Journalist Fuzz Hogan has decided to stop watching football this season. He cites head injuries, the the use of performance enhancing drugs and the way in which the NFL contributes to corruption in college football as his reasons for forgoing the game.
I have no problem with someone deciding that football is too violent to continue watching. The data on head injuries alone makes the danger clear, and if a football fan decides to stop supporting that violence, I understand completely.
I also have no problem with anyone who decides to stop watching football because of the use of performance enhancing drugs. When the integrity of the game is questioned, then its appeal is understandably diminished.
I’m not sure if the corruption in college football would end if the NFL did not exist as Hogan suggests, but I have no problem with this reason, either. If this is what Hogan believes, his decision to stop watching professional football is admirable.
While I don’t plan to stop watching the National Football League anytime soon, I am more than willing to acknowledge that my continued interest contributes to a variety of serious health problems for the players, and that a boycott of the game would be a noble thing to do.
I just love the game too much to stop.
My dispute with Hogan is based solely in the astounding level of smugness that he exhibits when describing his football free Sundays.
News flash: Watching football is a time-suck. Studies have shown there’s 11 minutes of action in a game that takes three hours. So even though I’ve tried to convince myself that I can be productive during the game—checking e-mails, folding laundry, even working out—that’s still a lot of wasted time trying to not waste time.
This is not a news flash. Football fans have known this forever. Many sports, including baseball and golf, are no different. But the game’s appeal does not lie in the eleven minutes of real time play alone. It’s the moments of critical decision making, the euphoric celebrations, the instant replay, the analysis of each play, the gamesmanship, the strategy and the conversation and camaraderie that fans enjoy between the plays. While Hogan is correct about the eleven minutes of play, his use of the phrase “New flash” and the underlying implication that he is dispensing new information on football fans make him sound like a smug jackass.
Hogan then goes on to describe his football-free Sunday:
So instead, on the NFL’s opening Sunday afternoon I cooked dinner—a real dinner, with different dishes and a complicated recipe. I helped the kids with homework, with the attention span to actually help. I found out how the other third lives … the third that doesn’t watch the NFL. It was enjoyable.
What a smug jackass. A real dinner? My wife made grilled cheese sandwiches with apples and bacon last night. We actually picked the apples last week just prior to the Patriots-Saints game. It is one of my favorite dinners, and the whole family loved it. It took her about 15 minutes to make.
Was this not a real enough dinner for you, Mr. Hogan?
Was the lack of complicated recipes disappointing to you?
And what if we decide to order pizza for dinner on Sunday while I watch the Patriots play the Jets? Should I feel like a bad parent or an ineffective human being?
Is that how you will think of me?
Knowing that you are making a real dinner, from a complicated recipe, while we eat pizza from a box, should I assume that the way that you are spending your time is better than mine?
And what if I choose to help my children with homework after the game? Is this not also acceptable? Is there some premium placed on homework completion during an NFL game?
Hogan then says that his football-free Sundays have allowed him to discover how the people who don’t watch the NFL live.
Has he been watching the NFL while stuffed inside a cardboard box? Did he retire to the basement and lock the door in order to watch the game? Does some moratorium exist that prevented him from asking his friends and family what they were doing while he was watching the game?
What a stupid, ridiculous, self-serving, smug thing to say.
I have no problem with the criticism that the National Football League receives. I have no problem with the decision to boycott the game or stop watching forever. I even have no problem with criticism directed at me for supporting this violent game.
But smugness? That’s the worse.