just doing that is enough," Lewis said.

    "When you start throwing around a ball and realize how much fun it is just to play the game and enjoy it, that just makes you want to play and be good."

    Tagliabue said he probably will never live to see American football become a global game, but is satisfied that it has become solidly international.

    "In China, the challenges are unique but the opportunity is unique," Tagliabue said. "This will be a sport with global participation. People from all backgrounds can play this game.

    "The player development piece to me is the next big step. Then it will start really with its own momentum.

    "We need the grass roots to develop players and coaches. That can't be imposed by the United States. It has to come from the bottom up. You have to look at a three or four decade timeline."

    Zou Marketing, which handles NFL promotion in China, helped establish US flag football programs in Beijing and Shanghai.

    "The NFL has done things the right way," Lewis said. "They haven't made the ethno-centric mistake of saying, 'We're American. We're the best.' It's helping the Chinese kids move up. They are on the way.

    "I've never seen in the history of the world such a movement from the rural farmland to the city. What they are doing in growing their cities is unprecedented. And they are allowing outsiders to come in and share things like (American) football."

    Lewis, 34, watched a Thailand schoolboy squad beat an American squad to win the 2005 flag football crown in China after struggling the year before but dedicating time before and after school every day for a year to improvement.

    "They had this one receiver. He was the next Jerry Rice," Lewis said. "He really played well."

    Lewis summed up the challenge of becoming the NFL's first Asian star with his favorite Chinese proverb.

    "If you are going to play in the NFL, it's going to be tough to get there," he said. "But 'True gold does not fear the refiner's fire.'"
     
  2. pirc1

    pirc1 Contributing Member

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    I am curious how many Chinese even know there is such a thing as Football? :D
     
  3. Xenochimera

    Xenochimera Contributing Member

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    I don't think football is going to be popular enough in China to have that kind of impact the guy was looking for.
     
  4. Uprising

    Uprising Contributing Member

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    With such a HUGE population in China there's bound to be an athlete who can play in the NFL.
     
  5. Miguel

    Miguel Contributing Member

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    "You get some kamikaze guy flying down the field full speed on the kickoff team and slamming into American guys. He will be a rock star in China."

    Nice.
     
  6. Harrisment

    Harrisment Member

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    Yeah, I also thought that was in poor taste..
     
  7. KaiSeR SoZe

    KaiSeR SoZe Contributing Member

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    sad part is that "kamikaze" is a japanese term
     
  8. Ubiquitin

    Ubiquitin Contributing Member
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    Their football is more important than our football.
     
  9. Hmm

    Hmm Member

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    has their football team improved at all for this years World Cup..?
     
  10. Asian Sensation

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    I thought it was kinda funny :D
     
  11. hotballa

    hotballa Contributing Member

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    with the way the Texans have been playing, am I the only one who has a feeling that it might be the Texans who draft the NFL Yao Ming #1? I can't even begin to think about the consequences of that
     
  12. Uprising

    Uprising Contributing Member

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    Nope, they still suck.
     

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