The Holidays & American Football?

If any of you did not know, I am a former collegiate, pro and semi-pro athlete. I played abroad in W. Africa, Europe, and South America as a futeboller, or footballer as they call it in many foreign countries, or a soccer player here. I come from athletic sports families on both sides, American sports to be precise. You might say that it is in our blood, in our American blood. I was and still am the only one in both families that ever played soccer collegiately and professionally here and abroad. Maybe your family is different over the holidays. Perhaps your family has a strong matriarch who doesn’t allow non-stop American football on TV’s during these special holiday times. I can’t say I would blame her.

Thanksgiving Football Pigskin Instead of Turkey DinnerThese two seasons of the year—autumn and winter—along with the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays (at least in Texas), in my two huge parental families of south Houston (near Galveston) and various small towns outside of Austin, were typically filled with large spreads of traditional holiday foods, that took massive amounts of time, effort, joking, laughter, and crews in the kitchens. Our holidays would also include friends who were in town and not travelling. Our enormous get-togethers also included games of dominoes, or cards, kids games outside, and most definitely any important football games on all the TV’s. American football games to clarify for my international readers and followers. In Texas, as in many parts of the U.S., football games have become a long-standing, enthusiastic (male?) tradition during the holidays. I dare say it is a must with many of the men and boys, and perhaps with certain female personality-types in the families. Would my American readers agree?

Over the last 10, 15, or 20-years this American family past-time has changed. It has evolved into a very different sort of “game” now, particularly on the TV. Have you noticed how much the NFL or NCAA D1 games have changed? For that matter, have you noticed how the NBA, MLB, along with the NFL—the three major sports in the U.S.—have changed the last 2-3 decades?

Over many, many holidays I have often found myself in a discussion or debate with cousins, uncles (mostly), and a gazillion friends—American friends—as to what sport is the “best” sport, the “most popular” sport, the “most enjoyable” sport, and/or the “richest” sport in the world. Richest often seemed to be a leading criteria for “best” or “most popular.” That always puzzled me. I am sad to say to my international readers and Followers that many/most Americans, definitely with my own family members, are infatuated with the misconception, the misnomer that the American NFL, NCAA D1, basketball, and baseball are not only the best, most popular sports in the entire world, they also believe America’s three major sports (NFL, NBA, and MLB) are the richest sports leagues in the entire world… and in their vivid imaginations, for good reasons.

Depending how one analyzes these “accolades,” in some ways they are correct. But in at least two ways they are misguided. Attempting to demonstrate and explain why they are sometimes grossly astray with their American sporting fantasy can be similar to teaching a grizzly bear to stay away from the hive of honey. 🙄 (face-palm, que Winnie the Pooh’s “Oh bother!”)

Time out! Throw the red challenge-flag onto the turf! Who is right and who is wrong? Let’s examine today’s evidence.

According to Howmuch.net, who measures financial information across various economic sectors, the American NFL generated $13-billion in revenues in the 2015-2016 season. The MLB, with a more international appeal, drew $9.5-billion in the same year.

sports-leagues-by-revenue-July2016Yes, four of the top five sports are in North America, a fact American sports fans proudly boast to foreign sports fans. But is it a monetary fact to freely boast about? From the standpoint of  entertainment-value is American football really worthy of endless boasting?

I am surrounded, no… I am smothered by guys (and a handful of women) who explicitly and implicitly talk, watch, cheer, cry, angrily scream, then talk twice as long post-game about their team and how American football, both collegiate and in the NFL, are the greatest games played on planet Earth. I challenge them with questions and facts about other highly popular sports around the world, but when a national past-time is so deeply and emotionally ingrained into a person’s heart and mind—exactly like religious fervor, ironically—no matter the facts and evidence, it cannot sway or change the person’s electrified conviction!

