America’s Football Obsession

Today is the occurrence of the first Iowa vs. Iowa state college football game, and fans across the state of Iowa are going insane.  It is currently 5:04 p.m, in the fourth quarter of the game, and Iowa is trailing Iowa State by six points.  From my television set, the roar of the crowd seems unbelievably raucous.  Obviously, there is a crapload of blood-boiling happening over this football game.  I just don’t understand it.  Why is there so much obsession over handegg?  Woops, I mean, why is there so much obsession over American football?  American football TV ratings, especially for the Super Bowl, always manage to astound me.  Just look at the cost of airing one 30-second commercial on T.V. during the Super Bowl in 2009 – three million dollars.  THREE.  MILLION.  DOLLARS.  (TV By the Numbers, Zap2It.com.)  It doesn’t add up to me.  Watching humans tackle each other over a boiled pigskin, to me, is no different than watching bears butt heads or seeing dogs bite one another to death.  It’s disgusting, immature, and immoral, at least in my own opinion.

Particularly concerning to me are the amounts of injuries and concussions sustained during football games, in high school, college, and professional outings.  A particular 2000 study on concussions found that more than sixty percent of NFL football players had suffered a concussion in their lifetime, and about twenty-six percent of all NFL football players had suffered three or more.  This is very disturbing to me.  Why would one devote his life to something so dangerous and reckless?  An article from the New York Times describes the immediate effects of a brain concussion. “[The] violent shaking causes the brain cells to become depolarized and fire all their neurotransmitters at once in an unhealthy cascade, flooding the brain with chemicals and deadening certain receptors linked to learning and memory. The results often include confusion, blurred vision, memory loss, nausea and, sometimes, unconsciousness.” (New York Times, 2010)

Now, if one is going to tackle another person in such a wild, violent manner on the field, why not protect oneself from injury as much as possible?  Despite this logical thinking, the response has not been so.  Football helmets are hopelessly trailing behind the contact nature of modern American football.  As stated from the New York Times article: “Awareness of head injuries in football was heightened in October 2010 when helmet-first collisions caused the paralysis of a Rutgers University player, a concussion to Philadelphia Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson and injuries to three other N.F.L. players.“.  (New York Times, 2010)

So, what is it?  Is it the stadium lights?  Is it the delicious-smelling hotdogs?  Is it the sweat cascading down the faces of the players on the field?  Is it the joy of seeing a fantastic catch?  Is it the sound of bones crunching, of bodies crumpling, of brains reeling?  It’s a tough argument to convince me of the worth of American football.  Well, my rant is just about over, and I suppose this is the end.  No worries – I’d rather watch the Big Bang Theory anyways.

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