With the Super Bowl right around the corner, I’m sure all of America has their buffalo chicken dip, wings, cookies, and other goods already to go. Whether you’re a Rams or Patriots fan, you just love football, or you just want some funny commercials, this game has it all. The Super Bowl always promises to excite, but have you ever stopped and thought about why we love football so much? Why does a game like this command so much of America’s attention, where as an NBA finals game 7 gets nowhere near the volume of viewers?
Football has its positives, no doubt, but it also has many negatives. CTE and other injuries have stopped players from playing and have even scared off some new athletes knowing all the injury risks. Also, it seems like the blown calls are of much bigger magnitude and are remembered more frequently in football than any other officiated sport. There are multiple off the field issues that are constantly brought up with everything from drugs to domestic abuse. There are multiple scandals in recent years which have caused many fans to believe the entire sport is rigged. Why would any true sports fan watch and get so excited despite all these negatives? Here are some of the reasons why I believe the NFL is and will continue to be America’s favorite sport.
- Fan Bases: Regardless of any team you follow, nothing is like an NFL fanbase. They are nasty towards opposing teams and even fight within the fanbase sometimes. Personally, I believe being an Eagles fan has brought me closer to family members over that common bond. I feel like being a football fan of a team means more and connects fans more than being a basketball fan or baseball fan of a team. Football fans are more dedicated and are more passionate, which in turns promotes increased love for the sport and attention to it.
- Stadium Atmosphere: Going to a football game for any team is simply an overwhelming experience. The energy and electricity of fans in the stadium is so powerful it can be felt the second you enter. With the enormous TV’s, rowdy fans, and sheer noise alone, football games should be more properly labeled as “football experiences”. Sitting at an Eagles game just has a different energy to me then going to a 76ers game. To me, it just feels more intense and passionate (remember basketball is also my favorite sport).
- 3. Hard Hits: Is the NFL dangerous? Yes, but anything in life can be extremely dangerous. The NFL has made great strides over the last few years improving player safety and continually looking after athletes. One of the best moments for a football fan is when a lineman lays out an excellent block and a defender delivers a forceful clean hit. I emphasize clean because a cheap shot or dirty play is inexcusable and a detriment to the game. A powerful, legal hit can get everyone excited and elicit a reaction. It reminds fans of the sheer power and force of each athletes and alludes to just how hard they had to work to get there and how much time they dedicate in the weight room.
- One Game Elimination: In the NBA, teams play each other multiple times a season and even in the playoffs play a seven-game series. While some teams play twice in the NFL season, most games are one-time things and playoff games are one game rounds. Since there are fewer games, each one takes more precedent and has more weight to it. Losing an NFL game has much more impact than losing an NBA game. If my 76ers lose to the Thunder, my brother’s favorite team, I know I have a chance at redemption later in the year. When his favorite team, the Titans, beat my favorite team, the Eagles, I knew he would have bragging rights for multiple seasons, since they don’t play frequently. No game in the NFL is losable, where as a loss or two in the MLB or NBA may not mean utter defeat, even come playoff time.
- 53 Man Rosters: The NFL needs massive rosters due to having separate offensive, defensive, and special teams’ units. With so many athletes, each fan can find their own favorite player and gravitate towards them. While an NBA or MLB roster may only have a handful of guys that catch your interest, the. NFL has multiple stud players on both sides of the ball. Having more players on both sides of the ball allows each fan to find their favorite one and latch onto them.
- Huge Play Capability: I understand a buzzer-beater or walk-off homerun is tremendous, but that’s a once a game situation, or possibly doesn’t even happen. Most NFL games come right down to the last few minutes and even with onside kicks can change in an instant. The nature of the NFL allows for huge pass plays, dynamic, big gain rushes, and powerful sacks. There are multiple huge plays each game, as opposed to other sports who may just have a few.
- Timeframe: Everyone has so many thousands of things to do during the week and it’s hard to even stop and catch up with everything going on. With the NBA and MLB playing during the week, sometimes it’s impossible to find the time to be able to sit down and enjoy the game. With games primarily on Sunday’s, it’s much easier to find the time to watch the game before getting ready for the work week. Thursday night games provide fans a taste of the savory action to come, and Monday nights give us that encore we missed. The schedule works out conveniently and effectively.
- Player Contributions: I prefaced the article talking about off the field issues of some athletes. Not every athlete goes through some type of problem; in fact, very few do. Most NFL players are hard working on the field and dedicated to their communities off the field. Don’t let a small smattering of negative situations distract you from the contributions of these men. So many players are considered for the Walter Payton award, an award dedicated to honoring athletes on and off the field. NFL players spend as much time in the locker room as they do aid those around them and many never even have their acts acknowledged.
Regardless of why we love the NFL, there is always something to talk about. Every game packs an exciting punch and leaves us wanting more. The NFL has a plethora of reasons why it draws us in. Fans all over the country are drawn in every Sunday, Monday night, or Thursday night to catch their favorite team in action. The Super Bowl will be the topic of conversation all next week, and you won’t want to miss a second.