Baseball has long been considered “America's Pastime”, but it would be hard to argue that NFL football isn't “America's Game”. More people actually play baseball, but NFL football is easily superior when considering popularity. So, why is that, what makes the NFL America's game, and why do we love it so much?
First and foremost football is the ultimate team game, there are 11 players on offense and 11 players on defense and if even 1 doesn't do their job, the rest of the team will be affected. That's not entirely true in other professional sports. Also unlike other pro sports the football season is short and therefore every single game is absolutely critical. Unlike a 162 game baseball season, or even an 82 game hockey season if an NFL team was to fall into a slump, chances are they won't have a chance to truly redeem themselves until the next season.
Adding to the fact that the regular season is only 17 games, when the playoffs come around teams don't have the luxury of getting themselves together. Unlike other sports there are no series in the playoffs, 1 loss and you’re done, making football the most dramatic for fans and spectators, and everyone loves drama.
Aside from football being the ultimate team game, and every game being important, one has to appreciate the sheer complexity of it all. As mentioned all 11 players must be on the same exact page for a game plan to work. A game plan that must be engineered occasionally on the fly or during a 10 minute half time. The adage “just go out and play” won't work; a football team must be a well-oiled machine that operates in absolute unison. Comparing a football head coaches job as opposed to a baseball team's managers job is the same as comparing chess to checkers.
So let’s quickly recap, what are some of the key factors that make football America's game;
- It's the ultimate team game.
- Every game of every season is critical.
- Because each game is so critical, the drama is always extremely high.
- Lastly we can't get enough of the complexity of it all.
All of the above are definite reasons we all love football, but that list is just the tip of the iceberg. You also have to love the brute force rough and toughness that meshes so well with the graceful elegance of it all. Down in a 3 point stance you have a 300 pounder that can bench press a Volkswagen and 10 yards away you have a 180 pounder that has mastered ballet. When you really think about that it’s a beautiful combo.
In closing football being America's favorite game can be argued, but when stacking the facts above, up against the qualities of other sports, I think it’s safe to say it’s an open and closed case.