Yes I am less of a fan today, mainly because like many things today, Social Media has ruined the escape from work, money worries, family dynamics, etc, etc. Football has always been a pleasant diversion—not an escape. Not anymore.
Struggling to Be a Football Fan on Super Bowl Sunday - The Atlantic
Players tweet and post on Instagram and Facebook. I have enough drama in my own life. Your discussion really strikes a cord with me. I, too, have a low-grade, gnawing, general revulsion for football this fall. I have wonderful, cherished memories of going to RFK with my father.
Yet Snyder remains committed to a version of the story that the name somehow honors Native Americans instead of insults them. A Wall Street Journal study in determined that actual plays took a total of 11 minutes per game.
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I prefer to watch a rugby match, since it involves little downtime, or spend my time doing something else. Also, soccer is two hours vs 3. Most of NFL is standing around. At that point, I no longer liked how the game made me feel. A loss by my team was debilitating and winning streaks resulted in adrenaline filled obsession. It almost felt like a drug addiction. I found that rule changes that favored passing over a more balanced attack created a ridiculous dynamic where a high quality QB was essential to success. It seems wrong that a game with 53 players would rely so heavily on one player.
A torn ACL and the season was lost. The traumatic brain injuries are the worst, but the game in general has become irritating to watch. Now, we are faced with two long huddles on either side of the ball, plus a referee huddle nearly every other play while they try to figure out why flags were thrown and what to do about it and how to explain it to the assembled multitude. This last huddle is not constrained by the second clock. I have a strong memory of the head ref in my day grabbing the QB by his shoulder pads because he was confused about accepting or rejecting a penalty.
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The ref screamed he was cutting into playing time and no further delay would be accepted. I think the QB had wasted about three seconds. Finally, in a worthy effort to reduce injuries, the rules have become so complex as to be unenforcible in a consistent manner. Offensive pass interference is clear enough in the rule book, but watch how it is called or not called! In the interest of protecting the QB, intentional grounding went away, then came back with the addition of something having to do with the relationship between the QB and tackles, as if the guys in stripes could remember where the tackles, lined up after the ball is snapped and the man melee begins.
Readers defended the game here , and there are a few more defenses to come. This is far from the only time when the NFL came at a big cost to taxpayers and an enormous gain for team owners. Many Atlantic readers are outraged by the trend, including Lori:. My disgust started with the school systems of Chandler, AZ, and Cincinnati suffering so those municipalities can make their bond payments on stadiums that sit empty for days a year. Speaking of the Rams, how does the city of St. Louis feel as it watches in horror as the NFL has ripped their financial hearts out for the second time in the last 30 years?
The main reason I have given up is that as much as I love the game of football, I cannot stomach the wretched excess that is the National Football League. I am very familiar with the struggles of my Cleveland Browns. I, however, feel that though the helmet and name is the same, these are not my Browns. I always use the analogy that the original Browns are our mom while the new Browns are the woman who married your father. I am not blaming the NFL for the fact the team sucks.
They have made bad decisions and had some bad luck. Louis, we got off easy. But this is not the litany of an unhappy Browns fan. Specifically, my main issue with the NFL is their frequent and repeated habit of holding cities ransom for new stadiums. Trust me, cities like Cleveland cannot economically justify having a professional football stadium when their schools are struggling and their infrastructure needs attention.
Yet time after time, elected officials and voters are forced to prioritize a game over other pressing matters. All of that was paid for by the Cuyahoga County taxpayers every time they buy alcohol or a tobacco product. But no elected official wants to be the guy who lost the Browns. The mayor who did lose the Browns was only redeemed because he got an expansion team. But St. Louis just lost their team because their owner created a better deal for himself elsewhere. The Oakland fans are likely to lose their team again. Do they deserve to? No, but Oakland cannot afford to build a billion dollar stadium and then just hand it over to the Raiders owner.
Does the NFL care? They can afford to because there is a virtually insatiable appetite for football. And there must always be a city to use as a threat for relocation so current cities give the teams whatever they want. People want their football and are willing to excuse a lot to have it. It does as it pleases, and the only thing that matters to them is that each of their games get played.
