Why Do Men Love Football So Much?

Over at YourTango, they’re running an interesting series about the of between men, women, and football. They’ll be discussing the crazy sport—really, think about it—that we all get so crazy about every weekend. YourTango readers and writers have seen their relationships affected by the game, so for the duration of the season they’ll be talking about football from a number of gender- and relationship-centered angles.

This week, Kristine Gasbarre and Tom Miller discuss the apparent male obsession with the sport.

Krissy: What is it about football that guys like?

Tomfoolery: Guys like violence—boxing’s more violent, but football is a team sport, a tribal sport; so you’ve got the violence and then you’ve got your team. It’s Us vs. You.

Krissy: Well then why do you care to watch games when your team isn’t even playing?

Tomfoolery: It’s the entertainment factor. I want to watch my guys beat your brains in.

Krissy: Does it come from the male biological drive to compete and be a winner?

Tomfoolery: Yes, definitely. You identify some amount of your happiness based on how well your guys do. Like, I take my college’s losses personally. I’m in a terrible mood all day Saturday if my team doesn’t win.

Check back next week when they discuss fantasy football.

Why do you think so many American men lose their minds every Sunday? And has football ever affected a relationship of yours? Let us know.

—Photo Monica’s Dad/Flickr

About the Editors

We're all in this together.


  1. Uncle Woofie says:

    This is not a posting about being a “sports hating man”.

    However, it is an excellent place to discuss the beginnings of how I became a man whose interests run counter to feeling obligated to behave like I need a Gatorade I.V. on the weekends.

    First off, a great deal of men (there’s nothing wrong with this) become sports fans through their primary bonding experience with their fathers. Well, lets see how that worked (or better yet DIDN’T work) with my father. My father was a man short in stature, but tall in wisdom. For all the things that women wish to complain about concerning physically attracting a man that they want, a man short in stature can quite easily feel like the male equivalent of a flat-chested, buck-toothed & nock-kneed woman that no amount of make-up or padded bras will ever even the odds. For all the mighty trumpeting over the beneficial aspects of sports on the male psyche, the man short in stature knows he’s on the outside looking in on that world, too. Not everyone can be Mugsy Bouges, folks. It is a tribute to my father that he rarely if EVER exhibited any indication that these things ever preyed on his mind.

    He is an auto racing enthusiast, explaining his interest in it provided one of the few telling moments I’ve ever seen him exhibit about this subject. “It doesn’t make a DAMN what size you are driving a race car.”

    Second, after years of being a highly skilled furniture upholsterer when I was very young, he recognized that the pay-scale wasn’t going to take care of his family the way he wanted. After several weeks of training through a program run by one of the state colleges, he became a long-line truck driver. This cut deeply into any kind of father-son bonding experience regardless of topic, and it always seemed to be that he had to work on the weekends. It was the steep price he paid to provide well for his family. The other kids in the neighborhood, much like me, were outside playing on the weekends and so we weren’t inclined to watch ball games very much. All on my own, however, I did get rather fascinated with winter sports like (at first) ski jumping & bobsledding via “Wide World of Sports”. Oh, I tried to fit in to local basketball and baseball programs that were being offered, but it didn’t take long for me to realize that my true talents lay elsewhere. Even if I got on a team in any sport, I knew I would be getting quite familiar with bench-warming as my team position.

    Oh, I keep up with just enough game results during football, basketball & baseball season that I’m not the odd man out in male conversations if necessary. Due to many factors these days, (chiefly unemployment, at least these days) I have…oh hell…I’ll admit it…only one or two friends, neither of which are what you would call prime candidates for hours worth of programming on ESPN. We have other interests, it’s simple as that.

    Since pounding this out went into a few paragraphs that strayed from the central topic, I have other thoughts about the overdriven sports culture aimed at male conformity, and may throw some more comments in here about it later.

  2. First of all, although most women (and sports hating men) think football is just a bunch of large men slamming into each other, that’s not true. There are complicated routes being run by receivers, the QB (the good ones anyways) are constantly reading defenses and changing plays on the fly, blocking schemes and so much more that a casual observer of the game doesn’t (or won’t bother to) notice.

    Second, as a season ticket holder for the Patriots I have a much different take on things. My father has been taking me to games since I was 6 years old. We park in a secret spot (to avoid the $50 fee the Kraft family gouges fans for in the stadium lots), walk to the game and enjoy a great father-son ritual. We sat through the horrible times and now we’re enjoying the good times. No matter what is going on or if we’ve had an argument, Sundays are a time to call a truce and enjoy some football.

    My friends and I also play fantasy football. It’s the one time of year we all make a point to get together and do the draft. Sure it’s about football but it’s also about catching up, talking about our lives and re-connecting.

    Football season is my favorite time of year.

  3. I think it’s called testosterone. I enjoy watching sports when my team is playing because I enjoy playing sports. I enjoy watching in the order I enjoy playing: basketball, football, baseball, golf.

    I spent 1000x more time playing basketball than football, so basketball is my preference. However, football is cool because there are only 16 games, so each game has meaning,m which makes it exciting. Plus, the playoffs are sudden death.

    As harsh as it can be a, it’s also a sport of graceful, running, jumping, throwing and athleticism. Being the one to catch a ball when several others are trying to do the same thing, or stop you from catching it can be a work of art – especially if that player can do it over and over.

    Lastly, what the heck else are you going to do when it’s stinkin’ cold outside on a Sunday afternoon, watch an “evil husband” Lifetime TV movie?

Speak Your Mind