In Deference To Fans Of The NY Jets…

I’m writing this post about football – and why I don’t watch it. I’m a former New Yorker, so I’m rooting for the Jets in the most tangential way, but I’ll be skipping the big game tomorrow and picking up the blog on Monday.

Why don’t I watch/like football? I’ve asked myself that a lot over the years. I love sports in general, with baseball being my favorite, and can easily get interested in hockey, basketball, tennis, even boxing. But I have a mental block where football is concerned. Total apathy. To me, it’s a bunch of very large men, wearing equipment that makes them unrecognizable, gathered around a field, occasionally huddling, occasionally walking around, occasionally tackling each other, occasionally running and throwing and kicking. I have no idea what “fourth and ten” means. I’m clueless about “yards” and “downs.” I couldn’t tell you the difference between a field goal and a touchdown. I don’t know what all those white lines signify. There’s so much starting and stopping that I wonder why people think baseball is boring.
This is not to say I don’t understand the thrill of victory or the agony of defeat; the emotions of rooting for a team don’t change from sport to sport. And I’m sure the scheduling of football – the fact that games are only played once a week – really heightens people’s interest. Getting together with friends and family to watch a game must feel like more of an event, whereas you can catch a baseball game almost any night of the week.
Maybe I’m just a hot weather girl and the notion of watching a game played in frigid temperatures doesn’t appeal to me. Dunno. But good luck to any Jets fans out there. I hope the Super Bowl is in your future – partly because it’ll be exciting for you guys and partly because it’ll mean football is over and baseball is about to begin.


  1. rrrt

    Hi Jane! I should be doing some Actual Work right now, but the World Wide Web of Distraction has led me from Facebook to your blog. After this, I think I need to go get a beverage before I get started. 🙂 Nonetheless, I’ll probably watch a little of the games tomorrow, though I myself am not particularly a football fan. I’ll be rooting for the Jets through the “lesser of two evils” method of big-game watching once your own team has been eliminated. Not that I have any particular dislike for the Jets, though I do for the Steelers. Once we get past the Super Bowl, baseball will be here soon! Yay!
    Rants, Raves, and Random Thoughts

  2. Jane Heller

    Wow. Sue, you’re rooting for a NY team? You must really not like the Steelers! I do understand the lesser of two evils argument though. Enjoy the games and hope you get some work done.

  3. blithescribe

    I understand the rules of football and a fair bit of the strategy. I can sit down and enjoy a game from time to time if my husband and friends are inspired to watch or if I’m invited to a Super Bowl part or the like, but football has just never grabbed me. I don’t know if it’s the lack of an early connection to the sport or what (I’ve never really played football myself outside of the occasional touch football game in grade school and jr. high and this is one sport I never kept stats for) but I just can’t get into it either.
    – Kristen


    Ohhhhboy…you want to go there, so hang onto your beisol hat(s) and bear (not the Chicago kind) with me awhile…
    Now you know that I, like you, prefer our pastoral sport. No doubt you recall George Carlin’s hilarious comparison between beisbol and football…”in football, the object of the game is to march downfield and force the ball over the enemy’s goal line — in baseball, the runners want to touch all the bases, and go home…” — but all that said…
    Guess it’s been in my blood ever since Canada, and my first CFL game…the Toronto Argonauts…after we moved, my dad, who loved college football, enjoyed taking the family up to West Point to see Army games…one great feature is tailgating…food & drink & camaraderie galore, and THEN the game…on a crisp fall day…
    My NFL allegiances have flipped and flopped. Started rooting for the NY Giants back in Canada…then a brief fling with Joe Willie’s Jets…but after 38+ years in D.C., (and numerous Super Bowls), I’m now a lifetime Redskins fan. My wife was born to it…season tix for the ‘Skins…most Sundays are built around it…her Greek passion gets really stoked once a week…yellin’ and screamin’…KILL the QB!!…and that’s probably the secret — such a huge buildup for every game. What is still a brutally physical sport is actually a bit less so now, due to many rule changes that emphasize passing, and penalize hitting…
    OK, after all that blather, here’s one more GO JETS shout-out, esp. to Diane, a faithful blogger who’s ever-faithful to her green and white. And another Good Luck cheer to my old college pal Don, lifelong Green Bay Packer fan and a true lover of beisbol to boot. Best o’luck, everybody…!!


