Calcio storico is something else

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Tully Corcoran

Tully Corcoran spent seven years covering the Kansas City Chiefs and Kansas Jayhawks for The Topeka Capital-Journal. His work has been honored multiple times by The Kansas Press Association. He most recently wrote for FOX Sports Houston and FOX Sports Southwest. Follow him on Twitter.


Somebody could really get hurt out there.

This is without a doubt the most violent stadium sport in the world. Maybe in some basement somewhere there really is a Fight Club, but in terms of stuff you can see in a place that sells nachos this has to be the world's most physically combative sport.

It's an Italian sport called calcio storico or calcio fiorentino and it's kind of like if you mixed rugby with a street fight. To score, you get the ball into what Americans would call the end zone.

It's pretty wild, but you may not want to watch all 55 minutes of that highlight. So here are the highlights, in order of their appearance in the video:

8:45: Holy crap this bearded guy who looks like he probably brews beer in his garage takes it to the house! A hirsute, portly Tim Tebow on the misdirection! This is the offense Chip Kelly is bringing to the NFL.

8:50: HPTT (Hirsute, Portly Tim Tebow) gets decked by his own teammate. They even celebrate violently.

9:05: I'm sitting here thinking I've never seen anything like this on an American playing surface, but I have. The Malice in the Palace looked like this in the sense that numerous people were on the playing surface punching each other. The difference, of course, is that the Malice in the Palace was considered a catastrophic breakdown and one of the low points in NBA history, but in calcio storico, it's just the way the game is played. Besides, it doesn't spill over into the crowd.

20:19: Oh, so I guess it is going to spill over into the crowd after all.

26:25: Oh no. This sport has a fractional scoring system. This is doomed in America. True story: I know a college graduate who doesn't understand how half of nine is 4.5. The Europeans are good at taking almost prehistorically simple games and then needlessly complicating the timing or scoring system in order to annoy Americans.

30:35: One of the linemen (?) receives a blow to the head so severe they pour water on him.

37:20: I'm going to assume this is the highest level at which this sport is played, which means calcio storico can be played effectively well into middle age and by men of basically any size and shape, so long as they can fight.

49:24: Fighting in the dust.

50:30: Fighting in the dust.

50:08: And suddenly it's over. It just ended. These men stopped fighting and started hugging. ... wait ... nope, still fighting ...

51:34: And now it's over.

I don't understand it, but I get it.

(Hat tip to The Big Lead for tipping us off to this gem.)

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