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Pro Football: Our National Passion, Obsession and Distraction

Professional football is a ten billion dollar enterprise. Ever wonder why it’s gotten so popular, and I mean really popular over the past twenty years?

There have been numerous articles written about the game’s relentless rise.  Of course a lot of its success has to do with the league’s brilliant marketing. But there are cultural reasons as well for its ascension as football has now surpassed baseball as our national past time. Sounds like fodder for another tasty Guy’s Guy post. So, in no particular order, here is your Guy’s Guys Guide to Pro Football.

1. The game is built for television.

From left to right or right to left, it doesn’t matter. The teams keep moving back and forth across your set. Unlike baseball, the game is played horizontally across your giant 62’’ LED screen, making it easy on the eyes and simple to track along the ten-yard markers. The game is easy to watch and understand the basics, like ten yards for a first down, six points for a touchdown, an extra point or a field goal. Okay, the scoring is a bit more complicated than soccer or hockey, but it’s fairly straightforward stuff. And it’s got lots of hard-hitting, violent collisions which audiences love.

2. Women like football.

Over 50 million women watched the big game. That’s more than the Oscars. Amazing, when you think about it, how bad can it be for women to soak in well-built athletes strutting their stuff in tight uniforms. And the female fan has not gone unnoticed by marketers. They have come out with plenty of cute fashion designs using team logos. Plus the game is fun and full of energy, and frankly it’s not a bad idea to be able to jaw a little football with the guys around the water cooler.

3. The pageantry.  The game features an array of constantly changing uniform designs and colors. Every year there is a smattering of new logos, hat designs, color schemes and merchandise all designed for the fans purchasing and wearing pleasure. And it is big business. This year we’ve seen an explosion of baseball style caps embellished with pro football logos. They’re everywhere and I have to admit that they are pretty cool.

4. Fantasy football. Pro football has wisely unlocked and embraced this treasure trove of fan involvement, social media connectivity and ongoing consumer discussion about the brand. Drafting and managing your own team on a weekly basis is fun and challenging. There are now weekly and daily cable and radio shows devoted purely to fantasy football. Oh, did I forget to mention that women now make up over twenty percent of participants in fantasy leagues?

5. Ubiquity. It used to be games were on Sunday at 1pm and 4pm, and viewing was primarily limited to local teams. Now we have pro games every Thursday, three or four every Sunday and the now traditional Monday night tilt. Once we get to December there will be a sprinkling of Saturday games also. That’s a lot of pro football to digest.

Notice that I did not even touch on the highly popular and numerous college football leagues, plus high school and Pee Wee leagues all over this country. Face it, for better or for worse, this country puts a lot of focus on football. Maybe it’s too much of a distraction from all of our real issues and problems or maybe it’s the right tonic to give us all a short break from our stressful modern lives. Every way, it’s probably getting close to kick off time, so thanks for reading.

Is America too crazy for football or is the game a healthy national obsession?

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is Nick Foles; a back up QB in Philadelphia who recently started and threw seven touchdown passes in one game. Hope you had him starting for your fantasy team!