If a player is no longer of value, he can be easily replaced. There was a disturbingly familiar story in the news today: a football player, this time from the University of Southern California, was charged with raping a woman who was unconscious. Stories of violence against women are pervasive among athletes, and many of those cases have happened in the NFL.
To be sure, rape and domestic violence is not limited to football. In July, the Chicago Cubs acquired ace pitcher Aroldis Chapman to help lead them to the World Series, despite his troubling history of pushing and choking his wife. Many of our readers have abandoned football for that reason. I started watching football in law school in because the complex rules fascinated me, the team was doing really well, and Steve Young and Jerry Rice were just plain fun to watch.
When the press began reporting on traumatic brain injuries among NFL players, I felt increasingly uncomfortable with the game. The final straw for me was a string of horrific domestic violence incidents, including the arrest of Ray McDonald. There is no question I watch football far less than I used to. I went from an avid, every-game viewer Sunday, Monday night, etc to a few games a season, if that.
But not because of the concussions, although those do not help. Frankly, I have grown tired of watching the violence that they, the players, perpetuate against women while everyone turns a blind eye. If caught, they are slapped on the wrist and are still paid millions. This cult of celebrity worship starts in high school, where we tune in to watch where highly rated prospects are going to college. These same high school students can rape a girl and post it to social media and be out of jail in a few years if not months, as we saw in Steubenville, Ohio. How much misconduct must we hear of while they are in college, only to get the big contracts every time when drafted?
So, no. I have a hard time supporting a league that cares little for anything except its money.
Only until Ray Rice came along was anyone punished with any significance, and even now there are rumblings he might get a second chance. Of course he will. This is the NFL after all. I first fell in love with football when Baltimore was swept with Ravens fever in , when I was in elementary school. I can still name almost all of the starters on defense from that team, jersey numbers included. Once I was hooked, my dad used to pick me up early from Hebrew school on Sundays to go down to the stadium until I was old enough that I thought waking up at 9am for a game was way too early.
My relationship with the Ravens took a huge hit in fall of But it was the ensuing domino affect in the front office and NFL headquarters that left me questioning how I could support a team and sport that view women as nothing more than a blank check. Not only did I stop rooting for the Ravens, I began to root against them—when I even bothered to watch games.
Since my breakup, I have taken the Miami Dolphins as 1 team, since my mom grew up in South Florida rooting them on. Luckily, with my goal to not pay attention to the NFL, the Dolphins are such a disappointment that they make it easy. Growing up in Minnesota, we bleed purple and gold. But after what Adrian Peterson did [ physically abuse his 4-year-old son ], I cannot cheer for him without my stomach churning.
Does that make me a bad Vikings fan or worse, a bad Minnesotan? Do we have to check our morals in the name of hometown pride? Sometimes I feel like I am doing just that. I am hesitant to bring up these frustrations about the NFL to my male friends as I am fearful it will be misconstrued as weak or overly feminine. I have had to fight tooth and nail just to be taken seriously during draft day. It is becoming painful to be an NFL fan as a woman and I wish more people cared about these issues, especially men. But it seems no one is interested and that break my heart.
I live in Western Pennsylvania, so in addition to concerns about concussions, I have witnessed two separate off-the-field scandals that have really soured me. I am a Baylor alum. Over the past year, as we have learned more about the sexual assault scandal that the football team was a part of, I lost any remaining ability I had to compartmentalize the joy I got while watching football apart from the real world consequences that often accompany it.
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Baylor wanted a winning football program and part of the cost of that was the victimhood of multiple young women who were students there. That is something that I will never be able to unlearn. Beyond such off-the-field violence and on-the-field head injuries— discussed here by readers —have other issues drawn you away from football? The vast majority of readers who have emailed so far have abandoned their football fandom— namely because of the brain injuries —but there are some notable exceptions.
I am a graduate student in the biological sciences and definitely consider myself a football fan. Yes, this results in the cognitive dissonance you might expect. I now understand how you can see the preponderance of scientific evidence and not want to believe it. I also think hope? One reason is because I have been a college football fanatic for most of my life and I still attend Wisconsin Badger games with my father when we can.
