It only took me 4 decades but I have decided to finally Like football. Why? well, partly because I want to be actually converse with most of my friends during the fall about more than the weather 🙂 But also because I am enamoured of narratives, and football is possibly the single most narrative-driven sport. There’s no way for a single player, even the QB, to carry the game on their own, it’s truly a team sport. Fortunes can literally change completely in even the final minute of play. The athleticism of football players runs the full gamut. And finally, it’s a uniquely American sport, so why not claim my birthright?
As a new fan, I had to choose my teams. Since I live in Madison, obviously the Packers and the Badgers are my default. But I also wanted one more team to root for, and so had to consider my options carefully. What do I really want as a football “convert” ? Unlike those born (or for the less spiritually-sympathetic, indoctrinated) into a fandom, I have the opportunity to choose my loyalty. It’s a big responsibility! So I approached it from the perspective of what matters most: story.
Given that most fans are so passionate about the game, your team should have the potential to excite you or break your heart. It’s the drama, the tension, the potential that makes the narrative compelling, not just the end result. A team like the Cowboys are a routine disappointment, never quite living up to their potential; a team like the Broncos routinely make the playoffs and thus fail to introduce any plot tension. What I wanted was a team that has the proven skill to go all the way, but also has fallen short. Specifically, I decided I wanted to follow a team that has won the Superbowl at least once, and also failed to reach the playoffs at least once, both in the past 5 years. I also prefered a team in the NFC conference (because it wins more Superbowls) but in a different division from the Packers (NFC North) so I get some variety in opponents.
Based on Facebook convos, the clear choice seemed to be the NY Giants. Eli Manning, two Superbowls, dismal disappointments. But I needed to be sure, so I consulted this handy chart:
So, let’s see… I do like football (as of last week). Superpower: time travel. Definitely normal style. And of the TV options given, Clint eastwood by elimination, the rest are boring. Result… Giants! It must be destiny 🙂
So. Go, Pack, Go! On, Wisconsin! And Go, Giants! I subscribed to the reddits, liked the Facebook pages, downloaded the NFL app and even started my fantasy team. I’m ready for Sunday night!
And yes, I did see highlights of the NYG game last monday.
But it’s not his fault!
I asked for this, didn’t I?
UPDATE: My thoughts on concussions and the domestic abuse scandal involving Ray Rice.
UPDATE 2 – check out my predictions for Sunday’s Arizona vs Giants game.