If I forget thee, o proper sports bars of North America....
It's been over seven months since the New England Patriots gave the rest of America a perfect season. Once again, Jerusalem gears up to enjoy that glorious time when "football" once again means oh so much more than the kicking game.
Living a continent away from the NFL, now that the formerly uber-popular NFL Europe (or NFL Europa, or the place where Kurt Warner played between bagging groceries and winning a Super Bowl, is defunct), doesn’t mean American expats have to miss out on the joys of the gridiron, Kraft league notwithstanding.
For those who like to recreate the American sports bar experience, there is always Mike's Place, the closest thing to home - outside of Baka, the German Colony, Ben Yehuda Street, Ramat Bet Shemesh, all of Gush Etzion, you get the point. Many downtown bars, especially around Rivlin Street, like HaTaklit, Stardust and Zolli's, have large TVs, primarily for the watching of soccer, or futbol or whatever. After some prodding by a critical mass of fans, some barkeeps can be nudged into actually making use of that satellite subscription and tuning the TV to some pigskin, even if most of them don't know the difference between Tom Brady and Brady Quinn. (Which one plays with Kobe?)
The stay-at-home-inclined also have a number of options. If you've don't have a satellite package or Slingbox, there is always the pseudo-legal Sopcast, which broadcasts not just most football but pretty much any sport you want. Just beware, the audio is often from strange foreign countries that treat English as if it were a second language. And if you don't mind being preached to, or having your beliefs reconfirmed, there is the Cypress-based missionary channel METV, which shows a few games a week - usually with the ads as they run on network TV in the States, an extra bonus.
Being half a world away does have some benefits, chief among them the fact that Israel's seven-hour time difference from America's east coast creates a bizarro game schedule where most "afternoon" games are shown at prime time, though watching the actual prime time matchups means pulling an all-nighter. And for the shabbat-observant set, "college football Saturday" is now watchable "college football Saturday night." Go State! Having an ocean between you and the criminally minded Jacksonville Jaguars or Cincinnati Bengals also can't hurt.
Image of a real American sports bar courtesy of Traveling Fools of America from Flickr under a Creative Commons license.