, , , ,

American football is like a religion.  And yet, I don’t usually comment on football.  But today I’m going to make the rare comment on it.  If it’s not my best post, now you know why.

Yeah, I have enjoyed watching football in the past.  I’ll admit that I am a lowly Buffalo Bills fan – yes a glutton for punishment in football terms.

Since being here in Finland, I haven’t watched a single game.  I don’t really miss it either.  But I have kept up with what goes on – how could I not, the Bills were actually half-decent this year.

I’ve been sitting back watching the reaction to Marshawn Lynch’s relationship with the press, fines the NFL has imposed on him and his responses along with the presses responses to him.  It’s an interesting spectacle.

This is the story that just keeps going – kudos to Marshawn and the NFL for drawing attention to themselves.  The gist of it is that Lynch doesn’t like talking to the press and the NFL has rules that says that players have to talk to the press.  You can see some of the typical talk about this in this article on ESPN with video.

This whole spectacle showcases a few things about professional football in general.

a. The NFL is a business that is primarily interested in making money.

b. The attention this “controversy” raises is great for business.

c. How the NFL gets away with being a non-profit organization is amazing.

d. What people are drawn to is controversy.

This reminds me of Ancient Rome – sports had taken on a level of importance equal to religion and state.  In fact, it became synonymous with the two and was a part of them.  Rome was all about the spectacle – it kept people entertained and occupied so they wouldn’t have to think about how crappy their lives were.  They could watch some other poor schlep being killed by a gladiator or wild animal and be glad it wasn’t them.  They could justify it by saying it was part of what it meant to be Roman.  Sport took on religious significance.  I wonder how much sport has taken on religious significance in modern American.