There is a big, yet not-so-blatant reason why the NFL runs away with any revenue-profit comparisons. The highly lucrative business of American football’s top spot rests on its gullible spending fan-base. Case and point:

Anyone who has ever tuned into an NFL broadcast knows that plenty of air time is spent showing players huddling, coaches yelling, and fans cheering. That’s because while the on-field action can be exciting, it’s usually short-lived. In fact, according to a 2010 Wall Street Journal study of four football broadcasts, the ball was only in play for an average of 10 minutes and 43 seconds — approximately 4 seconds per play — even though an NFL telecast lasts about three hours.
11 Minutes of Action, Curiosity.com, accessed Dec. 2, 2018

What is it that fanatical American football supporters are ACTUALLY watching? With an excessive amount of game interruptions, from video-reviews to player injuries to intentional league stoppages for TV sponsors, there are countless game stoppages and commercials!

[Commercials] demand about an hour of airtime. Replays take about 17 minutes, footage of cheerleaders command about 3 seconds, and shots of players standing around make up an average of 67 minutes, according to WSJ. Despite this minimal action, football viewership is in the millions. According to Fortune, more than 111 million people tuned in to the 2017 Super Bowl.
11 Minutes of Action, Curiosity.com, accessed Dec. 2, 2018

NFL_1It begs the question, is watching over an hour of corporate sales and marketing strategies, team fans acting bonkers getting in front of cameras, and players standing around with very little game-action happening, really something to boast about? Isn’t that what those corporate sponsors and the NFL want you to do for them? One way or another all they want from you is to open up your pocket-book repeatedly, directly or indirectly, every single season. It’s what makes the league and owners richer and richer while corporate businesses get in front of your face. Is it any shocking mystery why the NFL and other N. American sports leagues are so filthy rich? And what sort of return-on-investment do the fans get? Granted, there are many charities the leagues donate to and support like the “My Cause, My Cleats,” a three-week campaign. Those are outstanding causes and always needed; no argument there. But these sorts of charities are done every season by the majority of all sports leagues around the world. It’s nothing new. Consider this, from a playing-time standpoint have American football fans really analyzed how much time and energy they are spending in front of those live televised games watching very little football-action?

Here’s another highly sensitive question about “supporting” the NFL:  How many times has the NFL allowed domestic abusers or civil law-breakers to continue playing in the league? Reuben Foster and Kareem Hunt are only the most recent in a long, long, long list of players given “special privileges” to keep playing. Fans of American football probably do not want to hear/read all the actual statistics. Excessive money talks, excessive money is often above laws and civil human rights. Team owners and the NFL Commissioner certainly don’t want those facts overly publicized! It hurts their personal bank accounts. Yes, domestic abuse, drug abuse, etc, are not strictly a sports problem, it is a societal problem. However, sports is a huge revenue-generating part of most all civilized societies as any other business or public sector. Therefore, it should be firmly and fairly addressed ANYWHERE it rears its ugly head and correct precedents actualized.

Nonetheless, in the end I can honestly think of several, much better ways to spend my cherished holiday time with friends and family than glued to a TV-set of American Corporate football. Amazingly though, I am in the minority. Wow, riddle me that! (scratch head)

Do you have similar experiences with your family and friends during the holiday season? Do you agree, disagree with this post? What should the holiday season be about?

————

Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always — Watch Less NFL!

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49 thoughts on “The Holidays & American Football?

    • LOL… yes LoR, my schedule has become a bit more demanding lately — one is that I am working 2-3 nights a week for a Crisis (Suicide?) Hotline — and the holidays always get busy and crazy, ESPECIALLY when there are full moons when the Lunar-tics come out to play. 😉 😛

      I promise I’ve been intending to come over and visit. I’ll try harder Madame. ❤

      Liked by 2 people

        • Yes, sort of some under-grad in psychology and therapy. A bit of a story, but here’s the short-version.

          My Bachelor’s was in Humanities which was setup ideally for a Master’s at a nearby seminary in Jackson, MS and eventually a PhD at a few post-grad institutions. After my soccer career was coming to an end I began working at a Psych/A&D hospital — in their “Intake Office” of clinical & financial screening/admissions — while working on my Masters. Then two women entered my life, both became my wife/wives(?) 😄 at different times 😛 and later one of them the mother of my two kids. That’s half (two-thirds?) of the upcoming chaos which was looming those two years. My Dad committed suicide in July of 1990 and my entire world turned upside down. Two divorces followed, again at different times. :/

          I did not complete my Master’s in Marriage & Family Therapy, however, I am HEAVILY LOADED UP with direct experience (and education) in mental-health, psych, and addiction-rehab… to say the least. HAH! 🙄

          Liked by 2 people

        • Thank you. When you have a genuine empathetic side like I do, that sort of work can really drain you as well as invigorate you. You have to be able to manage it superbly, BUT… if you do not possess a drop of true empathy, you do NOT belong in the mental-health, psych, or A&D field. It demands way too much of its professionals and it is not for the insensitive or faint-hearted. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

        • Well, we all had to learn to crawl before wobbling ungracefully as little bipedal primates, didn’t we? So under-grad comes before the post-grad. Stating the obvious. LOL 😛 😉 Never forget that “they” are just as human as the next. Normal is extremely subjective!!! Right? Hahahahaha! 🤣

          Liked by 1 person

        • Those who come to us for help, for treatment, for rescue, for guidance, for a RETURN to some semblance of normalcy… humanity. The patients. “They” are still human and have valuable parts to share and give back to life and others in need. Kind of along the lines of Give it Forward. Know what I mean? My sister is a 45+ year addict and now psych-patient. She is often at her best when SHE is helping other addicts and not self-absorbed in herself and misery.

          Liked by 3 people

  1. RFLMAO!

    11 minutes of action!

    That’s almost as much as Manchester United are providing at the moment, and at least you lot get to perv some cheerleaders.
    All we’ve got to look at is Jurgen Klopp’s mobile teeth and Jose Mourinho’s rapidly thinning and graying hair.

    That said … I’ll take proper football any day.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Hahahahaha!!! Everything you’ve said Ark is true! True even from a game-action standpoint of 11-mins or worse when Mourinho is involved in ANY capacity! At least with our proper footballing, we only get the annoying, nauseating commercials during halftime.

      OMG, the difference between The Most Beautiful Game on the Planet (soccer!) and 11-mins of actual game-playing American football… is night and day! There is really no debate, except of course that the N. American leagues are in the richest country in the world. Duh! It’s no phenomenon at all. 🙄😏

      Liked by 3 people

      • Remember, also that, when you invent a sport and then go on to create a World Series, it is of paramount importance that until you have developed an entire infrastructure, including (one time) racially segregated leagues, and have been practicing for decades you are the only nation playing in said World Series.

        Yes, talk about throwing out a curved ball!

        Liked by 3 people

        • Bwahahahaha! YES! I have often (nicely) mocked Yankee fans, Red Sox fans, Cardinal fans, etc, when they’d scream World Champions. I’d ask, your team played the best team out of Japan too!? 😉 The same applies for basketball and even MORE SO with American football!!! Super Bowl? WHERE does the “super” come from!? Geeezzzz. 😒

          Liked by 1 person

        • I am not totally prejudice against NFL and have tried to watch a game … once.
          It was featured for a few seconds on an episode of Magnum PI.
          I preferred the Ferrari.
          I also watched Jerry Maguire.
          However, as much as I enjoy Al Pacino I passed on Any Given Sunday.

          It those guys with funny shaped balls that gets me.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. The holidays are a time to reaffirm our devout belief in Jesus Christ and in Christianity–the one and only true religion. I spend my holidays praying so hard I bleed from my forehead. Yes, I spend them thanking Jesus for being real and for curing the sick and for letting the Cubs win the World Series in 2016. Yes! That’s how I spend my holidays! Well, maybe not. Maybe I just made all that shit up cause I’m a smart-ass and being silly. Maybe. But that would be outta character for me. Merry Christmas, my friends! (Best part of the holidays is all the FOOD!!) $Amen$

    Liked by 5 people

    • Hahahaha!!! Jeff, if you and I were around holiday festivities with other friends and family, I am quite sure we’d find all sorts of mischief and mayhem to get into or instigate! And it would have NOTHING to do with the 11-minute NFL game(s)! 😛 😉

      Liked by 3 people

        • Yep. In fact, just last night with Monday Night Football, I checked this “study” or verifiable theory/fact(?) one more time… and guess what?

          I spent MORE TIME muting the TV or changing the channel over to a non-commercial station than I did watching ACTUAL football playing-time! It is now much worse than it ever was 15-20 years ago! Hands down. I challenge anyone to time it with a stop-watch. You’ll be SHOCKED how much corporate commercials you are watching than the actual game! Check it for yourself.

          Liked by 3 people

  3. That’s nothing. Test Cricket lasts five whole days. Within that, there are on average three minutes and eight seconds of action. All the rest is psychology. And ball polishing/tampering. That’s why it’s the best sport in the world.

    Liked by 3 people

      • Well, I may have exaggerated a bit, although I do think it’s one of the sports with the highest degrees of psychological ‘turbulence’ affecting the run of play, and which factor I think makes sport compelling in ways that technique, continuity-of-play, innovative tactics (and so on) alone cannot. You must know very well yourself, and have recognised it often on the field, when a team’s whole mood shifts into a different dynamic almost as if in a finger-snap, thus affecting the other team’s mood and effectivness?

        Liked by 2 people

        • Goodness! That is very intriguing! I wonder if there is a diagnosis in the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition) for that? Something perhaps called… Cognitive Cricketiatus Disruptive Disorder — 825.54!? 🤔🧐

          Liked by 2 people

        • So… (holding his mouth & ribs firmly but in futility)… so did the wickets(?)-jumper survive, get along? Did he later have children? I’m a bit naive/ignorant of Cricket my Dear Friend across the Pond. 😉

          Liked by 1 person

        • Both of his bails, his precious, rounded and delicate bails, remained firmly lodged in place, Professor; and of course his stump remained erect until, enfin, the umpire stuck his finger up.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Well, I was brought-up in something of a cricket-loving family, and my father was a member at Lords so I had access to all the internationals (such as five-day Test Matches), as well as to county matches (Middlesex C.C.), only stopping attending when he died and his membership lapsed (the waiting list for membership was around 20 years, and one has to be sponsored and seconded by existing members or have had an illustrious careeer of one’s own). He took me to The Oval (London’s other Test Match ground) when I was a nipper and that hooked me, along with spending Sundays watching dad play for the local club. At a high level it’s a particularly subtle sport, I think, much of which goes unnoticed to the passing observer, who sees not very much happening in a game that looks deceptively unsophicticated to boot. That said, the disciplines and subtle arts demanded by Test Cricket are slowly ebbing away as cricketing authorities chase TV money and bow to broadcater’s demands for smash-and-thrash ‘action’ cricket in one- and half-day formats. Really, I feel I’m living through the slow death of Test Cricket. I don’t know if JZ would agree?

          Liked by 1 person

  4. For many people, myself included, the “holidays” suck. It is a time of year when commercial exploitation runs rampant under the pretense of contrived religious mythology, and when dysfunctional families feel compelled to reunite even though they’d be much happier separated by light years of untraversable interstellar space. I also despise the mock pity cast upon more solitary people by the “good Christians” who are as hypocritical about the holiday season as is a Baptist minister in a brothel. I’m a Grinch, you say? Hell, yes! Baa humbug!

    American football? According to the World Atlas, it doesn’t even rank in the top 10 of the world’s most popular sports (see: https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/what-are-the-most-popular-sports-in-the-world.html). And, speaking of American sports, they have indeed changed greatly over the past few years. Before they were thoroughly corrupted by money, they were first and foremost sporting competitions promoting fair play and good sportsmanship (except boxing, of course) which secondarily provided entertainment. Now, American sports are purely profit-driven entertainment products where fair play and good sportsmanship are conveniently subordinated. Recently, a highly rated Monday Night Football game between the Los Angeles Rams and Kansas City Chiefs resulted in both teams scoring at least 50 points for the first time in league history. Fans were delighted. They said it was so exciting. I watched a few minutes of the debacle and just couldn’t take it anymore. If I had wanted to see a no-defense basketball game, I would’ve watched the NBA instead.

    How can you tell if an ex-NFL player has suffered traumatic brain injuries (i.e. chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE)? Ask him his name.

    End of rant. Happy Holidays, Professor! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hahahahaha! John, that is a wonderful description from the Man Down Under on leave in São Paulo, Brasil!!! One of my own biggest pet-peeve with American football is that ONE PLAYER (the Quarterback) touches the ball the MOST out of all 22-players on the field… making him the one most significant to heavily influence the game! This is not the case in soccer. All 11-players on a soccer/futebol team have to be elite if they are to win and succeed.

      Is it any wonder/mystery why the Am. football leagues now, especially the NFL, keep making rules to protect more and more the QB’s!? Yep! Why? Because fans come to the stadiums and watch games on the TV to see the celebrity, highly-paid best players — oh, and btw, it also protects the Owner’s and League’s revenues and bottom-lines. Today, defenses can BARELY touch any QB without getting horrendously penalized. It’s become overly ridiculous. 😒

      Liked by 4 people

      • In the late seventies/ eighties South Africa had one of the best rugby flyhalfs in the world – Naas Botha – who played for local rugby side Northern Transvaal (The Blue Bulls). He was a superb kicker of the ball and was often ridiculed for never getting his kit dirty, as he was (erroneously) considered almost untouchable.

        He spent one season in the NFL (can’t recall which team) and all he did was walk on and punt the ball between the goal posts.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I guess on the bright side at least in this one area Americans buy American. The discouraging part is yes, NFL makes the most money, but it’s not the biggest, nor the best. But try telling a cowboys or steelers fan about that.

    Liked by 4 people

    • It doesn’t work. Here in Jerryville, TX die-hard season ticket holders and fans STILL sellout the monstrosity called AT&T Stadium, Museum, and Art Bars every season since it opened in 2009. I guess that says that Cowboys fans have been content and are still content with mediocrity on the field, but super expensive tickets, snacks, beverages, and alcoholic drinks. A fan can EASILY slap-down over $400 per game for just 3 people!!! 😮

      Source:
      https://cowboyswire.usatoday.com/2017/09/29/dallas-cowboys-ticket-prices-price-of-a-game-att-stadium-fan-experience/

      Liked by 2 people

        • LMAO! 🤣 Ark, that is a GREAT POINT! I have been a proponent and verbal advocate for the last couple of decades for the legalization of prostitution in the U.S. primarily for two well established facts since the beginning of the human species:

          1) A marriage contract and ring on the finger does not stop a person from having and desiring sex from others who are not a spouse. Period! Never has, never will.

          2) One way or another we ALL “pay” for sex: dates, gifts, domiciles for cohabitation of relational activities, and the biggie… lavish weddings and honeymoons, etc, etc, etc.

          Let’s just stop the blatant hypocrisy already and let people f*ck-around like everybody deep down REALLY want to do! Stop the charade! 🙄😖 Hey, America! Here’s a novel idea… Legalize sex. 😝

          Liked by 3 people

  6. Great post. 🙂 I’ve lived in the U.S. my entire life and grew up a big sports fan, but I stopped watching North American football almost 30 years ago.

    I stopped watching professional baseball a long time ago, but I have to admit I love the actual game itself. I just hate the business. I watched a little in recent years and it’s changed so much I can’t enjoy it. And it’s business that destroyed the game. It’s all about homeruns and strikeouts – all or nothing. And selling tickets, of course.

    Basketball was the game I enjoyed watching most over the years, but about 8 years ago I stopped when I saw accolades (and awards) being given to the most spectacular players instead of the best. Offense was worshipped while defense was ignored. I grew up watching a team with five players who could shoot, pass, rebound and play defense. Again, it’s gone completely corporate. Capitalism is a plague that ruins everything it touches.

    Thanks for another intriguing post. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • Ashift, you are spot on about the MLB games today. My son, who is now 17 about to turn 18 years old, has been playing since his Tee-ball years and when he reached about 10 y/o in Little League (Minor & Major) he told me something quite revealing. He said out on the field he wanted to play 2nd-base, short-stop, or catcher, but none of the other positions. Why? He was BORED with all the other positions and hated the “pressure” of pitching. He didn’t like standing around so much in the outfield doing (essentially) nothing. He’s been a catcher ever since touching the ball a lot more, involved in the game almost as much as the pitcher. Once again, like Am. football, ONE POSITION heavily influences the entire game. And what position in the MLB receives some of the highest astronomical salaries compared to other field positions?

