Sports in American culture

Football is America’s favorite sport and the Super Bowl is fast approaching. I figure there is no better time than now to discuss something that has slowly been changing my opinion of professional and college football that is broadcast to national and local audiences.

Think about how long the average football play lasts. Anywhere from five to 20 seconds not including the rare plays that can last longer (think long interception return for touchdown). Think of how long each player is on the field during a game. Typically, around 30 minutes not including special teamers, or defensive players or offensive players, who play on the special teams as well. Now include the number of packages, formations and substitutions take place throughout a football game.

So now our players who get the most playing time, maybe get 25 minutes. Factor in the time between each play, in the NFL and college it’s 40 seconds. Remember that half time lasts 12 minutes in professional football and 20 minutes in college football. Let’s not forget the time during timeouts awarded to each team, TV timeouts and time spent during challenges.

Sitting down and logically thinking about it, football games on television take about three hours with the average player probably only spending an actual 15 to 25 of those minutes playing football.

I may not have done the actual calculations, but I believe, logically, this assumption is almost accurate. If you do not believe me and want to figure out the actual numbers, please by all means fill me in. But, since I’m lazy and only write, I don’t feel like doing the math portion, estimating works for me.

Now this is not an attack on football or those who play football. I love football and I always will. I will continue to follow it to near obsession. However, if we think about it, do we maybe glorify these professional athletes a little too much?

There is no denying that they are the most athletic and physical individuals at their craft. That is why they make the big bucks. But is it necessary?

In the end these athletes only care about themselves. You will never find professional athletes who will take more than significantly less amounts of money to form a dynasty. You can see mini-dynasties in college football because they’re not getting paid. Honestly think about it.

This obviously excludes some, but think of the many players who celebrate after every tackle or first down, make millions of dollars who are just playing a game, who very rarely devote themselves to a city like most cities or towns devote themselves to the athletes. Then to make things worse think of how many athlete arrests have happened to individuals taking their gifts for granted.

This may seem like a vicious attack but I promise it’s not.

I played rugby for four years at Millersville. I knew nothing of the sport going into it. I can tell you one thing, I’ve never had to be in better shape in my life to play this sport.

I played sports in high school, and I grew up playing pickup football more times than I can remember. Since I began playing the sport, I became more invested in it on a professional level. Rugby games include two 40 minute halves with a running clock and only a 10 minute halftime. There is little break in play and the sport involves unending running and tackling.

I’m not saying everyone should stop what they’re doing and play rugby. What I’m saying is to view sports with an open mind. Americans are so eager to spread their sports on an international level, while most Americans are so hesitant to accept foreign games.

If you’re bored and tired of playing video games try a new sport, you could have been missing out on a great one.

Soccer is still growing in America, but it is the No. 1 sport on the globe. We have a habit of investing so much in the athletes we watch while so many have let us down (I know the number who don’t screw up is much more, but still the number who continue to mess up is disturbing.)

Maybe we should start rooting for athletes who do not take what they have for granted and play in long games instead of a commercialized sport where most athletes probably spend more time not playing in games than actually playing. Where they hoot and holler after making plays that they get paid tons of money to make.

I can’t say I’ll change from the sports that I watch, but I now have more of an open mind. Hopefully, others will start to change their minds too.