I have observed that what sports a populations tends to be good at depends on what sports people in that population play when they are kids.
However, not everyone can be an professional athlete. There seems to be a heredity component to it.
For Samoans, they seem to disproportionately have the talents needed for football. Could it be in their genes?
There’s a small community that produces more players for the NFL than anyplace else in America. It isn’t in Texas, or Florida or Oklahoma. In fact, it’s as far from the foundations of football as you can get.
Call it “Football Island” – American Samoa, a rock in the distant South Pacific.
From an island of just 65,000 people, there are more than 30 players of Samoan descent in the NFL and more than 200 playing Division I college ball. That’s like 30 current NFL players coming out of Sparks, Nev., or Gastonia, N.C. 60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelley traveled 8,000 miles to American Samoa and found a people and traditions so perfectly suited to America’s game – it’s as if they’d been waiting centuries for football to come ashore.
“[Somoans] [a]re soft spoken, they’re gentle,” he told Pelley of his players. “But when they put on their equipment, they just become monsters. And they just want to go out and hit and hit and hit.”
One 16-year-old player told Pelley he’s 6 feet 5 inches tall. Another, 17 years old, said he’s 6 foot 4 and a half.
[...] It’s estimated that a boy born to Samoan parents is 56 times more likely to get into the NFL than any other kid in America.
The Samoan people are big. [...]
“The combination of size, and ability and speed, you know, that’s kind of hard to find. Big dudes that can have nimble feet, you know, and are able to run and go sideline to sideline,” Peko said.
“What if there were 120 million Samoans, you know? How many Samoans would there then there be in the NFL?” Polamalu quipped.
“If there were 120 million Samoans, it might be the National Samoan Football League,” Pelley told the football star.