In the United States, no sport dominates the landscape more than football. It's become our new pastime. There's a passion for the game that unites cities and fans alike. Our neighbors across the pond in the United Kingdom have a passion of their own when it comes to soccer, or rather futbol. But how do those soccer players stack up against our own football stars? With the Buffalo Bills set to take on the Jacksonville Jaguars this Sunday in London, we decided to see how Bills running back LeSean McCoy stacks up against soccer star Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur F.C. Take a look at some of the key metrics that go into being an elite running back and an elite striker.
Weight: 207 lbs (93.9 kg)
Max Speed: 19.58 MPH (31.5 Km/H)
Avg. Distance/Game: 634 yards (0.58 Km)
Weekly Salary: $470,588 per week ($8 Million a year)
Weight: 143 lbs (65 kg)
Max Speed: 21.00 MPH (33.8 Km/H)
Avg. Distance/Game: 11.2 Km (12,248 yards)
Weekly Salary: $60,000 per week
Age: Soccer is all about young potential. Some of the highest transfer rates (in soccer there aren't trades, instead a team will sell the player or have the player's contract bought by the team that wishes to sign the player) are almost always players younger than 25 years old. While LeSean McCoy is bound to have at least two more great years as a back, his age dictates that the Eagles traded him around his peak value. If McCoy was playing soccer, from an age standpoint, he would dictate a high transfer fee, but big teams are less likely to go after him because of the fact that he is two years away from being an ideal MLS ("retirement" league) candidate.
Weight & Height: I struggled to believe that Harry Kane is 6-foot-2 and only weighs 143 pounds. FC Barcelona star Neymar, who is a petite soccer player, is listed at 150 lbs., and the thought of a 6-foot-2, 143 pound man trying to play any sport seems crazy. Unlike football, there is a premium put on being light, fast and (ideally) being tall when it comes to finding the perfect scoring machine. When it comes to trying to find an ideal running back, the opposite is true. You want someone who isn't too tall (under 6-foot-1) because it makes it too easy for defenders to spot the player and it's harder to maintain good pad levels. You want a back who is agile like a soccer player to make the short bursts through opening and closing holes, but the running back needs to have weight (185 to 215 pounds) so that he can shed tacklers. Every once in awhile there are outliers to this ideal build (see Chris Johnson's 2,000-yard season), but by and large most running backs fall into this weight spectrum.
Max Speed: I'm not sure that people would have guessed that Kane's on-field speed is ahead of McCoy's (worth noting that LeSean is wearing several pounds worth of equipment). Soccer strikers and football running backs rely on high top-end speed to finish a scoring play. This is the area in which McCoy would do best as a striker: his high top-end speed, low center of gravity and overall body mass would make him a great striker.
Distance Covered: This is always a mind-blowing statistic. Kane manages to cover (on average) 12,000 yards of field during a game. There is no need for a football player to cover this much ground in a game, but it should make your head spin considering the fact that soccer players cover this much ground and don't even get a break until halftime. No huddles, no timeouts and no quarters; no chance for a guy like Jared Lorenzen to make it on the soccer pitch.
Salaries: Soccer players' contracts are not announced as a year-long deal, but instead are listed as how much the player makes per week. The NFL pays players in a similar fashion, but teams list players' contracts as the total he will be paid over the duration of the contract. Again, it is worth mentioning that players are not traded in soccer. Their contracts are sold and loaned. If the Bills wanted to acquire McCoy from the Eagles, they would have to pay the buyout clause in the contract to have the opportunity to try to sign him. That buyout clause is often worth more than the actual contract that the player has.
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