By Kevin Kilgarriff
I’ve always been a pretty typical football fan. Which is to say that I prefer that my Sundays look like this…
“Dude, we are totally doing this every Sunday for the rest of our lives!”
But I’m also a husband and a father. Which means that normally my Sundays look something more like this…
“Just eight more piles and then maybe I catch the end of the game…if it goes into overtime.”
Football is an amazing game to watch. Each week 32 teams face off against each other in the types of battles that 73% of the men in the country only wish they could take part. 55% of the women in the country watch too! It closes the gender gap! So what if some of those girls are only watching to make their boyfriends think they’re a cool girlfriend, only to turn the tables after they’re married?
“Sure sweetie! This is exactly what marriage is going to be like for us! Of course we’ll always watch the games together!”
Regardless of who’s watching and why, the fact is that these guys go out there and beat the crap out of each other for 60 minutes. Slamming each other into the ground. Trying to tear each other’s heads off. And sometimes nearly succeeding. And sometimes, in between all of this, we get to see some spectacular plays
Injuries will sometimes occur, and sometimes they’re pretty harsh. Concussions run rampant. Neck injuries aren’t uncommon. And the scene below is one that we’ll often see when a player is lying flat on his back with a trainer looking over him.
When their heads are bowed down, they can’t even see what color the other jerseys are, which is why is doesn’t matter.
What that image portrays is players from different teams realizing it’s a human being lying on the ground over there, not a just a competitor or a teammate. There’s usually a hush that falls upon the crowd too. Everyone is silent waiting to see if this man, who was just playing the game of football, is ok. It is only a game right? It would be terrible to see someone sustain a life changing or life threatening injury because of a game.
And then cheers erupt from the crowd when the person is carted off of the field, usually to show their support.
Sorry, Michael Irvin. We thought you were Santa Clause.
Players do the same. Players from both teams walk over and offer and handshake to show their respect for their teammate or competitor.
Football is certainly a big money business. But is it worth the risk of brain injury or paralysis? Wellopinions differ on that. But regardless, at the end of every game, you’re going to see one thing always happen. At the end of each game, the players meet at midfield shaking hands.
Despite the fact that these men are viciously fighting it out on the field, they’re meeting after the game and chatting. They’re hugging. They’re wishing each other good luck in the rest of the season.
These guys know each other! Former teammates. Former roommates. They went to college together. They train together in the off-season. They’re friends! Sometimes they’re even family!
So when these men are battling it out on the field, and risking injury, they’re still doing it with a sense of respect. They aren’t trying to hurt each other (usually). But they know there is a risk of it.
So then what is the difference between being on the field and being in the stands? Well in some cases the difference is greater than you’d think. Many times fans don’t show the same kind of respect to opposing fans that the players show to each other. It seems more and more frequent that we’re hearing about fights breaking out between hometown fans and the fans of visiting teams. And it’s often ending with the visiting fans ending up badly hurt.
While the men on the field realize it’s a game, and respect each other. The fans take it to a much higher level. Some fans live and die by “their” team. They don’t play for the team. They don’t work for the team. They just live in the city that the team represents. They have followed that team all of their lives. For them, when that team loses, it’s personal. And if a fan of another team comes into “their” stadium, and God forbid wearing another team’s jersey, well things just might get ugly.
Why do we do this? Will it really change anything for me if the Eagles don’t make the playoffs this year? No, it won’t! And that’s not just because I’m used to them not making the playoffs. If they win the Super Bowl (not likely) it won’t change my life at all either. I can be happy or sad about how they do on any given Sunday. But it’s entertainment! It’s not going to have any direct effect on my life…unless I allow it to.
I’ll still have to get up and go to work the next morning. I’ll still have my family with me to live my life with. I’ll still need to put out the trash. And I’ll still need to shovel the snow from the front drive (and that will still suck!). None of that will change if “my” team wins or loses.
So why then do people decide that violence is an acceptable way to show support? The guy in the video below a woman! He punched a WOMAN! What is wrong with people?!
Yes, I know that we typically see stories the day after these incidents condemning their actions, blah, blah, blah. Well guess what, a story that runs after the fact does nothing for the person that just paid good money to support their team and got pummeled in return. This needs to be something that is stopped before it happens.
Here’s another fight that occurred at a 49ers – Raiders game.
I’m sure that guy framed his mug shot for posterity. Enjoy not watching the game!
That may help solve the problem. And I’m not even sure if it’s the NFL’s problem to solve. But certainly one thing would help to end it. Curbing alcohol consumption at the games. I would have to imagine that if you looked into every instance of fan violence most of them, if not all, would be fueled by alcohol. Fans are tailgating for hours before the game and then grabbing more beers when they get inside the stadium. By the time these incidents occur, these guys are more than half in the bag. They’re heads are in the bottom of the bag and only their feet are sticking out of the top.
Now will we ever see the NFL stop tailgating or beer sales? No. Nor should we! It’s a big part of the celebration of Football, and I get that! If I go to a game, I’m going to tailgate! But people need to be responsible for their own actions. If you become an idiot when you drink, then don’t drink. If you can’t go to a football game without it ending with you pouring a beer on a fan because she’s wearing a Redskins Jersey stay home!
The bottom line is that people need to stop being idiots. Have you ever seen someone beat the crap out of a fellow moviegoer because they felt that George Clooney should have gotten the girl in the end? No, because George Clooney always gets the girl in the end. But also because it’s just entertainment.
“That’s right, I always get the girl. “Hi, I’m George Clooney” is my best pick up line.”
The same goes for football. It’s just entertainment, and taking it any further than that is too far. Life is more important than the outcome of a football game and people also deserve respect for having the courage to walk into another stadium to root for their team, or their family member! Cut the crap and act like adults.
But, I’ll tell you what, let’s end this thing on a happy note. Here’s the famous NFL Bad Lip Reading video. If you haven’t seen it, it’s a must watch. I accept you. Enjoy!