I am a nerd. I would be a card-carrying nerd, if in fact there was some sort of organization that certified nerds. I like video games. I like science fiction. I like organizing my video games, and keeping track of how many I have, and marking whether or not I’ve beaten them or not. I also like football. Oh, wait…
Now, before I go any further, let me state that I am well aware that it is entirely possible to be a football nerd. In fact, I would go so far as to state that there is no sport quite so attractive to nerds as football. With all of the stats and the numbers and the strategies, playing a football game is a lot like playing a role-playing game. That said, most football fans are decidedly not nerds.
Football may be a very number and stat heavy sport, but it is also a very visceral, very brutal, very physical game. Ultimately, football involves 11 guys trying to beat the crap out of, or trying to avoid getting beaten by, 11 other guys. It’s a very in-your-face, testosterone-laden activity. So I imagine that it generally doesn’t attract very many nerds.
However, consider me one of the few nerds who is very attracted to football. I blame the numbers. And the strategy. Because football, in addition to being a very physical sport, is also a very cerebral sport. It’s not enough to just overpower your opponent. You also have to outsmart them. And to a brainy nerd like myself, that aspect is very intriguing. Plus, I like watching grown men beat the crap out of each other, too.
The interesting thing (to me, anyway) about my love for football is that I don’t actually watch football anymore. It’s not that I don’t enjoy watching football. It’s just that I really don’t have time. See, football games are quite long. And I have two children. And a wife. And lots of other hobbies. Plus, I have a hard time just sitting and staring at a TV screen for two or more hours at a time without some sort of controller in my hand.
Thank God for the internet. Even though I don’t have the time/attention span to sit and watch football games, I can at least check in on what’s going on during the games through the miracle of the internet. And I find that I don’t really mind not being able to see the action. I just want to know what the result was.
The exception to my policy of not actually watching football games comes with the playoffs, of course. These are the games that REALLY matter, and I definitely want to see what happens as the best teams in the NFL make their way down the road to the ultimate prize in the world of football. And I definitely need to watch the Super Bowl. That’s pretty much the one football game that even people who hate football watch. Heck, it was watching the Super Bowl at my sister-in-law’s house back in 2004 that got me interested in football for the first time, after years of complete indifference to the sport.
I should mention a couple of qualifiers here. First of all, in case any readers from outside the US haven’t figured it out yet, I’m talking about American football of course. Not the sport that the rest of the world calls football (which we, for some reason, call soccer). I must admit, even though I’m totally uninterested in soccer, it really does deserve the name “football” more than American football does. I mean, although there is some kicking involved in American football, it’s hardly the main component of the game. If you think about it, it’s as ludicrous as it would be if people referred to soccer as “handball”.
Secondly, when I say that I love football, I mean professional football. I’ve never really had any interest in college football. A couple of years ago, I did try to give college football a go. I watched a couple of games, and briefly listened to ESPN’s college football podcast. But I just found the sheer number and variety of different college teams to be a bit bewildering. I also thought about following my own college’s football team, but the school I went to isn’t exactly a football powerhouse, so I never really had much interest. Although there was a player from my school who was drafted by an NFL team a few years ago. I believe he plays for the San Diego Chargers now.
I guess I probably shouldn’t act all surprised that I’m a nerd who loves football. After all, there are several editors from my favorite video game news website (IGN.com) who also love football, and they’re definitely nerds. In fact, I’m pretty sure that being a nerd is a prerequisite of getting a job at IGN. So maybe I’m not so special after all.
Perhaps at this point you find yourself wondering who my favorite team is. Well, I actually have two. I spent my teenage and early adult years in Minnesota, so I have to root for the Minnesota Vikings. But I now live in New England, and it was the New England Patriots’ victory in Super Bowl XXXIX over the Philadelphia Eagles that first got me interested in football. So I really have to give my first allegiance to the Patriots. Fortunately, the Vikings are in the National Football Conference and the Patriots are in the American Football Conference, so they only play each other once every four years. I suppose if there ever came a year in which they both made it to the Super Bowl, I’d have a problem. But I’ll just think of it as a win-win situation.
So, to sum up, I like football. I like all the numbers and statistics involved in football, I like the strategies and maneuvering involved in football, and I like watching grown men pound each other into the dirt. It’s a great combination of brain and brawn. How can you possibly go wrong?