China’s ‘Friday Night Lights’: Chinese kids tackle American football

Chinese kids tackle American football. Image: Thomas Peter / Reuters via Yahoo News Photos.

Chinese kids tackle American football. Yahoo News Photos / Reuters.

YAHOO NEWS — A pint-sized running back takes a handoff and scrambles across the goal line, spiking the football for a last-minute win. It could be any school field in America, but on a warm spring night in Beijing the star of the game is nine-year-old Lisa Li, one of the best players in China’s first American football youth league.

“I was so excited. Before I ran for the winning touchdown I thought to myself I just had to score,” Li said as her Eagles celebrated a come-from-behind 24-20 victory over the Sharklets.

Li plays running back and linebacker in the 16-team Future League run by GSG Sport, a Beijing company promoting America’s most popular game to parents seeking a new sport for children.

American football lags far behind soccer and basketball in China, but the huge potential market of 1.4 billion people has caught the attention of the National Football League.

This year’s Super Bowl championship was streamed live for the first time in China, where 1.5 million mostly young fans watch weekly NFL games on digital platforms.

Taking a page from American high school football, Future League games are held on Friday nights, complete with uniformed referees, cheering fans and a camera crew for post-game interviews.

Marshawn Lynch has #1 selling jersey in the NFL for May

Marshawn Lynch in Raiders' white jersey. Silver and Black Pride photo.

Marshawn Lynch in Raiders’ white jersey. Silver and Black Pride photo.

SHAWN WATCH — Silver and Black Pride report that:

“Marshawn Lynch joined the Oakland Raiders on April 27 under much fanfare. He took number 24 as expected and the orders immediately started pouring in from fans wanting a piece of history as Beast Mode will finally suit up for his hometown team. Making his jersey the top selling for the month of May at NFL shop.

“It wasn’t hard to predict the popularity of Lynch’s merchandise upon joining the Raiders. He is an immensely popular former All Pro running back who is beloved in Oakland and beyond.

“Lynch may be the top selling jersey, but he isn’t the only Raiders player jersey among the league’s top 25. Derek Carr was the 6th best selling jersey and Khalil Mack was the 15th best selling.

“The Raiders are the only team with three players in the top 15.”

Yeah.

NFL changes Twitter header image to Derek Carr and Marshawn Lynch

SHAWN WATCH — The NFL continues its love / hate relationship with Marshawn Lynch. Take a look at this. This is the NFL’s Twitter header.

247 Sports explains:

“The Oakland Raiders have been making waves over the past season or two, finally breaking a 13-year playoff drought and getting back over .500 in 2016. To go along with that, the growth of quarterback Derek Carr and addition of running back Marshawn Lynch have been talking points as well.

“Now, it seems that the NFL’s official Twitter page is throwing some love their way as well, as they’ve made a picture of the new dynamic duo their header.”

Shawn to become a Raider man

Marshawn Lynch spotted visiting the Raiders’ practice facility. Source: Daily Snark.

Marshawn Lynch spotted visiting the Raiders’ practice facility. Source: Daily Snark.

OAKLAND, Calif. — Well, after all the gossip, speculation and hype it appears Marshawn Lynch will become an Oakland Raider.

I was so thankful when he left the NFL that Lynch retired in one piece, and that I was around to watch this remarkable athlete play.

Yet, how thrilling it will be to see the great man in action once again, and for the team he grew up dreaming about playing for.

Even though the American part of me is a Texas gal, I always loved the Raiders. They have some of the most devoted and craziest fans in professional football. What a joyful occasion for Oakland to have their great local hero joining the team.

I pray that all goes well for Marshawn Lynch. Yes Lawd!

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Marshawn Lynch spotted visiting the Raiders’ practice facility. Source: Daily Snark.