American speedskaters lagged behind at the Sochi Olympics, and some of them suspect why: It's the uniforms' fault.

Dutch coach Jillert Anema, whose team has won 21 medals in the sport and is assured of a 22nd, had an even more unlikely culprit: football (ours, not theirs).

“You have a lot of attention on a foolish sport like American football and you waste a lot of talent, athletic talent, on a sport that is meant to kill each other, to injure each other,” Anema said in an interview with CNBC, sounding like someone who bet too much on the Broncos in the Super Bowl. “You're so narrow-minded, and then you want to compete against the world (in other sports) when you waste a lot of time, (and) good talent on a sport that sucks.”

It sounded a lot like Rex Ryan, if he were Dutch, a speedskating coach and a winner. But mixed in with bravado — “you won't beat us, not in four years, not in eight years” — Anema had plenty of insightful things to say.

“Once in four years America will all go and watch skating and then you need to bring medals home, but in the few years before (that, skaters) are not supported and you need the support, you need the competition, and I think that's what went wrong.”

He's right about that. For three years and 50 weeks of the fourth, most of us couldn't name a speedskater from a halfpiper. Besides ice hockey, and perhaps figure skating, most Winter Olympics sports have niche audiences only. But after NBC has paid three-quarters of a billion dollars to televise the Games, it needs to present heartfelt storylines and gold-medal performances. It's not that easy.

Even with Anema's barbs, perhaps we can still be grateful: As fast and as well as the Dutch can skate, they don't seem very interested in ice hockey.