Football is back: a view from the belchers, er, bleachers
I’m aware there was life before the invention of football. I just can’t imagine it being any good.
I don’t know what people did in, say, the 1300s, when you didn’t have NBC Sunday Night Football or Coors Light, or honey-glaze hot wings. That whole bubonic plague thing probably wasn’t very pleasant either.
But we have football now, and it’s back. And I think I speak for football fans across America when I say, “BUUURP!”
Sorry about that. Me and football fans across America have been drinking beer, glued to the set, engulfed in the pageantry of a game that enriches our lives — a game that allows us to relive our glory days, or try to recall glory days we once had, or — for those of us who never had glory days in the first place — pretend we once had glory days so we can relive them.
Like I said, we’ve been drinking beer.
Which is NOT a prerequisite for watching football, unlike soccer, which was invented so that unattractive Europeans would have an excuse to get outside and get into drunken fistfights for three hours. Or baseball, which you have to experience with suds to make interesting, otherwise you’re just watching some 19-year-old from the Dominican Republic throw a spherical cowhide at a Venezuelan holding a piece of wood.
Football works, both in person and on the screen. There’s something visually and emotionally pleasing about seeing a 24-year-old millionaire running at full speed, attempting to give a 27-year-old millionaire a concussion.
Plus the NFL represents all that is good about America: the aggressive acquisition of territory, violence, cheerleaders and commercial sponsors. The game is also good for the economy. It’s a proven fact that the NFL has significantly lowered the unemployment rate for 350-pound inner-city men with low SAT scores.
Sure, football is not perfect. It has its negatives, such as fantasy football.
I don’t play fantasy football for the same reason I don’t shoot heroin: One little taste and I’d be hooked. My life would rapidly progress into a downward spiral of dangerous obsession, eventually reaching its inevitable conclusion: me slumped in some disgusting bathroom stall, track marks on my arm, mumbling gibberish how my running backs are underperforming.
Yes, football can bring out an individual’s dark side. I say this with a little embarrassment and with a lot of honesty: If Bronco linebacker Von Miller were to sack San Diego Chargers quarterback Phillip Rivers and break his femur, it would bring me a significant amount of pleasure. Admittedly, this is odd. In no other circumstance do I wish for another human being to experience a multi-fragmentary compound fracture. I don’t know if wishing Phillip Rivers pain makes me evil; but I do know it makes me one of 4 million Bronco fans.
Yet, overall, the game is good for us, as it unites people of all races, religions and iPod tastes.
True story: I once won club-level seats to a Broncos game, where, directly next to me in line to the bathroom stood Alan Simpson, he the former U.S. Senator and co-author of the Simpson-Bowles deficit reduction plan. I struck up a conversation with the distinguished leader because I’m a political junkie, and because I had three beers.
Only in football can you find yourself randomly engaged in a discussion about a holding penalty with a highly respected American political figure. At a urinal. As side note, I’ve found that talking with a U.S. senator at the urinal next to you is like giving your order to a Hooter’s waitress: The whole time you’re silently telling yourself, “Maintain direct eye contact.”
Despite the positives, I know that some of you disapprove. You think that football is a violent waste of time and resources, and represents the dumbing down of America. All good points, to which my only response would be: