Love it or hate it: Football

by David Holub

Love it

Yeah I know, head injuries, CTE, all that. Hating on football used to be more about snobby refinement or boredom with a silly, meaningless game. But now football haters have brain injuries and player welfare and science on their side. Loving football was never so difficult. Yet, I can’t help myself.

Sure, it’s an excuse for multinational corporations to shove lowest-common-denominator commercials down our inane gullets, but do not forget the fellas actually playing the game. Anytime you have the chance to see someone who is the best in the world do what they do and physical freaks of nature, take it.

The level of athleticism is astonishing. For a time, I covered high school football on Friday, college football Saturdays and NFL on Sunday. Watching high school kids – great athletes in their own right – was like watching a game in slow motion compared to the pros. The fastest NFL players are some of the fastest in the world. Positions once thought of as fat, slow guys – like defensive lineman, guys who are 250, 275 pounds – are now insanely fast and agile. Humans that large should not be able to move that quickly and gracefully.

But disregard athleticism altogether. The strategy involved, the film study, the psychological maneuvering, the complexity of modern offensive and defensive schemes and the analytic aptitude required in high-pressure moments on the field is all mind-boggling. In a Broncos game last season, Peyton Manning came to the line and, recognizing the particular defensive formation, he flashed receiver Wes Welker a discreet wave of the fingers, which told Welker to go this way instead of that on his route. The touchdown that resulted was way more intellectual than athletic in nature. That’s worth watching.

— David Holub

Hate it

I’ve experienced moments of mild interest in football over the years, centered primarily around brimming tables of hot wings, jalapeño poppers and cheesy Frito dip. Other than that, I’m basically bored to tears watching football, or even worse – listening to people TALK about football. For god’s sake … WHO CARES! It’s just so terribly boring.

My opinion about sports in general often falls somewhere along the lines of a quote by Amy Schumer in the film “Trainwreck,” where she admits, “No offense, I just think sports are stupid and anyone who likes them is just a lesser person.”

Super Bowl XXVVIIABCDEFG (which I believe translates to 2009 in the Roman numerical system) briefly caught my attention when the New Orleans Saints beat the ever-loving crap out of whoever the losers were. I figured the people of New Orleans needed a solid win after Katrina’s devastating blow in 2005, so in between clawfuls of fried things, I actually paid attention.

To date, it’s the only Super Bowl I’ve watched from beginning to end where I even developed a favorite player – Drew Brees – a real stand-up, hero-type guy compared to many of the other overpaid, deviant pro football brutes.

This Thanksgiving, my dad insisted I join him for a viewing of the “The Longest Yard,” a football movie. Really? Can’t we just watch paint dry? I must admit it was surprisingly entertaining. However, it failed to convert me into a football enthusiast. Nope. Still don’t care. Pass the jalapeño poppers.

— Jaime Becktel


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