Why Haters Need To Stop Hating (American) Football

Hey, guess what. Another new column. That’s how I roll, motherfucker.

I thought about starting this cynical new column with a self-explanatory name with this particular topic because the NFL season started today with an only “all right” game between the current champions the New York Giants and the Dallas Cowboys. Spoilers: The crowned Giants lost the season opener at home, in what I think might be a very embarrassing first for the league.

So here’s the thing about football: It’s fucking awesome. I’ve always enjoyed watching it, but I’ve become much more of an intense fan in the last few years, despite the fact that it’s not as big in my Mexican country as the bafflingly popular homonymous sport, which I’ll refer to as “Soccer” from this point on.

Football gets very bad rap. Now, I understand being indifferent or not liking a sport—Fenrir knows I can’t stand most sports that make others gush themselves with excitement (re: soccer; seriously, enjoyment in this is entirely based on the possibility of something exciting happening, not its actuality)—but the reasons why many people hate it are both inexplicable and frankly stupid. This isn't to say there aren't legit reasons to not like it, of course.

I’m sure part of it has to do with the fact that football is an American sport, and hating America is cooler than peeing your pants, and Miles Davies. I will dedicate an entire post to the fact that the America H8 is an absurd joke taken too far by people who didn’t quite get it, but I’ll do it some other time.

“It’s a pussified version of rugby.”

This seems to be the most popular comment, which is beyond confusing. I won’t criticize rugby because I haven’t seen much of it. I was invited to play it in college by my gym coach, and I didn’t like the rules and the basic concept. Because of this, I don’t know enough about it to tell you if or why it’s inferior. It’s irrelevant.

Pictured: A fragile pussy.
Basically the idea is that rugby is football, sans pads, which equals "manlier". American football players are known for being big guys wearing big shoulder pads, helmets, ball cups, knee pads, thigh pads, and girdles with ass pads. Now, I’m genuinely confused about why anyone could actually watch these guys go at each other could possibly compare the violence in football to the violence in rugby. There’s a reason why rugby, or soccer, or tennis or ping pong don’t use pads: players don’t need them to play the game.

You know why they wear pads in American football? Because if they don’t, they fucking die. Consider this: despite the fact that they use these suits of upper-body armor (trust me, the leg pads don’t do much), it’s one of the sports with the biggest index of injuries in the world. And we’re not talking about frail 130 lb players—we’re talking about players that average 248 lbs in muscle weight. These guys have been training to receive derailed trains to the face; they don’t injure easily.

Yet they still do. The nature of the tackles in rugby and football is completely different. They simply can’t and shouldn’t be compared. You don’t need a safety belt to drive a go-kart as much as you need one to drive a F1.

Another way of looking at this issue is this: the pads aren't there to keep players from getting hurt; they're there to keep them from getting killed.

Furthermore, even if I was wrong—which I fucking am not—why would someone condemn a sport because it’s not tough enough? Isn’t soccer, the most pussified sport on the planet, also the most popular? Maybe we should create a sport where children tied to the opposer's hands beat the shit out of each other with heavy chains while on fire. That’d result in severe injuries, would it be the best sport ever?

. . . fuck, okay that might be the best sport ever, but you get my point.

“You don’t play it with your foot—why call it football, stupid?”

Upon the sport’s conception, the elliptical ball used to be exactly 12 inches, or one foot, in length. Get over it. Also, there's no other name for American football that more than five people are aware of; why are soccer fans so insulted when their sport is called by that name? Is "football" somehow a flattering name whereas "soccer" is a kick in the balls?

“It’s just a bunch of brutes crashing against one another.”

 I’m sorry. Again, I don’t know much about rugby but, isn’t the concept of the scrum fucking exactly that? This is interesting, because while it is the case in rugby (which I’m sure isn’t as popular as much lamer sports are), it certainly isn’t true in football. To be fair, during first views of a football game, it might seem that way, but if you watch it more closely and begin to understand each player’s individual job (yeah, there’s four different positions in a defensive line), you’ll see that there’s nothing arbitrary about the defensive and offensive lines colliding. Football defense is the fastest adapting system there is; it’s actually very elegant once you know what’s going on.

Check out these morons. What the hell is Harvard anyway?
Oh and regarding the word “brute”: I won’t get into the whole joke about “big muscles = tiny brain” because I’m sure nerds need that joke to feel better about being out of shape. No, what I want to point out is that professional football is one of the very few sports that can say that the vast, vast majority of their players are college educated. Some in Ivy League schools. Sure they might not all have been the brightest minds there, but it’s much more than most sports can claim.

And although the quarterback has the shittiest, toughest job, there’s not one single position that doesn’t require both great strength and lightning fast reflexes to act, assess, and constantly reassess strategy. Every single play, every single game. These guys are also playing a sport most people can’t hope to really understand without epistemological study. It’s not something someone can completely explain in one shot while watching a game.

Which brings me to . . .

The fact that American football might be the most complex sport there is. You see, this is a game that’s designed to be constantly exciting. In a three-hour game, just missing ten minutes to shit out that Chipotle can very often mean missing a gigantic turnaround in the game. Unlike soccer, where seeing the game go into halftime with a 2-0 advantage will most assuredly mean victory for the ahead team, nothing is set in stone in football until the very end. This system has been perfected through many, many rule changes throughout the years. Yes, this might make it very confusing—but how about you don’t turn your brain off to watch a game? Sports can be intellectually stimulating.

I guess what I want to say here is that this is a very underrated sport. Once you get into it, it’s addictive and impossibly exciting. Yes, there are dumb intense jocks that will want to maul you senseless for liking their opposing team (watch it, Pittsburgh), but this is the case in every sport, isn’t it?

So I recommend you to try it. Grab a beer, call a friend who’s into the sport, pick a team (any reason is good to pick a team, guys; don’t be stupid about this), stick to it, and enjoy. Season is just beginning. Oh, also this:

That's right.
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About The Damn Beast

Pre-op trans-minotaur, sci-fi/fantasy/horror author, metal singer, videogame journalist, pop culture blogger. I also lift heavy things and put them down again repeatedly to occupy more space.
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