      Basketball, at least in the NBA, has very little defense because the league wants/needs scores that reach into the 100’s — that’s higher revenues! Defending against shooters has been made useless, unnecessary because if you breathe on them it’s a foul! Maybe even a technical foul! LOL 😄

      Yep, it is all about the money, the TV contracts, and in the U.S. outlandish scores which “feed” the insatiable money-monsters and the fans, the gullible fans who feed the entire rigged system/league.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Exactly. I have another observation to make regarding your son’s boredom with baseball and don’t think I’m being condescending at all. (I hope you’re not in a hurry, my mind jumps around quite a bit) 🤣

        For quite a while after I’d stopped watching baseball (the 1981 strike), I considered it boring. Basketball was my favorite sport to play and watch (handball was my next favorite to play) and I enjoyed watching hockey. I started watching baseball a bit starting around 1990, but didn’t get into it much. My wife is from Bolivia and we occasionally watched futbol, but only World Cup time. (We watch very little television) 😀

        My wife enjoyed making fun of baseball because of how slow and boring it is. I agreed with her for the most part, but started thinking about the subtleties of the game – the strategies at so many points which seem boring to those who don’t understand it. It’s similar to what Haroid Brawn was saying about test cricket. There is a mental battle during every at-bat between the pitcher and hitter. What pitch? Where in the strike zone? Will the batter “take” the pitch or swing away? Will he “go for the fences” or “hit it where they ain’t”? If there is a runner on base is he running with the pitch? How many outs there are, what the score is, what type of hitter is batting – these are all factors that create virtually endless possibilities.

        Now, regarding your son – and almost everyone under the age of 40 or so – patience and attention spans have changed drastically over the years. We’re conditioned to want action, in your face, high energy, spectacular plays! Obviously there’s nothing wrong with any of these things, but what made baseball a beautiful GAME for me was that it was relaxing yet you knew that almost anything could happen at any point in the game. It made the spectacular actually spectacular because it was an exception.

        I once saw three NY Yankees hit homeruns in consecutive at-bats and have seen them score more than ten runs in one inning. I once saw them losing 8-0 and score 8 runs in the last inning to send the game into extra innings. It was very exciting.

        In a pitching duel a homerun is spectacular, especially in the late innings. In a “slugfest” another homerun is no big deal. Also in a game that could seem so boring because one team can’t even get a hit we looked at it as a pitcher having a spectacular game, not something boring. A “no-hitter” was an amazing thing to see. The tension and excitement in the final inning of a no-hitter can give a person anxiety and be spectacular in a way that few games can do.

        When I played I was a center fielder. I loved it despite the fact that I might not touch the ball for a long stretch. You had to stay alert because the ball could go anywhere at any time. I enjoyed hitting a homerun, but loved throwing a perfect strike to the catcher or third baseman to get a runner out (something I was very good at). I wasn’t bored because I didn’t feel that I needed to be in the action all of the time. I followed every pitch and was guessing along with the batter and pitcher in that mini-battle that is every at-bat.

        I’m sorry to be rambling like this and especially for being boring – like baseball. 🤣 I hope I made my point. Also, most of what I’ve described about baseball has been taken away by the corporate parasites that destroy everything they get their greedy hands on. Today it’s hit a lot of homeruns and hope your team hits more than the other team. Very little strategy or subtlety.

        Thanks. Hope you made it to the end. 😂

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Maybe I’m biased but football (soccer) is the greatest and most beautiful game on the planet

    As for the holidays, it was a hectic one. Had to offer a prayer of thanksgiving to Yahweh both the christian and jew variety. Had to offer sacrifices to Ganesha in my makeshift shrine. Had to buy a prayer mat to offer prayers to Allah. Humbly begged Mahavira for his guidance. Payed homage to the Buddha and learnt how to carry out proper voodoo worship.
    I can’t afford to make a mistake and not thank the one true god

    Liked by 2 people

    • LMAO!!! 🤣 Wow Jonathan, talk about being pulled relentlessly in every direction, THAT just might take all the spiked eggnog out of the bowl!!! How on God’s, Yahweh’s, Allah’s, Brahma’s, etc, ad infinitum… green Earth did you keep your sanity!? 😮

      Liked by 2 people

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