Is football too embedded in our culture?

Earlier this morning, NPR released a segment about football and it’s role in American culture. Sports like baseball and basketball are based on skill and agility, but playing football is about being a man and being tough.

Baseball and basketball games happen daily, but football is reserved for the weekend and associated with dances, celebrations and parties. The macho boys, pretty cheerleaders and marching band halftime shows create this whole different culture from other sports.

The last statement of the article raised an interesting point:

“That is surely why, for all the evidence now of how football batters male brains, it seems practically invulnerable to change. Football is simply too embedded in our American calendar, in our American culture, and in our American blood — and guts.” – Frank Deford

Football is a part of America, no doubt about that. We watch week after week, enjoying the big hits and exciting plays. Reveling in the upsets and rooting for our favorite team to advance to playoffs.

In Pittsburgh, being a Steelers fan is practically a requirement.

We dismiss Todd Haley and his terrible offense. We insult Ben’s performance and call him old. We praise Ben’s agility and ability to hold on the ball and call him one of the best in the League. We silently question if Troy is getting old and then erase that thought after his next amazing play.

We watch our players receive and cause concussions.

It’s not intentional, especially now with all the rules about hits to and with the head, but they happen nonetheless. Every week we hear about more players suffering and more potential concussions missed.

Even with the publicity about the damaging effects of hits in football, millions still watch. There are no boycotts, no cries of injustice. The game continues, remaining a staple in the lives of people across the United States.

Will we let football change?


  • Frank Deford, “Americana: Hot dogs, apple pie and football?” NPR (Nov. 5, 2014). [Link]