Paul A. Ibbetson
Thank goodness for NFL football!
By Paul A. Ibbetson
September 17, 2011

National League Football may be nothing more than temporary escape for the average America when we must face the rigors of our country's economic crisis, but it helps. This semi-barbaric, violence-laced competition comes just in time and ironically also delivers its own unique, positive message. First, football is truly an American phenomenon. Unlike soccer, the sport that is so popular across the world with its infrequent scoring, rules that forbid the laying on of hands, and the even more bizarre acceptance of ties, (where everyone goes home a loser), our football is made of different, or should I say, better stuff.

Similar to the psyche of the America people, football is a game where the winners and losers are decided on the field of play and not by politicians making midnight deals behind closed doors. If teams have an equal score at game's end, the National Football League authorizes the deliciously ruthless, but very definite rule of "sudden death." Yup, NFL football fans will go home either happy or mad from their game but never with a politically correct score sticker that says, "Everyone's a winner just for coming out and trying. It was a well-played tie."

Football embodies the traditional American economic standard of the famous bottom line, the finality of outcomes that are the result of the tenacious competitiveness of the free market. NFL teams spend as much time jockeying for American talent in the draft as they do molding that talent in practice and making their players perform in game competition. This wondrously unique ballet of acquisition, training, strategy, and implementation unfolds week after week before fans who sit entranced on metal seats in crisp airy stadiums, as well as others who spill popcorn on their living rooms floors while perched on the edges of their couches, rooting their favorite teams to victory. NFL football reinforces with blitzing clarity and precision the words of George C. Scott in his Patton persona when he said, "Americans love a winner, and will not tolerate a loser."

It is certainly not "off-sides" here to mention that the start of the NFL season will employ thousands of people, ranging from those hired by large manufacturers to private vendors who sell individual wares. In truth, the economy will get more positive yardage from this year's NFL season than from Obama's offered stimulus programs. As important as jobs are, football also brings forth that pulse quickening air of competition that combine with a sense of the unknown, as we watch the potential of our favorite players and teams try to rise to greatness through victory. President Barack Obama would be wise to avoid attempting to schedule his future "addresses to the Nation" during NFL games and again for two reasons. The first being that Obama's mantra for the country runs counter to the NFL's as a nation of winners who will always fight the notion that they should strive no higher than to be merely average. Secondly no one likes a coach who calls the same play (socialism) on every down. Barack Obama's answers to the economic problems of America are painfully repetitious and as self-destructive as choosing to run the ball on fourth down with fifty yards still to go.

I hope that as fans across the country begin to invest themselves once again into their own teams and the statistical world of truth and fantasy that NFL football produces that they will take another moment to realize the uniqueness of what this sport does bring to the country. NFL football is the embodiment of the ruckus and flamboyant nature of the American cowboy, combined with the mass marketing skills as embodied by Henry Ford and the automotive explosion. I, for one, am very happy to take a moment to watch running backs hit the high gears in the open lane while linebackers steamroll unsuspecting quarterbacks, or watch quarterbacks "go deep" with the entire game on the line. There is little political correctness in this sport after the snap of the ball, and I doubt any member of the United Nations could make it through four quarters. Throw a flag if you will, but I say that this truth is just another reason why we love this game so much. NFL football is a truly unique American sport, and as this country sits mentally and economically at its own low point in current history, the beginning of the NFL's season has come this year just in time.

© Paul A. Ibbetson


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Paul A. Ibbetson

Dr. Paul A. Ibbetson is a former Chief of Police of Cherryvale, Kansas, and member of the Montgomery County Drug Task Force. Paul received his Bachelor's and Master's degree in Criminal Justice at Wichita State University, and his PhD. in sociology at Kansas State University. Paul is the author of several books and is also the radio host of the Kansas Broadcasting Association's 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011 award winning, Conscience of Kansas airing across the state. Visit his website at For interviews or questions, please contact


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