Bears

Why football, not boxing, should be atop the 'most difficult sports' list

Bears

Have you ever stopped to think about what’s the most difficult sport to play?

Is it ice hockey, which combines skating skills, precise hand-eye coordination and teamwork? Or perhaps rugby, which has some of the hard hits of football, only without pads? Or is it a sport that’s a little more fine-tuned like figure skating? When was the last time you tried pulling off a triple axel?

Well, according to Unbiased America Sports, the most difficult sport is…boxing.

A graphic circulated across the Twittersphere over the weekend that listed 60 sports, ranked by difficulty. The list included boxing, ice hockey and football ranked in the top three spots. Fishing came in the No. 60 spot, the least-difficult sport.

Boxing in the top position isn’t a bad answer. But it’s not the correct one. And we give mad props to Unbiased America Sports for putting a list like this together. It’s not easy.

That said…

How could mixed martial arts (MMA) not be ranked at all? Or marathon running? We love basketball here at NBC Sports Chicago but should it be ranked at No. 4? Not sure about that. And to have tennis ranked over baseball? Or water polo over rugby? Or lacrosse ranked over rodeo steer wrestling? Stop it.

The correct No. 1 answer is football. What other sport demands, speed, strength, agility and the mental fortitude to withstand —or give out— vicious hits…all the while keeping some of the physical and emotional limits in check due to a rigid rule and penalty framework? I don’t see too many MMA guys trying to catch a football while keeping both feet inbounds. Boxers may throw punches but can they throw a perfect post-corner route?

 

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Fortunately, we ironed out all the wrinkles on the list. And, we added 20 more sports to the mix, including rock climbing, cricket, competitive dance (yes), hunting and competitive eating. And if Joey Chestnut is reading this, I’m sure he’ll also agree that competitive eating is indeed a sport.

Here is the correct list, with the Unbiased America Sports ranking in parentheses:

1 - Football (3)

2 - Mixed Martial Arts (NR)

3 - Rugby (13)

4 - Boxing (1)

5 - Ice Hockey (2)

6 - Gymnastics (8)

7 - Baseball/Softball (9)

8 - Martial Arts (6)

9 - Rodeo: Steer Wrestling (15)

10 - Wrestling (5)

11 - Skiing: Alpine (11)

12 - Track and Field: Pole Vault (16)

13 - Triathlon (NR)

14 - Rodeo: Calf Roping (40)

15 - Basketball (4)

16 - Figure Skating (19)

17 - Soccer (10)

18 - Tennis (7)

19 - Ski Jumping (29)

20 - Rodeo: Bull/Bareback/Broncs (42)

21 - Marathon Running (NR)

22 - Badminton (30)

23 - Surfing (23)

24 - Water Polo (12)

25 - Speed Skating (18)

26 - Lacrosse (14)

27 - Racquetball/Squash (22)

28 - Fencing (24)

29 - Skiing: Nordic (31)

30 - Cricket (NR)

31 - Track and Field: Long, Triple Jump (34)

32 - Skiing: Freestyle (25)

33 - Sport Climbing/Rock Climbing (NR)

34 - Cycling: Distance (20)

35 - Field Hockey (17)

36 - Polo (NR)

37 - Motorcycle Racing (NR)

38 - Weight Lifting (44)

39 - Volleyball (21)

40 - Golf (52)

41 - Diving (35)

42 - Track and Field: High Jump (33)

43 - Team Handball (26)

44 - Cycling: Sprints (27)

45 - Swimming (all strokes): Distance (36)

46 - Water Skiing (46)

47 - Cheerleading (52)

48 - Swimming (all strokes): Sprints (45)

49 - Track and Field: Middle Distance (43)

50 - Skateboarding (37)

51 - Dogsledding (NR)

52 - Bobsledding/Luge (28)

53 - Rowing (39)

54 - Track and Field: Distance (41)

55 - Snowboarding (NR)

56 - Track and Field: Weights (48)

57 - Horse Racing (50)

58 - Track and Field: Sprints (38)

59 - Skeet Shooting (NR)

60 - Auto Racing—NASCAR, IRL (32)

61 - Harness Racing (Horse) (32)

62 - BMX racing (NR)

63 - Canoe/Kayak (49)

64 - Roller Skating (53)

65 - Competitive Dance (NR)

66 - Competitive Eating (NR)

67 - Table Tennis (47)

68 - Sailing (62)

69 - Archery (55)

70 - Equestrian (54)

71 - Synchronized Swimming (NR)

72 - Bowling (57)

73 - Hunting (NR)

74 - Curling (56)

75 - Shooting - Fixed Target (58)

76 - Billiards (59)

77 - Fishing (60)

78 - Bocce Ball (NR)

79 - Darts (NR)

80 - eSports (NR)

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