Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like
The internet went nuts last week over the three Jeopardy contestants who knew nothing about football. It’s Super Bowl Sunday. I’ll say it: I know nothing about football.
Well, that’s not true entirely. I happened to be watching Jeopardy that night – last Thursday, I think it was – and answered four of the five questions correctly. I haven’t watched football in probably thirty years, except for the couple of times I took my one of my English friends to a game when he visited. I just don’t like it, that’s all. I don’t relate to the objectives. I don’t like waiting two minutes for a three-second play. I don’t like how, on paper, an NFL game should last an hour but it’s never less than three. And I don’t like how people complain about three-hour baseball games but a three-hour NFL game is Nirvana. The last two minutes of the fourth quarter always take twenty minutes. It’s not a world I want to inhabit.
So why did I know about option plays, fair catches, and offsetting penalties? How’d I know Tom Landry and the shotgun formation? And there’s a lot more I know in spite of my best efforts to remain ignorant of all things football.
The reason I know is that we’re brainwashed as kids. Truly – at least when I was a kid – to have any friends at all you had to be able to talk about football. You had to play football. Not necessarily on the high school team (especially if you weighed 120 lbs like I did), but you had to be up for neighborhood games and flag football in gym class. You’d be ostracized if you weren’t up for it, and fortunately I had one thing going for me and that was speed. I could run fast because I had been running away from big mean guys my whole childhood. So I was always a wide receiver and I’d just sprint out there and wait for the ball to come to me, which it hardly ever did so I was happy either way. Not getting the ball meant that the squad of bruisers wouldn’t descend on me and slap me to the ground like a throw rug.
And in my young-adult world, not only did you have to know about the NFL, you also had to know all about college ball, because even though Mizzou (University of Missouri, that is) never got anywhere close to a bowl game, they were our losers. You might even know a guy on the team from high school. Of course I knew nothing about college ball, so I had to be happy with my scant NFL knowledge and my more comprehensive understanding of renaissance lute music.
Anyway. I know more about football than I want to. And one thing I know better than anything is I won’t be anywhere near a TV when the Super Bowl kicks off this afternoon.
Baseball fans: Opening Day is less than two months away …