Football is back and here’s why we love it

If you're here reading this blog, chances are you have a love for Chiefs football. But what is it about the sport in general that draws us so close?

Kansas City Chiefs Victory Parade
Kansas City Chiefs Victory Parade / Jay Biggerstaff/GettyImages

The past few weeks in Chiefs Kingdom have been full of hope and elation surrounding the dawn of a new season right around the corner—one also drenched in uncertainty surrounding the 6'6" 310-pound elephant in the room. It's hard for me not to get into the Chris Jones situation as it's something that I have numerous, passionate opinions about, but it has also been beaten to a pulp on the internet throughout the last few weeks. Therefore, I must leave it alone.

But why am I so compelled by the contractual negotiations between a grown man and a professional sports franchise? Why do others care so much about what these young men desire and at times demand from their teams in regard to financial freedom and leadership roles in pursuit of hoisting trophies and donning rings that cost north of 5 figures?

Why are we so enamored with the actions and vocation of people who, in many cases, are 10+ years younger than us? Why do we jump off of our couches on Thursday, Sunday, and Monday afternoons and evenings when good things happen, and why do we throw things across our living rooms when results don't go our way? Why do our hearts drop to the pits of our stomachs when one of these young men comes up limp on the sideline after a play? Why do we collectively hold our breath when we fear the worst has happened and a serious injury unfolds before our eyes on a television screen?

Across the NFL, Kansas City included, there are many fans who are extremely casual. Those are the fans who catch up on games through highlights and may own a shirt or hat or two of their favorite team that they're tied to for multiple reasons—maybe it's geography, maybe a parent liked them, maybe they really like the colors or they liked a player on that team when they were a kid. But there are many more—particularly in Kansas City—who are maniacal about their franchises. People who absolutely love their teams and love the game of football. But why do we love football? The answer is both simple and complex.

The parameters and qualifiers of finding the answer to that question are almost as varied at the shapes of snowflakes. No one's football experience, especially those that turn into a lifelong love affair for the game, is going to be the same as someone else. Some start from a very young age. Some of you likely remember sitting in a living room somewhere with a parent, grandparent, sibling, or friend listening to your favorite team's games on the radio or watching them on TV. You can almost take yourself back to the moment: what you would wear, how the house smelled, the temperature of the room, the people you were around. The sights, sounds, and other sensory stimulants that took you through those moments of finding a love that you never knew would last as long as it has.

Some people likely love the game of football because of an experience they had previously in life. Maybe the first time someone took you to a game at Arrowhead Stadium? The roar of the crowd, the intensity of the noise as the defense takes the field on a massive third down, maybe the rejoice in the air after a legend like Derrick Thomas recorded yet another sack to get the opposing team off the field. Going back now stirs thoughts and emotions that very few buildings can, and it's because you built a love there that you never knew would last as long as it has.

Maybe you love football because you played the game, at any level. The game of football has taken a public image beating over the past decade when it comes to player safety at every level. While the concerns of the nature of the game are founded in facts, so much good comes from the game for young men and women who play it seems to be tossed to the wayside. Football teaches young people discipline. It teaches them that if you want something, the only way to get it is to work for it. It teaches them to sacrifice. It teaches them that when you get knocked down, the only thing to do is to get back up. The game itself is rooted in resiliency, and no matter what season of life you are in, that is a virtue valuable to every man and woman.

It could be that you love football because a football player or team made a difference in your life. Piggybacking off of the positive, virtuous lessons that young people can learn from the game are countless charitable causes that professional football teams are involved in. On the Chiefs alone you can find Patrick Mahomes helping children in Kansas City with the 15 and the Mahomies Foundation, Travis Kelce's 87 & Running, and programs that the Chiefs and the NFL themselves support like My Cleats My Cause, Chiefs Kingdom Kids, and the NFL's annual Salute to Service campaign.

Maybe you love football because it reminds you of someone or something that you have lost. It is a safe haven for you that brings you warm memories. Maybe you used to watch games with a grandparent that has passed. Maybe you still have a hat that that person wore every Sunday that you now either have in a safe place somewhere or wear it yourself. There could be season tickets passed down from generation to generation, or relics of the past that were once the possession of a loved one that you hold near and dear to your heart.

I love football because of my dad. He's not a diehard Chiefs fan like I've become. He likes the Chiefs, but he is not delusional about them. If they suck, he'll tell you they suck, and if they're great he still won't get too awfully worked up about them. When we were younger it was a Sunday afternoon right of passage to get home from church, turn on CBS, and watch the mostly disappointing franchise battle it out with what seemed like Cleveland, Buffalo, San Diego, Oakland, and Denver every week. Some of you know exactly what I'm talking about if you, too, were brought on mid-'90s to early-'00s Chiefs football. Watching football led, naturally, to wanting to play.

So I played the game. I also wanted to quit going into my 8th-grade season. I was under the impression that at 5'11" and 200 pounds, I was going to be a better basketball player than I was going to be a football player. I came home from the pool one day that summer to find a pair of football cleats sitting on my bed. I asked, "What are these for?" My dad told me football practice started Monday and I would need cleats. After an appropriate amount of pushback, I had to back down from the man who paid the mortgage. I have not and cannot thank him enough for pushing me to do so. I would not be the man that I am today without the game of football, and I would not have the ability to tell "big fish" stories about my career without it. Dad, if you're reading this, thank you.

No matter your reasoning, if you've made it through this entire blog you likely love football as much as I do. While some of us think there's no one on the planet who can love the game as much as we do, we're also probably wrong. There are people everywhere with stories that would bring a tear to your eye about why they love the game—more than I could ever hope to hypothesize about in this blog. Whether you think they love it more than you or not doesn't matter, however. What matters is it is something we are passionate about, and it can bring people from all walks of life together.

In a world where we are seemingly as divided as we ever have been, football being back is something that can unify us again, even if for just a few hours one or two times a week. And that, my friends, is a blissful thing.