How Navy can win over Ireland

In the modern sporting world your brand is everything. Global sporting powerhouses like Manchester United and the L.A. Lakers have made hundreds of millions of dollars by playing their games in new markets. In places like Shanghai, China and New Delhi, India you are far more likely to see a local in a Bryant or Rooney jersey than that of a local team.

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Now, thanks to the yearly series with Notre Dame, Navy has a unique chance to expand its global footprint in a sport that has yet to make waves outside America.

On September 1st Dublin, Ireland will host the first regular season college football matchup away from US soil in 16 years. Though many will obviously see this as a return of sorts for the Leprechaun and his band of exiles, the Naval Academy will have a few tricks up its sleeves to win both the game and the PR war.

Though football is back to something close to its late 1980s peak in Europe there are still millions of fans looking for a team to follow. The major sticking point for football's growth is that the forward pass stop and start dynamics of the game are so far away from traditional European sports such as rugby and soccer. This is where Navy holds a secret ace: The option attack.

For a rugby playing country, no football offense is as easy to get behind as the old school option. Both rugby and the option rely as much on feinting and slight of hand as raw power to gain yards (or meters) when attacking. Not to mention that the lateral and a rugby pass are basically the same concept. While the option may be seen as tired and outdated on these shores, that familiarity will lead to big cheers from fans in Dublin.

If Navy is able to break some big runs from its slotbacks and if the defense is able to throw in one or two of the big hits the sport is famous for, then they have every chance of overcoming the odds and turning the Irish crowd against the Irish. Then, just maybe, we will start to see Navy jerseys on the streets of Dublin.

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