Chicago, IL –There is a reason why NFL football is America’s favorite spectator major sport in the US. I believe football reflects us as a society more than any other sport and it is this reflection of self that we can identify with so well and why we are drawn so feverishly to this game to the point where our obsession with the NFL is almost to the point of addiction that may require intervention. As a football junkie myself I could not be more happy to see the NFL back and front and center in our society’s landscape. So lets take a look at why this game is so popular and embedded in our country’s pop culture.
1. It’s a tough,no nonsense, fast game – Football is a tough game for tough people who are determined, hard-working with a resiliency to bounce back. If there is “no crying in Baseball” there certainly is no crying in Football and there isn’t in America either. America has suffered its setbacks historically but always bounces back. We pick ourselves up and get on with life so we appreciate a game with coaches and players that reflect this attitude as well. When players go down with injury you do not hear coaches or teammates whine about their misfortunes instead they play on and adapt. The game is also played at a breakneck speed which I think most Americans can also relate to. We are always flying to meeting, running the kids to practice ect.. so we are accustomed to fast pace and probably prefer things that way so why not have our games reflect this high speed pace as well.
2. It’s as simple or as complicated a game as you want – NFL football offers you the chance to go in real depth into the game if you want; like knowing the difference between a 3 -4 or a 4-3 defenses and what type of offences they are primarily designed to stop or the difference between your Y & Z receivers routes. You can study this game as much or as little as you want. There are a million and one books out there about football and the strategies and philosophes behind certain defenses or offences. Now with the rise of fantasy football you can also study statistics of your favorite players to improve your chances of winning it all in your fantasy football league. If neither of those scenarios appeals to you then you can choose to just sit back, chill with your favorite libation and enjoy when you team scores a touchdown and just enjoy the athletic skills that are being exhibited it is as simple as that. Same thing in America you can have a lifestyle that is simple or complicated but the choice is yours and yours alone so why wouldn’t our game reflect this element too.
3. Game is filled with people who made the most of their opportunities. The NFL is the ultimate team sport but what makes it great is that it is filled with individuals who have amazing stories of making the most of their opportunities or being the underdog and making it against all the odds. It is no secret America loves the underdog and as a culture we have many outside of football that fit this bill like Oprah Winfry, John D. Rockerfeller & Eminem and there are many everyday Americans as well that have their own underdog stories which is why we can so readily relate to the Shannon & Sterling Sharps, Tom Brady, Kurt Warner, Deacon Jones stories of the NFL. They continually remind us that nowhere else can people be in so much control of their destinies and that the force is within us to blaze amazing trails if we so choose to do so.
4. Game filled with pioneers & ingenuity– America celebrates innovation and the entrepreneurial spirit. We are a country maybe more than any other that appreciates independence, taking risks and pushing the envelope even if it means failure for the advancement of ourselves and our craft. Where would we be today if not for the Wright brothers, Alexander Graham Bell and thanks to social network everyone is probably familiar with Mark Zuckerberg, Eduardo Saverin, Dustin Moskovitz & Chris Hughes. Well the NFL has it’s share of vanguards too. Where would the NFL be without Buddy Ryan who gave us the Chicago Bears 46 Defense; or the late Bill Walsh’s who gave us the West Coast offense which is run in some fashion by offences to this day; Don Coryall’s Air Coryall Offense or vertical offence if you prefer again run in some fashion by teams today or Dick LeBeau who gave us the zone blitz these men changed the game and evolved it to another level. America as a country is always evolving as well which maybe why we can appreciate these geniuses and their spirit of innovation no other sport provides the platform for as much ingenuity as the NFL.
5. NFL is diverse. Players are as different and diverse as America. It’s players are represented by all races, religions, political beliefs ect. Whether it is Tony Gonzales, Troy Palomalu, Tony Romo, Adrian Peterson, Peyton Manning, or Tim Tebow the rainbow of diversity is as rich and colorful in the NFL as it is in America. Now you say baseball also has ethnic diversity which is true but what separates the NFL is that in a sports world dominated by men the NFL has or had women team owners like Georgia Fontiere and Virgina McCaskey and while these ladies inherited their positions, I believe one day there will be a woman owner allowed in this boys club simply because of her own merits and money. The NFL I also hear will be employing women as part of the officiating crews and possibly on teams medical staffs. If women are brought into the game it will truly make the NFL a mirror of America with all of our diverse views, ethnic uniqueness and cultural richness that blends us all together on the best team of all the United States of America.