Perhaps you've been living in a nuclear fallout shelter for some reason, or have just avoided all forms of mass media over the last two weeks or so and didn't know that the NFL season starts tonight. Well, it does, and the super spectacular kickoff game features the defending Super Bowl champions versus the Brett Favres. I'm sure many of you will be watching.
As will I, I suspect, because I'm a lifelong fan of American football. I don't have a rooting interest in this particular game (and I don't gamble), and neither do millions of Americans who will watch, but the beginning of the NFL season is such a draw it hardly matters anymore. Give credit where credit is due: the NFL knows how to captivate the masses.
It's just a little sad that tonight's NFL
It might not matter in terms of TV ratings, since MLS struggles to draw viewers when the NFL isn't in-season, but I still can't shake a mild annoyance. The NFL simply swallows up everything else, is so ubiquitous it's sickening; even while I'm certain that I'll live and die with my gridiron team this year just as I have every year since I understand what the game was, I'm still turned off by how pervasive the league has become. There's a fine line between national passion and disturbing obsession.
Not to take anything away from the NFL. They've run their business as they should, and the dividends are obvious. Football, the kind played with an oblong ball, is king in America, and it took fifty years for it to be crowned so. We can hardly blame the progenitors of the league, or the men responsible for lifting it to its exalted status, for doing so.
And, to be honest, I'm not quite sure how much of my consternation over the NFL's sports landscape dominance is down to my love of soccer; maybe, because I've so firmly hitched my wagon to the beautiful game, I'm just jealous. Like I've unwittingly picked a side, though it was never my intention to do so.
Tonight, during the overlap between the NFL season kickoff and the Sounders-RSL game taking place in America's soccer hotbed, some of us will need to make a choice. Watch the end of the first game of the NFL season and bow to the altar of American football, or switch over to a crucial late-season MLS regular season match between two of the better teams our nascent soccer league has to offer.
Me, I'll probably switch. That's just where my passion lies these days. I wonder how many of you will follow suit, and choose the kind of football with goals over the kind with touchdowns.
*And on the flip side of that - Insane American football fans, stop painting soccer as some kind of anti-American boogeyman, as if the two sports cannot possibly exist together in this country. American football and soccer are not mutually exclusive.