Jonathan Heisler

With the advent of fall comes several things: the gray, bleak weather that perpetually encircles Binghamton, pulling sweaters out of your drawers — and a huge consumption of pizza, wings and beer that signal the start of football season. People who aren’t fans of the game merely scratch their heads and wonder: What’s the appeal of watching a bunch of men groping and jumping on each other for 60 minutes? Why are guys so enamored with this sport?  

Quite simply, we view football differently than other sports. Football is reflective of our innermost manly nature — it’s action-oriented, violent and aggressive.

“I love football because I feel it’s the perfect combination between brute force and tactical skill,” said Jonathan Rosado, a senior majoring in English. “It’s such a physical, yet cerebral game, and that’s what makes it awesome.”

If we can’t be on the field playing or coaching the game, we settle for the next best thing — hooting and hollering while watching from the stands or the couch. It’s part of our egos, and most people who have played football or any other sport inexplicably have a need to watch, judge and analyze anyone else attempting to play the sport.

This draw to football probably stems from the fact that boys are more likely to be involved with some aspect of football than girls. Men, particularly ex-players, can look at the game and remember what it was like to play, the feel of the pads and catching that touchdown pass. We can appreciate these little nuances, which strengthens our love of the game.

On Sundays we become Aaron Rodgers, dropping back in the pocket, looking downfield for the pass. We transform into Adrian Peterson, receiving the handoff, breaking the tackle and sprinting down the field. We’re transported to the sidelines, shouting at an oblivious defense. Watch the man in motion. It’s a handoff. Don’t get beat outside.

We don’t just watch football. We live it (even if it is vicariously). Every Sunday and Monday we become part of the action, immersed in a testosterone-fueled battle. Any frustrated wife, girlfriend or female companion can attest to the fact that we live the game. Just listen to us yell as we watch, “Yes, go, go, go, go!” or “Damn it, I can’t believe it. How could you screw up that play?”

Or watch our body language, the way we all pull at an imaginary helmet to signal a face mask penalty, the way we all jump up in unison at a great catch or how we wind up at the end of our seats, craning our necks in a futile attempt to see who recovered the fumble at the bottom of the pile on, waving our hands frantically, gesturing that our team got the ball.

Many reasons explain our love of the game, ranging from beer to male bonding.

“Football’s a great team and friend-oriented sport that proves that sometimes chemistry between teammates is more valuable than raw talent,” said Chris Carton, a junior majoring in accounting.

And football repeatedly provides us with what we want: excitement, violence, gambling and an escape. Football renders one of the last safe havens where men can hide from women and shirk our responsibilities. Why worry about that psychology paper that’s due tomorrow when you can watch football all day? The sport is something to look forward to after a week of shuffling around campus. Every fall Sunday, it will be there to embrace you after a night spent Downtown you can no longer remember.

Ultimately, football is a way for men to be wowed and amazed, our eyes fixated on the screen like little kids watching a magic trick as we watch in awe as our favorite players take to the field looking to kick some ass. And that is why we love football.