Friday, January 13, 2012

This is Why We Love the NFL

After Tim Tebow's heroics against the Steelers on Sunday, I was reminded why our country loves the NFL.  Every play matters, and everything can change on a given play.  It's hard to say that about any other sport.

So I got to thinking--why do we, collectively, love this game?  Is it because we created it? I think it's safe to say that football is America's new favorite pastime, but that can't be the reason.  We created hacky sack, too, but it doesn't have its own TV network.  So I put together a list, speculatively, as to why America loves this sport--here are the top 10 reasons.

10) Polarizing Figures- Whether you are willing to admit it or not, everyone finds a controversial character much more entertaining than the straight-laced types.  And love them or hate them, they will always make you "get your popcorn ready."  Randy Moss, Chad Ochocinco, and Terrell Owens have followed in the footsteps of the originator, Ickey Woods, and they have made showboating a necessary evil in the NFL.  While self-righteous announcers like Bob Costas and Joe Buck are disgusted by it, we as fans have come to expect these self-centered displays and, secretly, we love them.

9) Kickers- The guys with nothing to gain and everything to lose are a guilty pleasure of mine on Sundays.  Kickers have the most high-pressure job in the NFL, yet they are expected to make every kick.  Fans and coaches have such unreachable expectations for their kickers that they are inevitably set up to fail, and I love it.  While Adam Vinatieri will go down in history as one of the greatest clutch kicker of all-time, hundreds of his coworkers already have websites devoted to hating them.  The only thing left to do--maintain these unreasonable demands, for reasons like this..

8) The Annexation of Puerto Rico

Trick plays.  Coaches stay up for days at a time thinking of the perfect play, and most of the time they fail miserably.  But there are a few that don't fall flat on their face, and instead, they are forever ingrained in our minds.  Let's take a look at some of the best "trick plays" from this year.

7) The Oblong-shaped Ball

A football, more so than any other ball in sports, can bounce every which way.  Once that ball hits the turf, only the big guy upstairs knows where it will end up, but even he's not positive.  Some of the greatest plays in NFL history can be attributed to the shape of the football, including arguably the most famous play in NFL history...

6) Fantasy Football

Fantasy football is incredible.  It's as simple as that.  It makes every game interesting during the regular season, no matter who's playing.  Patriots up by 30 on the Redskins?  Maybe the LawFirm will break a run.  Browns playing the Rams?  Need the Browns D to put up 12 points.  It's almost to the point where, if you don't have a team in the playoffs, the NFL regular season is just as exciting, if not more.  That cannot be said about any other sport, especially baseball.

5) Tim Tebow
I had to throw him on this list because he's taking over football, and all signs point to the fact that he's either the second-coming or the anti-christ.  Everyone whose team is not in the playoffs is a Denver fan right now, and even some Patriots fans have been sucked in to the Tebowmania.  And my theory is, if Skip Bayless weren't around, Tim Tebow would be that much more popular.  But the fact that you have to listen to Bayless every Monday talk about how he was right and everyone else was wrong--it's infuriating.  Let Tebow be Tebow.

4) Quarterbacks

They are the face of your franchise, and their popularity hinges solely on their success.  Some people reading this, like myself, are going to say "I hate quarterbacks, what are you talking about?"  Well, that's because you pull for the Redskins.  But once we get RGIII this year, everything will change.  Also, there's not a player in the league right now who is easier to pull for than Cam Newton.  He will be the best in the league once Aaron Rodgers retires, if not sooner.

3) The Pick-Six

The fastest 14 point turnaround in sports.  There's nothing more exciting, or heartbreaking, when a quarterback throws that square-out and the cornerback breaks on the ball perfectly.  By the time you even know what's going on, it's already too late.  Matt Hasselbeck's overtime claim of "we want the ball, and we're gonna score"  immediately comes to mind...

2) The Super Bowl

The biggest game in the world, and it pretty much speaks for itself.  Nothing is more exciting than that final drive, and nothing is more nerve-racking than that final kick.  Super Bowl Sunday has become a national holiday, and if you don't watch the game you pretty much have nothing to talk about the next day.

1) Miracles

Just like every sport, miracles are why we keep coming back for more.  It seems as though we have the privilege of witnessing one about once every five years, but we never want to miss out on it.  My two favorites are below, and the Saints/Jaguars game is another reason why we love, or hate, kickers.

I get chills whenever I watch that Music City Miracle.  Wade Phillips should've started Doug Flutie that game, and he would've been the one with the last-second heroics.  Gotta love the NFL.

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