There are many who think sports are a form of escapism and the most compelling one gains the highest number of followers. With football, the energy, the brutality, the competitiveness, the money and the fame makes it a compelling sport. These aspects make it not just the best sport as by me but also the best source of entertainment. In a football game there is always something happening whether on the field or on the sidelines, the cheerleaders or the mascots and even awesome bands during halftime not forgetting the food and drinks that are readily available throughout the game.
There are some facts that make football interesting and unbelievable. For instance most of the players in the NFL can run 100 meters in under 10 seconds. This is astounding given their huge bodies! The source of football passion is that it is a game that only a few can play professionally. In its history only Walter Payton and David Patton have caught, run and thrown a touchdown against the same team in the same game. Tony Dorsett the 1983 Dallas Cowboys running back has made history of being the only player to rush for a 99 yard touchdown. Such onetime accomplishments make the players some of the most adored persons.
Though it has been critiqued for being loaded with statistics, frequent interruptions, and oblique terminology and baffling rules, the game has won over many hearts. The frequent interruptions are of concern to many who do not understand the game, with a Wall Street Journal Study reporting that a standard game features only 10 minutes and 43 seconds of action with commercials accounting for over 60 minutes of the three hours. It makes you wonder how the NFL games are so popular but the fact is that most of the time is spent on replays which are vital to the fans. Other interesting facts about the game is that injured players get six more seconds of camera time than players celebrating a score and also that about 75 minutes of camera time in a game are spent on shoots of players either huddling, standing on the line, on the bench or just walking around. All these shows the obsession of the game with the players.
It is the action in the field fans my passion for this game. The raw energy connects to my primal nature and I think that is the main attraction to the game. The brutality of the game makes it dangerous and a health risk to the players but ironically that’s the fun for the fans. It was shown that in 1994 the average lifespan of a NFL player was 52-55 years against 77 years for an average US citizen. The long term effects of head injuries sustained by the players and also the constant pain the players have to live with makes you question the sanity of the game. Money and fame may justify all these but studies have also shown that they do not last long enough. In 2009 a Sports illustrated article said that 78% of former NFL players have gone bankrupt within two years of retirement.
The passion for the game has driven both fans and players to great extents in the name of the game. In 1988 during the playoff between Philadelphia Eagles and Chicago Bears the fog was so thick such that the players could not see the sidelines and the fans could not see the field and the referees had to announce after every play what had happened. That shows the passion that fans and players have for the game and they will not stop at anything to enjoy it. Some players and fans go to the extent of believing in superstition. It is said that Darrell Green who is among the fastest players in NFL’s history, stuffed his socks with tootsies rolls before games because he believed they made him run faster. Also it is believed that Minnesota Vikings are cursed for losing the NFL championship trophy by the spirit of Ed Thorp.
Not only is superstition common but also gimmicks. For example the use of cheerleaders which has become a tradition was started by the Pittsburgh Steelers. The cheerleaders in a NFL game earn $50 per game. The use of mascots is another example. Some teams even go to great extents to sell tickets such as not broadcasting the game within a certain radius of the stadium to force fans to buy tickets instead of watching it at home.
There are some facts and rules of football that seem random and unnecessary but have their value. One of them is that NFL requires football fields to be built facing either north or south and in the shade to prevent the sun from interfering with the game. Another is that the only time NFL will hold a disaster draft is if a disaster or a near disaster happens to a team. The interesting bit if the definition of near disaster which is defined as less than 15 casualties and a disaster as more than 15 casualties.