North Texas Daily

American football culture is a cult

American football culture is a cult

American football culture is a cult
November 22
15:00 2020

By definition, “cult” means a misplaced or excessive admiration for a particular person or thing. To me, when people are willing to risk their lives during a pandemic to attend a football game, it crosses the boundaries of simple admiration into a cult-like following of people who are willing to do anything to support the game. 

American football has officially been around since the early 1900s. It will probably continue to be around until the end of time. However, despite being a sport that is supposed to bring people together, it has been turned into something a little more sinister. 

When COVID-19 hit America in March 2020, many wondered what would happen to their beloved sport. Their questions would be answered after months of debate and fan input. 

On Sept. 10, the National Football League allowed their first football game on the season, the Houston Texas versus the Kansas City Chiefs. In preparation for the game, the normal capacity of Arrowhead Stadium was capped at 22 percent. For entertainment purposes only, people were willing to attend a live sporting event that could’ve resulted in them contracting COVID-19, thus being able to spread it to others. By doing so, they showed that they were willing to prioritize their “American right to fun” over their responsibility of keeping themselves and others safe.

UNT couldn’t even bring themselves to cancel the football season. I see many people posting their pictures at games and attending homecoming functions, knowing that a pandemic is literally killing many people in its path. At the time of publication, the athletics department has 30 active cases, a fate that surely could have been avoided if safety and student lives were prioritized over entertainment. 

Even before the pandemic hit, many took their love for the sport a little too far.  

In 2018, after the Philadelphia Eagles won the Super Bowl, a riot broke out. Yes, you read it right: to show their intense happiness for the Eagles’ first Superbowl win, fans combed the streets to flip over cars, loot stores in the area and attempt to tear down traffic lights. The riot led to multiple people being injured and three people getting arrested. If this isn’t a class act of excessive admiration, I don’t know what is.

Another time where the “passion” of the game overflowed to the point of physical expression was during a fight that broke out in the stands among fans when the Cincinnati Bengals faced the Cleveland Browns. This one is a little since it occurred not too long ago. By “not too long ago” I mean in the midst of this pandemic, where millions around the world have lost their loved ones. During the game, fans decided to fight one another in the stands. Based on the video, COVID-19 was basically in full force. It’s ironic because if these kinds of careless actions keep happening, there might not be any more football games to go to.

This pandemic has revealed where a lot of American priorities lie. It is not in their health and they surely don’t care about the health of others, but doing what makes them happy. We often don’t listen to these new guidelines that tell us to wear our mask but those who allow football stadiums to open, even at a smaller capacity, know that Americans would not always listen 100 percent of the time. All it takes is a couple of sneezes here and there, a few coughs among strangers and a small amount of shared space for it to spread. Yet, we are risking it all to watch people throw around a ball.

While football is an important aspect of American culture, it is not worth risking your life over.  Am I failing to realize something about the impact of football that makes people risk their lives and act crazy? If you cannot find it in your heart to watch a game on television or over the internet in the comfort and safety of your own home, then maybe you should consider yourself among the cult of American football.

Featured Illustration by Austin Banzon

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Jordan Allen

Jordan Allen

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