Now that the NFL has decided to start playing games abroad in an attempt to extend their global fanbase, we at KSK have taken it upon ourselves to begin a multi-part series schooling our international friends in all things NFL. Next up: Italy.

Saluti, gli italiani! I know you think we Americans are a slovenly, uncouth and boorish sort. We just don’t seem to share your appreciation for the concepts of “La Bella Figura,” “La Dolce Vita” and all that other shit with tons of vowels that just means looking good while being lazy.

As I’ve mentioned previously, I spent a semester in college in Siena, a small Tuscan town known for a horse race and people who pronounce C’s as H’s. As such, Coca Cola becomes Hoha Hola. It’s amusing less than once.

American culture has a stranglehold on the population, but not in a eeriely interesting Japanese way. Italian rap is only to be listened to by the masochistic and the damned. This doesn’t stop anti-Americanism from rearing its ugly, faux-hawked or greasy (depending on which variation of Italian pussybasket you’re dealing with) head. I was accosted and almost jumped by five guys in Naples during the first week of the Iraq War. Praise be that I’m a total bitch and can run very fast. This should be no surprise; Naples is an utter shithole. I was clearly duped and I think it’s because the Naples-as-shithole image has not been properly communicated to the prospective traveler. The only reason to go is to book it to the port to take a quick trip to Capri, whose sun is no more refreshing than any other. Naples is really the Baltimore of Europe, which means fewer ugly squat women with beehive haircuts but just as much crime.

Though American culture is rife in Italy, football doesn’t seem like a natural fit for its countrymen, who typically prefer non-contact sports like smoking, bocce ball and living with their mothers until they’re 40. Okay, they enjoy some contact.

There was, however, at least one incredibly grating sign that they’re making an effort. My first month there, I had to watch the tape delay of the Steelers/Titans ’02 divisional round playoff game — y’know, the one where Dewayne Washington supposedly ran into Joe Nedney on the OT FG and forced me to kill again — on the smallest bar TV in some Australian themed pub while a bunch of skeezy Sienese townies picked up the spoiled, slutty girls in my program (that’s what I get for going with UMass-Amherst). Anyway, one fine ragazzo felt the need to inform me every few minutes throughout this nerve-wracking game that, “I like-ah dees game, dees football, but I no understand. Oooh, what was-ah that happensing?”

So, following that one guy’s example, here’s how the NFL will excite your pene. Remember: pene means penis and penne means pasta. Be sure to accentuate that second “N” for your waiter. You’ll be glad that you did.

What You’ll Think Is Bello About The NFL:
-Roger Goodell may be evil, but he makes the trains run on time.
-Eric Mangini. Italian name, American waistline.
-League pleasantly devoid of Albanians or gypsys.
-Because of familiarity with vapid Italian television, Italians will actually find play-by-play announcers witty and urbane.
-NFL, like the Vatican, makes you feel guilty for everything you enjoy.
-Many small towns, including the one I stayed at, take siestas in the middle of the day. Residents of these towns will enjoy players like Plaxico Burress, who take large chunks of the season off.
-Kool-Aid Maroney’s favorite drink a passable substitute for Chianti.
-Italian women are crazy for cheap sentiment, which is the NFL’s stock in trade. Actually, Italian women are just crazy.

What You’ll Think Is Brutto About The NFL:
-Not enough communism.
-Far too little corruption for Italian standards.
-Stadiums don’t play Paolo Conte.
-No team in Los Angeles, therefore Aria Giovanni doesn’t attend games.
-Lots of moulies.
-Ravens style of play will remind Italians at first of catenaccio, but then they’ll just realize it’s only because their offense is dreadful.
-Women permitted to attend games, thus not at home cooking and rearing children.
-Italians refer to doggy-style as “alla pecorina” or, translated literally, sheep-style. This has nothing really to do with football, but only further serves to illustrate that Italians are ineffably odd.