6 Things I Don’t (And Probably Never Will) Understand About Football

I love the idea of being a football fan. I admire the passion, dedication, and sometimes even the bold obnoxious intensity. There are more football fans than fans of any other sport in America. The Super Bowl is basically an American Holiday. I’m honestly surprised that the day after isn’t a recognized federal holiday (yet…). For many Americans, Super bowl celebrations are a bigger deal than Thanksgiving.

Football has kind of taken over Thanksgiving as well. I wish I could be part of crowd. Not being a fan is like having a gluten allergy at an Italian restaurant with a large group of people who don’t know what gluten is. They act like you owe them an explanation, but there isn’t one. You are missundaztood in a way only P!nk underztandz(See what I did there?).

It’s not that I’m one of those people who don’t enjoy sports. I love hockey (GO BRUINS!) and baseball (GO RED SOX! PLEASE DON’T SUCK THIS YEAR!). I’ve watched plenty of football games. I try to engage. I ask questions. I attempt to learn. But despite my efforts, I just can’t understand football. Here are six reasons why…

1. The Name. I know I’m far from being the first person to point this out. But really, it’s weird that we call it football. A football doesn’t exactly meet the criteria for a standard ball. A ball is supposed to be a sphere. You know, a circle, a shape, which does not contain any corners or points. The oblong shape with pointed sides should rule out classifying a football as a ball. Furthermore, the “ball” comes in contact with one’s foot very few times throughout the game. Wouldn’t it make more sense for soccer be called football? Oh wait…

2. The “Athletes”. Why are we calling those large obese men in spandex athletes? Let me get this straight… those guys, the ones who look kinda like a cobra digesting a goat, are undisputedly athletes. Yet society isn’t convinced that the cheerleaders doing back flips and front handsprings on the sidelines are athletes? Say what?? Not to mention, it seems like a growing number of players have serious issues abiding the law or being decent human beings…

3. Wings. Why wings? Who came up with that idea? This isn’t an attack on wings. I like wings. But why are they the go to food for football games? They’re messy, require a surface, and take more than an average amount of time and effort to eat. Couldn’t pulling apart a chicken wing be distracting? Putting one at risk of missing something? And if there’s a good play, I absolutely don’t want to high five or touch anyone who has been scarfing down wings. Even after a few packets of wet naps or a trip to the bathroom, that person’s hands are probably still lightly coated with chicken grease. Eww!

I get that football wanted to have a food association like baseball and hot dogs. However, hot dogs are low maintenance. They don’t require a surface, generally are not messy (unless you’re that guy who drowns his hotdog with every sloppy gloopy topping… then you might have problems), and no dissection involved. So again, I ask… wings?

4. The Terminology. Downs? First and (or is it “in”) Ten? Red zone? What’s a down? Ten of what? Why is there a guy running around with a flagpole tethered to the end zone? He’s measuring a down? There must be a better system to for that. Where is the red zone? The field looks green to me. And the positions! In hockey, a goalie tends the goal. The center is the guy in the center of the offensive line. The guy to his right is the right wing. The guy to the center’s left is the left wing.

In baseball the pitcher pitches the ball to the batter who tries to hit the ball with a bat. If the batter misses then the catcher, positioned close behind, catches it. Of course there are a small number of position that may require some explanation, i.e. shortstop. For the most part it’s pretty straightforward. Terms like quarterback, cornerback, or safety give no hints as to the function of the role.

5. The Rules. I’m not going to pretend I know even the most basic rules. Except this one: If it’s raining, snowing, sunny, hot, cold, day or night and a player catches the ball from the south while looking off to the east, then we must review the play at least fifteen times, before deciding to make whichever call that will lead to fans angrily throwing things. As I mentioned, I’m not too familiar with most of the rules.

However, I do know that there are tons of rules and penalties based on how players fall and which body parts contact the ground first. Sure, there are tons of rules in every sport. But the rules in football just seem bazaar. Why does it matter if Eli Manning’s face grazed Tom Brady’s ass while Shrek – I mean, a line backer- was tackling him? In my personal opinion, football would be far more interesting if Shrek was somehow involved.

6. Nothing happens. Part of the reason why I can’t follow the action in football, is because of the lack of action in football. The countless interruptions for commercials and stopping to review plays, kicks my ADD into overdrive. They’re stopping… again? Oh it’s just a false start. So that means it’s just a simple redo, right? Wait no… there is something else going on? Rex Ryan looks pissssssed! Tom Brady is pacing. The refs look confused. While they are sorting this out I’m just going to check my e-mail. No way. Season 3 of American Horror Story is now streaming on Netflix!

No. Stay focused. Back to the game. Ugh… looks like they are still figuring it out- Oh now we have a commercial break. Hmmm. Maybe I’ll just watch the beginning of the first episode…I’m somewhat amazed whenever I catch any kind of snapping, passing, running, or touch downing. It feels like a rare phenomena or something. Perhaps that’s part of the excitement? YAY something’s happening!

I know that many of my points can be applied to almost any other sport. I’m not trying to shit on football or the NFL. These are just my observations as a non-fan. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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