To understand why football is the most popular and the most entertaining sport in the country, look no further than this past weekend. For those who were fortunate enough to catch Friday’s National Championship game between Miami and Ohio State and Sunday’s two NFL playoff games saw three of the most spectacular sporting events in recent years.
Action. This is what separates football from basketball. Constant, non-stop action. There’s always something going on in a football game. Add to that the sport’s unpredictability, and there lies the formula for success.
In basketball, if a team is down by 13 points, it has to constantly chip away at the deficit in order to take the lead, which can take quite a while. In football, 13 point leads can vanish – and have done so – in as little as a half of a minute. This uncertainty is one of the aspects of the game that is most appealing.
The meticulous nature of the game also sets it apart from basketball. I will admit to not knowing all of the nuances that go into basketball, but logic says that with a bigger field in football, and with more players involved in a given play, that a football play would require more specifics and more details than a basketball play.
Football coaches say all the time that games are more like chess matches. Those who are or have been involved in football can attest to that. So much attention needs to be paid to every small detail in order to ensure success in the game.
More than just the sport itself, football’s professional league is set up in such a way as to guarantee that almost all the teams have a shot to at least make it to the postseason. It is close to impossible to have the types of dynasty teams that the NBA has had, which makes for a more interesting and more dramatic football season. No team in the NFL can ever win six championships in eight years like the Chicago Bulls did in the nineties, or even win three championships in a row like Los Angeles has recently done.
There is too much parity in the NFL to have one dominant team. Any team on any given Sunday can be beaten. That is why it is so difficult for anyone to predict Super Bowl champions. Every season there is a team like New England last year, or Baltimore two years ago that come out from the shadows and make a run at the title.
Nothing matches the constant action, intensity and drama a football game brings. Unlike a basketball game, where the most meaningful action takes place in the final two minutes, an important, and perhaps, an outcome-changing play can happen at any point during a football game.
How many of you stopped watching one of the three games mentioned at the beginning of this column because you thought the outcome was in hand?
— Kevin Fair, 20, is a sophomore newspaper journalism student from Pompano Beach. He is The Famuan’s deputy sports editor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.