    My father watched whatever sport was on, so we watched football and went to my brother’s games. I understand the sport and like the idea of it. I have several problems with the modern game.

    1- Too many time outs. I just don’t get football fans who say that baseball is boring. Football bows to the TV schedule. It seems like there is 10 seconds of play, then 2 minutes of commercials.

    2- Too much noise! The announcers are screaming, the volume for the crowd is turned up – there is way too much auditory stimulation for me.

    3- Cheerleaders. Almost everything bad about our culture’s attitude towards women in one place.

    4- It’s a game that you almost always have to be a freak of nature to excel at.

    That being said, the Super Bowl of a few years ago, where the Giants won, was a wonderful game. Fast paced, lots of excitement. With the volume turned down, it was a joy to watch.

    We watch baseball and the real football (soccer) at our house. Both have long periods of play – one of the reasons the networks hate soccer is the 45 minute halves. The announcers are rather quiet and soothing (except for Fox!). In soccer, they generally just say the player’s names. “Giggs . . . to Rooney . . . Anderson.” And you get to hear some great Scottish accents! The fans at the games can be VERY loud, but they generally sing or chant together. The atmosphere is like nothing else. The crowd is into every touch of the ball.

    And one of the reasons I think baseball has always been popular is that you can succeed at it no matter what body type you have. Look at CC, and then somebody like Pedroia.

    But all that said, I hope the Jets will make their loyal fans very happy.

    22 days!


  6. pinstripebirthdays

    I understand your feelings Jane but maybe if I can tie one of today’s football games into Yankee history, you won’t feel so disconnected. The Chicago Bears are playing the Green Bay Packers for the NFC Championship today. The father of Chicago Bear (and NFL) football is the guy they called “Papa Bear,” George Halas. Before he became an NFL Hall of Fame legend as a player, coach and owner of the Bears, Halas was invited to attend the Yankee’s 1919 spring training tryouts and audition for a spot in New York’s outfield. He did well enough to make that year’s opening day Yankee roster and actually started some games in right field at the beginning of the Yankee season. Unfortunately, Halas had hurt his hip in spring training sliding into third on a triple he hit off of Brooklyn’s Hall-of-Fame hurler, Rube Marquard. Papa Bear forever blamed that injury as the reason why he went 2-22 during his 12-game regular season career in pinstripes that ended during the 1919 season. But suppose Halas did not hurt that hip and instead went on to have a great rookie season for New York in 1919? The Yankees might not have felt the need to purchase another right fielder named Babe Ruth, the following January. Imagine no Babe in Yankee baseball and no Papa Bear in Chicago football.

    Mike Cinquanti


    Jane, we watched “The Social Network” last night. What a great movie! It really is one of the best movies ever. So many facets of human nature and our society are addressed in it. Thanks for recommending it!

  8. Jane Heller

    Interesting that you mention an early connection to a sport, playing it as a kid, that may explain your interest in baseball as opposed to football, Kristen. I didn’t play much baseball/softball as a kid or, if I did, I wasn’t very good at it. So my attachment isn’t related to my own skills or lack thereof. I did get into tennis because I played it from a young age. My idol was Chris Evert and I used to picture her in my head every time I hit the ball!

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts about football, Dave. I can easily imagine how much fun it was to have your Dad take your family to those West Point/Army games, with the tailgating and all that. Does sound great. And now the fact that you have a team to root for in DC – and that your wife is such a big fan – adds a lot to the experience, I’m sure.

    Yes, Melissa. Too many time outs! Exactly. That’s what I meant by all the starting and stopping. It would drive me nuts if I watched regularly. I didn’t realize it was because of the TV commercials. I also agree about the noise, the cheerleaders and the freaks. LOL. But my husband was very excited when the Giants won, watched every minute of that game and said, as you did, that the game was tremendously exciting. Soccer sounds like fun. I guess I need more exposure to it before figuring out if I’d enjoy it.

