Futbol Americano as it’s called in many other parts of the world, has some analogies to the current political spectacle referred to as The GOP Debates. That 20 million-plus viewed some part of the 3-hour spectacle is far short of our usual Sunday TV worshipping (ooops!…habits), but it does speak to a primal desire to see someone get/do some figurative tail-kicking.

Would current #1 (27% in CBS polls) Donald Trump stretch his popularity with a strong second performance? Would statistical bottom-feeders like Rand Paul, or the early but somewhat fading favorite--down from 13% to 6% since 8/16-- Jeb Bush, put points on the scoreboard in what pundits call ‘The Silly Season’? Point to note: Republican Party's 2016 four-day convention will be in Cleveland (OH), starting Monday, July 18; Democrats will select their candidate in Philadelphia the week of July 25th.

From a sports writing POV, putting all the teams in the same ‘stadium’-- the Presidential Library of Republican icon Ronald Reagan, complete with Air Force One as backdrop—was ‘fair’ to represent the top 11 (of 15) candidates. Fair, but with relevance an obvious factor Wednesday, what resulted was a wrestling grand melee of candidates talking over each other and ignoring moderators ‘Time, please!’ comments, even by those who hadn’t been addressed by a specific question.

Many expected such a contentious debate. Fiorina (4%) moved up to prime time after a strong first debate; Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s 2% and New Jersey’s Chris Christie might be relegated to the second division if their stock drops any further. It was interesting that many candidates chose NOT to be introduced by their political titles. Senators Cruz (Texas) and Rubio (Fla.) left theirs off, Paul intro’d himself as “an eye doctor from Bowling Green, Kentucky.”

Trump being ganged up on, well, the polls will focus on him either way, and his numbers probably won’t suffer terribly. He and Ms. Fiorina jabbed each other about business acumen;  she was fired by Hewlett Packard, while Trump-- who portrays himself a successful businessman-- was reminded of his rescue by lenders in the ‘80s, when several of his New Jersey casinos were about to cost investors a VERY significant amount of dollars.

Trump lost face by chiding Bush for answering a recent question-- asked in Spanish by a Hispanic youth-- in Spanish, because “the language of this country is English.” Bush said he respected the questioner enough to respond in Spanish, and Governor Marco Rubio, who is Hispanic, spoke up about his grandfather, who often told him in Spanish why America was a great country, because that was how he was most comfortable expressing all he needed to say.

Immigration continues to be a major point in all polling. While Trump sticks to the idea he would have 11-12 million undocumented aliens immediately rounded up and deported, several candidates pointed out that, even if physical-financial resources to find/deport 15,000 people a day were available, it would take two years to accomplish. That ‘The Donald’ was *specifically* asked how much he expected any plan to cost or be accomplished, and blathered on about “they are costing us $200 billion a year,” showcased his lightweight grasp of political reality. European countries struggling with a deluge of several hundred thousand refugees from the Middle East wouldn’t have any regard for Trump’s bombast on the topic.

Two points of information that will be fodder for justified on-going negativity was Trump allowing a ‘town hall’ questioner from New Hampshire to slide with his claims about the president's religion and nationality, which is an unacceptable falsehood not to straighten out. Another, related to the Kentucky clerk who defied a Supreme Court ruling about denying marriage licenses to gay couples, is how many people-- and yes, candidates—don’t feel the Supreme Court is the final word on matters if they still want something different to happen. (Fact: In the U.S., it is.) #Donald Trump #Election 2016 #GOP