The King of all Sports: What Our Love of Football says about us

Football. Quit crying and get in the game.

Football is the unquestioned king of all sports by any measure.  Monday Night match ups with snoozer teams routinely outdraw playoff games in other sports.  It would seem football can do no wrong.  But why?

The three reasons say as much about society as they do about sport

Delayed Gratification

The reality of the rigors of playing such a brutal game are that they can’t have more than one game a week, or stretch a season past 20 games (even with playoffs).  In a world where other sports require 162 game seasons just to set up the postseason, this is a differentiator.  Not only must we savor every game, but every game matters.

This less-is-more model fuels our passion, excites our off-season and truly makes us earn it.  In the digital age, few things in life are on these terms.

Our Weenie Culture has yet to Corrupt it

Football represents one of the last places on earth where physical contact in the realm of sport is not only allowed but revered.  This is in stark contrast to today’s reality, where my kids aren’t even allowed to play dodge ball in school and Bully Prevention Week is an actual thing.  Our children are encouraged to be victims and go fetal at the first sign of trouble. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction, and in football our victim culture just found one.

Next Man Up

This past week Texans QB Ryan Mallet was released by the Texans.  His crimes?  A pouting spell on the sideline, a missed flight and a general bad attitude.  Can you imagine if Ryan Mallet had a white collar desk job?  Similar behavior might force an HR meeting and in about 18 months with proper documentation he might be fired.

Might.

In the NFL you produce or you leave.  Your value is the total and complete sum of one thing– your ability to produce in your next game.  Tim Tebow and Michael Sam didn’t lose their jobs because of politics– they simply couldn’t cut it.  Talent trumps all on the gridiron.  Players must climb a depth chart, differentiate themselves, behave in the locker room or turn in their playbook and head home.  The sport is a true meritocracy–  something previous generations took for granted as a hallmark of a successful society.

 

These three factors and others like them make the NFL and football in general, great.  One wonders if the same core principles were applied to the world outside of sport if we’d see similar upticks.

Sadly we’ll never find out.

 

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Christian. Father. Hawkeye. Pursuing truth... frequently in a minivan.

2 thoughts on “The King of all Sports: What Our Love of Football says about us

  1. I’ve always found it interesting that in football (and in other sports) you can actively hire a person (sign a free agent) and when you do, fire (release) or demote the person whose position was displaced. In the corporate world you typically have to fire a poor performer (which takes months and months), and only then can you post an open role to replace that individual. Can you imagine a corporate team where there was always an open role or active search happening? And when a highly qualified person was hired, the lowest performer was fired. Would that inspire better team performance? Would it attract high performers to that company?

    1. Great question. In a sense is that not how layoffs are used? I mean many are re-org related, or strategy related, but in practice they tend to clear the bottom of the bench.

      The other part of the sports analogy I kind of find interesting is the new head coach. In sports there is no assumption that an assistant coach retains a job when his boss moves on, in corporate America there is. Not saying it should change, but it does impact the ability for a leader to run his/her strategy when doing it with someone else’s staff and “players”.

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