Current Weather
The Spy FM

Football Uber Alles. Uber Alles, Football

Filed by KOSU News in US News.
October 12, 2011

Football is real big. Everybody knows that. But it is getting bigger. Football is now gigantic, monstrous, humongous. Sure, it was years ago that it passed baseball as our most popular sport, but by now it simply looms alone above the American sportscape.

I would rank the U.S. sports entities this way:

The NFL

College football

Fantasy football

Major League Baseball

High school football

The NBA

Oh, the first two weeks of NBA season have been canceled because of a labor dispute — and maybe the whole season is in jeopardy? But have you heard much weeping and wailing about that? No! Hey, we got our football.

Any run-of-the-mill NFL game scores ratings numbers above what baseball, the erstwhile national pastime, does with its championships.

We can’t get enough football. Why, I think you can make the argument now that the NFL draft –– a bunch of guys reading off names in a ballroom –– is the premier American sporting event of the spring.

No, American football never will be as dominant as soccer, which stands supreme in so many countries. Baseball, basketball and ice hockey, too, maintain large and passionate fandoms here.

But what has changed is that now we don’t have four major team sports. We have football uber alles — and three other subsidiary popular games.

Football’s hegemony was established because it plays so well on TV, and is, with the point spread, such a perfect game to bet. Its recent upsurge, I believe, can be accounted for by the fantastic popularity of fantasy football and by the fact that football’s bang-bang moving violence meshes so perfectly with the video games that young men love.

Baseball is a game of hand-eye coordination, an exercise in craft, and when it reigned, we were a nation that built things. In movies then, heroes nimbly rode horses, and sophisticated private eyes figured stuff out. Football is, by comparison, a muscle-leg game. In concert, today, on movie screens, speed and car crashes rule.

We must always be very careful in trying to relate any country’s taste in sport to its national temperament. After all, the most varied of cultures all prefer soccer. But still, America’s increased devotion to football must mean something.

Unlike our two other home-bred sports, baseball and basketball, which have developed appeal in many other countries, American football is just that –– American. Except for a bit over our northern border, in all the world it is played seriously only in the United States. That we alone love this sport so much and love it more and more — that must tell us something about ourselves. [Copyright 2011 National Public Radio]

Leave a Reply

9PM to 5AM The Spy

The Spy

An eclectic mix of the Spy's library of more than 10,000 songs curated by Ferris O'Brien.

Listen Live Now!

5AM to 9AM Morning Edition

Morning Edition

For more than two decades, NPR's Morning Edition has prepared listeners for the day ahead with two hours of up-to-the-minute news, background analysis, commentary, and coverage of arts and sports.

View the program guide!

9AM to 10AM The Takeaway

The Takeaway

A fresh alternative in morning news, "The Takeaway" provides a breadth and depth of world, national and regional news coverage that is unprecedented in public media.

View the program guide!

Upcoming Events in your area (Submit your event today!)

Streaming audio and podcasts

Stream KOSU on your smartphone

Phone Streaming

SmartPhone listening options on this page are intended for many iPhones, Blackberries, etc. with low-cost software applications available to listen to our full-time web streams, both News on KOSU-1 and Classical on KOSU-2.

Learn more about our complete range of streaming services

We're perfecting the patient experience - Stillwater Medical Center