As I began to research the subject further and further, it became harder to ignore the issue, and I have at times questioned whether my choice to remain a fan is right or not. One, I cling to what may be the false hope that one day, the game will be made safer, whether through rule changes or technological progression that makes it safer and easier for an individual to absorb a hit such as a stronger helmet. As colleges began to cancel their football programs, the death of the game seemed all but inevitable.
However, through rule changes such as the legalization of the forward pass , the game was not only made safer, but was made, in my opinion, better. Two, there is no such thing as a concussion-free sport. I believe that boxing, MMA, and rugby are all far more violent than American football is, concussions and all.
What about sports like soccer and basketball? What about baseball? Well, believe it or not, an individual can, and athletes often do, receive concussions from those sports as well. So, if one wants to watch sports knowing that the players are largely safe from concussions, I recommend golf.
These players choose to play the game, in spite of its infamous connection to head trauma. I understand that freedom of choice has its limits; I would not, for example, allow individuals to participate in gladiator duels for my own amusement. Reasonable people could disagree, but those are my beliefs. I want to quickly note that my ability to watch football does not extend from a lack of empathy. I actually enjoy watching rugby, but I am simply unable to because of the fact that I almost feel the pain that stems from those unprotected hits.
Michael argues that stronger helmets may help, but helmets actually have very little to do with these concussions, as we reported earlier this year. Ironically, better helmets — which make fractures nearly impossible — actually cause more concussions, indirectly, because players are emboldened to hit each other harder at faster speeds. Several readers, like Michael, argue that these football players are adults, after all, who can make their own choices. I continue to watch because I understand that these players know the risks, but they play on anyway.
Boxers know the risks, but they box anyway. Race car drivers know the risks, but they race anyway. Hockey players know the risks, but they play anyway. Should the NFL be treated any differently than any other sport that carries with it the risk of injury?
Second, even assuming the players are participating under fully informed consent, there is still collateral damage. Ray Rice. Junior Seau. Steve Gleason. Another reader, Noah, refutes an argument made in the Malcolm Gladwell essay we referenced in a previous note :. Football has always been a violent, dangerous game that offers boundless prosperity to a highly select few and ruin to many, but fond memories and enjoyment to most.
It might be said that life itself administers a similar distribution of results. Football players know there is great risk, but they also know that they have the opportunity to live like kings, if only for a few years, and if only in their own domain. That risk is central to both the pride of playing the game and the fascination we have in watching it. Gladwell is largely correct to point out that such a harsh payoff structure can only appeal to people from poorer upbringings.
He and other football-haters seem to forget that players of all backgrounds make a conscious and by this point in time, at least well-informed choice to continue playing the game. There may be loads of research about harmful effects of repeated hits to the head, but for some fans the love of the game outweighs the negatives. Tyler writes:. I like to have my cake and eat it too.
I complain about how college athletes are treated, about how terrible NFL owners are, about how scary CTE is, and how terrible ESPN and the Hot Take industry is, and then promptly sit down and watch hours and hours of awesome football. I guess my fondness of the sport trumps my empathy for the players. They essentially trade their physical and mental well-being for pride and large sums of cash. He writes:. It was a source of stability and comfort as I spent most of my early adulthood moving from job site to job site, living out of hotels and temporary rentals, rarely making anything other than the most shallow and fleeting of acquaintances and connections with my temporarily adopted geography du jour.
I know it is, at its heart, an amoral beast that chews human bodies up and spits them out in pursuit of nothing more or less than the almighty dollar.
It feels as much a part of me as my own left arm. For other former fans, corporate greed, domestic violence, and other issues have led them away from the sport. Permanent brain damage is a real concern that has driven many fans, like me, away from the game—something I broached yesterday with readers. One of them, Peter, shares my concern:. Count me in as a former fan. I grew up in Tennessee a committed Vols fan.
When the Titans moved in, I got on that train as well. A good portion of every Saturday and Sunday was dedicated to watching football. As a kid, I even had mini-pennants for each NFL team that I used to track the divisional standings on my bulletin boards. My disaffection for football was kind of a gradual thing. It started with the many things that annoyed me about the NFL: the cheap and breezy patriotism, the empty machismo, the absurd seriousness with which the coaches and league officials took themselves, the way players particularly running backs were treated like cannon fodder.
