I just saw the above promo, and I’ve seldom seen anything more absurd in my life.
If this is the way you feel about football, let me make a suggestion: Turn it off. Step away from the TV. Take a cold shower, and maybe a Valium.
Lighten up, Francis.
I don’t know what’s wrong with Americans. Maybe it’s because we ended the draft, so that most men haven’t experienced military service, much less combat. So they think of football as war, and say idiotic things suggesting that it’s just as life-and-death, the outcome just as critically momentous.
Note some of the language in this ad:
Every Saturday’s an attack, an ambush, an air raid…
They’ll show you hate and disrespect unlike anything you’ve ever seen….
You’re wearing that uniform, and you’re the enemy. You must be eliminated…
They want you to lose more than they want to win…
The biggest game, the only game, is the one you’re playing…
EVERY GAME IS EVERYTHING
That’s the tagline of this promo campaign from Fox: “EVERY GAME IS EVERYTHING.”
The ad revels in the violence of the game. The instant when an opposing player smacks into a quarterback (see image at the bottom of the post) comes as the announcer says with relish, “It’ll make your ears ring…”
Which brings us to George Will’s latest column, in which he optimistically predicts that, with all we now know about the damage the game — yes, it’s a game, not a thing we need anyone to do — does to human bodies, especially to human brains:
CTE is a degenerative brain disease confirmable only after death, and often caused by repeated blows to the head that knock the brain against the skull. The cumulative impacts of hundreds of supposedly minor blows can have the cumulative effect of many concussions. The New York Times recently reported Stanford University researchers’ data showing “that one college offensive lineman sustained 62 of these hits in a single game. Each one came with an average force on the player’s head equivalent to what you would see if he had driven his car into a brick wall at 30 mph.”
Boston University researchers found CTE in 110 of 111 brains of deceased NFL players. In 53 other brains from college players, 48 had CTE. There was significant selection bias: Many of the brains came from families who had noticed CTE symptoms, including mood disorders and dementia. A Boston University researcher says, however, that a 10-year NFL linebacker could receive more than 15,000 sub-concussive blows….
Here, by the way, is the difference between a normal brain and one with advanced CTE:
Given that I find the trumped-up machismo of the game so offensive, I particularly like the way Will ends his column:
It has been said (by Thomas Babington Macaulay) that the Puritans banned bear baiting — unleashing fierce dogs on a bear chained in a pit — not because it gave pain to bears but because it gave pleasure to Puritans. But whatever the Puritans’ motives, they understood that there are degrading enjoyments. Football is becoming one, even though Michigan’s $9 million coach has called it “the last bastion of hope for toughness in America in men.” That thought must amuse the Marines patrolling Afghanistan’s Helmand Province.