Shawn Maxam is anticipating the upcoming NFL season but wonders if there are some important questions we should be asking.
After all, is football a game or a religion?
I think we are at an interesting time in our country. Football is the most popular sport in America. It is also incredibly violent and brutal. An argument can be made that boxing, hockey and mixed-martial arts are inherently more violent than professional and college football but their popularity pales in comparison to America’s “real” past-time. The Superbowl is this country’s top-rated television event every year.
College football Bowl games are a tremendous money-maker for the NCAA. College athletes become icons because of how popular football is. We elevate coaches on both levels to gods. From Paterno to Saban and Lombardi to Parcells we worship these men.
ESPN has made the NFL draft into a successfully televised event. Fantasy football is played by millions. I love this game. It’s my favorite sport. It’s the sport that me and many of my friends bond over. We play fantasy together. We watch Thursday Night, Sunday Night and Monday Night football together. We throw Superbowl viewing parties. We play Madden every year. We gamble and place bets on these games. We are obessesed with this sport.
But still how many of us will let our sons play this sport? The gladiatorial aspects are what we love and fear at the same time. What is the future of a sport that leaves men bodies battered and their spirits broken? How do we reconcile these contradictions.
We will exploring these and many more questions about the game of football in the upcoming months here on The Good Men Project. I look forward to reading your stories and hearing your thoughts.
P.S. Randy Moss is my favorite NFL player ever. Uh go 49ers!
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Flickr image via Elvert Barnes