But the brain injury thing was really the final straw for me. The exploitation of the players could no longer be laid at the feet of the league or the NCAA; I was a participant too.
It made me feel like a monster just for watching. I quit cold turkey after the season. Last year was the first year I can remember that I did not watch a single football game. What surprised me the most was how little I missed it. There was so much more time to do other things! I also got really into soccer, which largely filled the sports hole that ditching football left. I like to tell people that I gave up football for futbol.
Hernandez has pleaded not guilty to murder for the June shooting death of Odin Lloyd, a semiprofessional football player who was dating the sister of Hernandez's fiancee. Hernandez was a professional football player make you feel that he is more likely to be guilty of the charges in this case than an individual that did not play football professionally would be?
It also asked whether the person is a Patriots fan; if so, for how long; whether he or she has attended a game and if so, how many. The questionnaire informs prospective jurors that the case will draw a high degree of media attention and that they will be barred from posting anything about the case on Facebook, Twitter or other social media or elsewhere online. Several questions focused on their familiarity with the case, ranging from never having heard about it to following it closely. It asked where they got their information, listing more than 50 media outlets, from the local Fall River News to the National Enquirer, as well as social media and other sources.
Judge Susan Garsh told prospective jurors before they completed the questionnaires that they still might be called as jurors if they had heard of the case or knew one of the witnesses. They were asked if they knew any of people listed as potential witnesses or others whose names might come up during trial, including Patriots coach Bill Belichick and team owner Robert Kraft. Potential jurors were also questioned about their feelings on race and ethnicity. It would mean the world to be able to meet some of the guys!
Thanks for your time. Jim: Hey Andy. As far as Titans players and staff, nothing has been announced, and it's probably doubtful for players since they'll be in game-week prep. Some Titan alumni may show up, too. So it's going to be a good meeting spot. Also, Stay tuned for more info, and follow me on Twitter jwyattsports. It should be fun. As for players, again your best bet there will likely be at the game. It seems that Mike Vrabel has really made a connection with the players.
They seem to be playing for not only themselves but for each other and for Vrabel. What do you attribute this to? Are the fans in Nashville buying into Vrabel yet? Jim: Hey Steven. I just think the players respect him because of his experience as a player, and a coach. And he relates well with them because of his past. His no-nonsense approach has been embraced by players, and the fans, who also love his aggressive style of coaching, and his brutally honest takes in pressers and radio and TV appearances.
Question: Hey Jim. Are there any gatherings for Titans fans prior to the Bills game? I know Buffalo parties pretty hard in the parking lot. Just want to make sure none of us get tossed through a folding table.
Strength in s if we gather up and titanup! Also, does the team set up any places to purchase merchandise? Tough to find any gear this far away from Nashville. Huge fans and would love to meet you. Email me if you have time to meet up! Jim: Hey Matthias. Just keep an eye out for groups of Titans fans in the parking lots around Ralph Wilson. Nothing organized as far as I know. Question: Hey Jim once again appreciated all the things that you and staff does to keep Titan fans informed and involved.
I have to 2 different questions. I thought he caught one in the playoffs against New England on Malcolm Butler. Which bring me to next question: Why are we paying Malcom Butler that much money and he is getting burnt on a TD almost every game this season? Wow in my opinion our DBs need to better on coverage not the one to be negative but they have to Titan UP!
I love the Titans! Jim: Hey Dale, Appreciate it. The game-winning TD pass vs the Eagles was the first regular season touchdown catch for Davis. And, he actually caught two in the playoffs last year vs. Question: Hi, Jim, first of all I want to apologize for the question I asked the first week about Mariota Why he did not keep playing with injured elbow like Aaron Rodgers did. I was angry and frustrated however your response and the time put me in my place.
Finally I would like to ask if the number of local fans in Tennessee has increased because I still see some empty seats in the local games. I hope soon to be able to go to Nissan Stadium to see a game there!!!
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