By John Ensor •
Published: 10 Feb 2024 • 11:41
Roberto Garza in Barcelona.
Could American football be the next big thing in Spain? The Chicago Bears’ recent visit suggests it might well be.
On their promotional tour in February, the Bears aimed to spark interest in American football among hundreds of young students in Madrid, marking a significant push ahead of the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Games where flag football will debut as an Olympic sport.
The ‘MiniMonsters’ event took place at the Osos Rivas field, engaging Rivas-Vaciamadrid students with the basics of American football, including tackles, passes, and touchdowns.
Gustavo Silva, from the Bears’ coaching team, emphasised the importance of early engagement in sports. ‘Children must be given the opportunity to play sport, and that is what we are doing,’ he stated, highlighting the initiative to cultivate interest and skill in flag football from a young age.
Roberto Garza, the event’s star and a former NFL player, focused on the significance of an active lifestyle. He promoted the ‘Play 60’ initiative, encouraging children to engage in sixty minutes of physical activity daily.
Garza shared, ‘Here at ‘MiniMonsters’ there are six stations, and in each one they are learning a technique.’ He added, laughingly, that tackling was the most enjoyable part for many attendees.
The NFL’s expansion in Spain is noteworthy, with Silva mentioning the increased interest and growing sport’s presence. Furthermore, Garza pointed out Taylor Swift‘s influence in attracting a new, younger audience to NFL games, thanks to her relationship with Travis Kelce.
‘She is attracting a new audience to the NFL: young girls,’ Garza noted, acknowledging Swift’s global impact on the sport’s appeal.
With the Super Bowl being played in the early hours of the morning between Sunday, February 11 and Monday, February 12, at 00:30 (Spanish time), Garza expressed excitement for the clash between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers.
He praised Patrick Mahomes as ‘the best player in the NFL right now,’ predicting a thrilling match. ‘I think it’s going to be a very close game, but I think that the 49ers can be champions,’ he concluded.
The Chicago Bears’ visit to Spain not only underscores the growing global appeal of American football but also sets the stage for an exciting Olympic debut of flag football.
Through initiatives like ‘MiniMonsters,’ the sport looks set to win over hearts and minds, promising a bright future for American football in Spain and beyond.
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Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina.
He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.
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