    I love that story, Mike! Leave it to you to find a Yankees connection. So if Halas hadn’t gotten hurt, we might not have had the Babe? Yikes.

  9. crzblue2

    I used to argue with my first boyfriend that football was better than baseball then I saw the light :-). Like Paul, I don’t miss the gambling on that sport. I’ll watch part of a Super Bow game but that is pretty much is. Well, I’ll watch some College bowls but none hold my attention like baseball does.

  10. Jane Heller

    Melissa, I’m so glad you liked Social Network too. It really was a brilliant script and the actors were sensational across the board. I didn’t expect to like it as much as I did, but I think it has a real shot at winning Best Picture if the Academy somehow decides not to anoint King’s Speech.

    Well, I’m glad you stopped gambling, Paul. Go finish your book already. Your public awaits!


    Jane I was also apathetic towards football for the majority of my life. It always seemed like a mindless and violent sport. Plus, baseball has always been my first sport as my parents got me and my sister into it growning up. Baseball will always be my first love. However, a few years ago I decided to give it a shot and in time came to enjoy it. Especially after that epic Giants Superbowl win 3 years ago. It’s very easy to understand by just watching a couple games. But like you I will always be bugged by the constant time outs and whistle calls that just slow the game down constantly. When you think about it and take it all into account, football has very little playing time. However when there are some great passes and rush plays with no interceptions, they’re incredibly fun to watch. A defensive game bores me and an offensive game is fun unlike baseball where I can thoroughly enjoy a good pitchers duel along with an offensive blowout. I’m a Giants fan but since they’re out, I’m rooting for the Jets naturally. Both teams’ fans, like Yankee and Met fans, seem to hate each other but I think NY needs to band together when necessary. I would root hard for the Mets if the Yankees were ever out of the playoffs.

  12. Jane Heller

    After hearing how you came to appreciate football after awhile, Leo, maybe there’s hope for me! (I doubt it, but you never know.) I agree about the NY allegiance. If the Yankees weren’t in the World Series and the Mets were (and there was no other team I felt an affinity for), I’d certainly root for the Mets. I rooted for them against the Red Sox back in the day.


    Baseball is my passion, and football is the filler for me that makes the baseball offseason go a little faster. I’ve actually been enjoying football more in the past few years. I’m a Jets fan, but I never agonize about a game the way I do about a Yankee game. And when the Super Bowl is over, we are that much closer to pitchers and catchers! GO YANKEES!

  14. ronlang44

    I think football is more of an “event” because it is only played once a week like you mentioned in your post.
    Anyway, I have two sisters. One is married to a Packers fan and the other a Bears fan. So, they got together today to watch the game. I tried to get them to make some kind of off the wall bet, but they refused. As for me….I root for the Cowboys in the NFL, but baseball is the game I truly love. Liked the pic of Steinbrenner Field sign. We were there last spring, but won’t be going this year.


  15. Jane Heller

    Freya, you’re lucky you have football as your “filler” during the off-season. I guess mine is moviegoing. Just passed a TV on my afternoon walk a few minutes ago and I think I saw the Jets were down 7-0. I hope they rally for you.

    Your two brothers-in-law root for rival teams and watched the game together today, Ron? Now that could have been a recipe for disaster! Glad nobody got hurt. Lol. The pic of Steinbrenner Field made me hungry for baseball. Don’t think I’ll be going to spring training there either this year, regretfully.


    I so agree with you and your thoughts in general about football. I’m not sure your comments are 100% representative of your knowledge of football, but we would fall into the same category of fans. I can get into the occasional high school game my kids make me take them to and will cheer with the best of them for a great pass or run to score a touchdown. But it seems like dog years to run that darn timeclock down for one 8 minute quarter! Give me baseball any day! Just pulled up the 2011 schedule and will plan my girls baseball weekend out at Target Field in August!

  17. Jane Heller

    Dog years are exactly the terms I would use to describe how long the delays are in football, medicap. Isn’t it exciting to see the new baseball schedules? I’ve taken more than a few looks at the Yankees’ schedule and am hoping to see them in June in Anaheim when they come out to play the Angels.

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