The sport of football boasts fans in almost every home across the United States of America. There are even fans of football in other countries. Many do not understand why this is; they believe football, and many other sports, are meaningless pursuits that will not amount to anything. They believe the people partaking in such a sport are simply wasting their time. However, if one bothers to look deeper, football is not a trivial waste of time. Football gives people something to look forward to, as well as something to celebrate. More importantly, football can be something that saves people, and it can be something that brings people together. It is for these reasons that football is a popular sport.
You hear the faint rumblings of fans, as summer begins to end and the leaves begin to turn. The first game of the season is played in September, and the crowds can hardly wait to begin showing their allegiance to their favorite team. Since the previous year’s Superbowl, many people have lived in a quiet slumber, awaiting the day that the season begins again. Finally, when it arrives, their excitement can hardly be contained. The season means weekly meetings with friends who may have lost contact, Fantasy Football, tailgating, triumphant wins, and crushing losses. Football is popular because people enjoy having something to look forward to, something that breaks up the monotony of everyday life.
While the previous example of why football is so popular may seem pointless, the fact that it has saved many people from alternatively bad routes in life is not pointless at all. Take Richard Sherman, for example. In Ben Sphigel’s article, “Seahawks’ Richard Sherman is Much More Than Just Talk,” the young pro-baller’s history is recapped . IN the article, Sphigel documents that Sherman has rough beginnings, growing up in Compton, while attending a high school that had a lower than 50% graduation rate. With odds like that, nobody would suspect that Sherman would graduate. However, because he found football in high school, he was motivated to avoid gang violence and work diligently at school. He took his courses so seriously that he graduated Salutatorian with a 4.2 grade point average . When most young men his age were dodging child support payments or the police, Sherman was leaving to attend Stanford, to play for their football team. While there, he once again set his sights on high grades in order to continue playing vigorously on the field. He gained enough notice on the field to be picked up in the draft, where he signed with the Seattle Seahawks. Now, at the age of 24, he is a Superbowl Champion, all his love of football motivated him to stay out of trouble and avoid a life that otherwise would have been his. People hear stories like this and realize that football is not just a sport; they want to be a part of something so powerful that it can change the course of an individual’s life.
Another reason football is so popular is because it has the power to bring people together. Of course, it unites the teams, and the fans of certain teams. However, there are certain moments that come along, that unite every fan of football, because the moment is so intense and unbelievable. One such instance was when the Giants defeated the Patriots in Superbowl XLII, in 2007. Judy Battista’s article, published in the New York Times documents how the New York Giants were the admitted underdog for the season, with a point differential +315, having won their division by nine games. The New England Patriots, on the other hand, had just come off a perfect season, looking to finish it out with a Superbowl win, which would have been one of two in football history at that point. It was like sending Tiny Tim into a Roman coliseum with a pack of hungry lions. The country watched, waiting for Eli Manning and company to have their heads handed to them. The game was relatively close the whole way through, which began to surprise everybody. The Giants were playing as they had not played the entire season. Finally, with 2:39 left on the clock, and New York only down by 4 points, “The Drive” began. Manning led the team through 12 plays, gaining 83 yards. He barely missed being sacked and through a nearly missed catch to David Tyree, who was somehow able to secure the ball against his helmet. The crowd was going wild as Manning launched the ball from his missile-like arm, into the hands of Plaxico Burress, who caught the touchdown on a fade route, managing to seal the win and creating one of the greatest moments in Superbowl history. During that day and moment, it did not matter who you were; everybody was a Giants fan. It is because of moments like these, when people see that football has the power to bring everybody together, that it becomes more popular. People want to connect and football allows many opportunities for that.
In sum, football is a popular sport, contrary to popular belief. During the season, it provides camaraderie and something to look forward to during their days. This helps break up monotonous schedules. Football also offers a way for individuals to better their lives and avoid bad circumstances that they otherwise would have fallen into, much like the story of Seattle’s Richard Sherman. Finally, football brings people together. Moments such as when the Giants beat the Patriots during Superbowl XLII provide a channel for people to connect, no matter whom they were rooting for a week ago. Though it may seem pointless to some people, football is undeniably popular, and for good reasons.
Battista, Judy. "Giants Beat Patriots in Final Rally." 5 February 2012. The new York Times. Electronic. 6 May 2014.
Sphigel, Ben. "Seahawks' Richard Sherman is Much More Than Just Talk." 14 January 2014. The New York Times. Electronic. 6 May 2014.