I Am Henceforth No Longer Paying Attention to Professional Football*

Those who have known me or been reading my blog for more than about six years will remember that it was not that long ago that I was completely anti-sports.  I thought they were a waste of time, a diversion for the masses away from the things that really mattered, and void of any real meaningful human content.

In some ways, I still believe that.

But for some reason, those years ago, I decided to give in, first with hockey, then baseball, then the whole shebang.

I am now firmly in the camp of baseball, hockey and basketball being worthy pursuits of not just entertainment, but, when approached properly, intellectual and emotional import (when digested with moderation).  However, I am here to announce my plans to stop following the National Football League effective immediately.

There are numerous cultural and societal reasons to stop giving money and attention to the NFL–all or most of which I agree with.  But you don’t need me to list them here or discuss them; many other more eloquent writers have explored the topics ad nauseum, and if you don’t know what those topics are, me listing them here wouldn’t be of interest to you, either.  The fact is, I could probably force myself to overlook many of them and continue, with some guilt, to gulp down the admittedly highly-entertaining product the NFL offers.  But it’s not just these dense, important cultural issues that influence me.  The fact is, I also have come to see professional American football as a kind of clown sport.

The rules change so often and so drastically simply to tweak the television viewing experience and to highlight the superstars of the league, so that more dramatic storylines can be crafted for the endless hours of pre-game programming.  Almost nobody watching the game understands what’s going on in the game, other than there is a quarterback and receivers. Rivalries, quests, comebacks (the kinds of human stories that make all sports great) are invented out of whole cloth, exaggerated, repeated constantly; although I have no doubt the game is still real, and brutal, and not pre-determined, one can’t help but feel the comparison to professional wrestling becoming more and more apt.  While the “stories” of sports are what really attract me, the stories in the NFL have become melodramatic soap operas.

I got one of my sports magazines in the mail a few days ago, and Peyton Manning was on the cover (despite it being the NFL off-season and an intense moment in the NBA and NHL seasons) and all I could think to myself was, why wouldn’t they put a real athlete on the cover?  Now, I’m sure Mr. Manning is really a very gifted athlete, but the game he plays no longer evokes within me a thought of epic sports possibilities; it just makes me think about what absolute inane bullshit has been crafted around him.  I just don’t have time for it anymore.

*two caveats, and judge me all you want: if it looks like the Eagles might make a deep playoff run, I’m back in.  It’s hypocrisy but I don’t care.  Also Karla bought me a sweet Eagles hoodie early in our relationship.  It has sentimental value and is a really great hoodie.  I will continue to wear this.

4 Responses to “I Am Henceforth No Longer Paying Attention to Professional Football*”

  1. I like your reasoning, but I am still in!

    • sethdellinger Says:

      I know Momma–I know you’ve been really into it lately and I was sad to decide this because of that; it was great to be able to connect with you over it! If the Eagles are great I will hop back in with you :)

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