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We want your input! Letters to AFM should include the name, address and telephone number of the writer. Mail to: AFM, P.O. Box 13079, North Palm Beach, FL, 33408. Or, you can e-mail your letter to us at or reach us via fax at (561) 627-5275. Visit AFM online at

Dear AFM:

You recently asked, "Why does America love football?" There are a lot of possible reasons why football is so popular. In your letter, you mentioned many of the classic ones: teamwork, work ethic, toughness, etc. But, I believe there might be a little darker side of our society that propitiates the interest in the game we love so much.

War is the way to have control and dominance in our society, which reflects the desires of man. Football has a lot of the same components as war: contact, strategy, and ultimately, victory. Many other sports possess many of the same elements, but none to the extent of our game.

With the exception of hockey (which can only be played where ice is available), contact is discouraged in most team sports. In football, contact is an integral part of the game, which looks like combat. When in uniform, a player looks like a solider ready for battle. The terminology we use reminds us of mankind's most destructive forces: bombs, shotguns, explosives, the blitz, etc.

Planning is a very important part of a successful team. Even on the playground during a pick up game, someone must call the plays and "coach." While pick up games of other sports can simply run on automatic without much planning at all.

Many coaches have become heroes because of their "battle plans." Like Generals in a war, their plans alone can create victory or defeat, and the talent they have at their disposal is only as good as the coach's plan. Fans, also, play a big part in analyzing planning and talent, which is plentiful for evaluation, keeping the fans interested from play to play and into each personnel move or decision.

Like war, football is physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausting, played to the brink of injury and beyond. Dominance is the goal in any sport; but, in football, it requires that you beat every potential adversary physically, like in war.

As a student of sports psychology, I have found the comparisons between war and football very extensive and believe football gives men a great outlet to release violent impulses. I believe it teaches that these tendencies can be controlled.

The beautiful thing football gives that war does not is a chance to live to fight again and prove yourself. If you don't think that's important, ask players like John Elway about second chances. Too bad man cannot settle their differences socially on the gridiron instead of the battlefield.

Troy D. White
Newport News Apprentice School
Newport News, VA

Note: Coach White makes some very interesting points in his analogies between football and war, and he is indeed correct in saying it is too bad life's struggles cannot be settled on a playing field instead of with the loss of life. I cannot help but think the invaluable lessons learned on the practice fields by the young men on thousands of teams across the country, can prevent the type of tragedy that occurred in Littleton, Colorado at Columbine High School. If only more youngsters actually participated in their school's programs, rather than stay away and play some facsimile of a real game, then maybe they would feel included and a part of their school. There is no way youngsters learn life lessons playing fantasy video games. BT

Dear AFM:

I just wanted to respond to your request as to why football is so popular. First, let me take an opportunity to thank you for putting out such a quality magazine. I, like many others, eagerly await each issue of your publication.

In response to your query on why football is so popular in this country, I feel that first and foremost, "it is because it is." This means that I really don't think the players, coaches, and fans think about why they love the game so much, they just do. In many parts of the country, football is deeply imbedded in the social phenomenon of the region.

Historically the roots of this American love of the sport goes back to the time the line of scrimmage was invented. In my opinion, this single rule change forever separated the game from rugby and established a "battle line." At this same time, our country was in the process of becoming a world power. With this battle line, and the concurrent national pride, football became a metaphor for our country's new found values.

Football, quite simply, is a territorial acquisition activity. One side tries to gain territory, and the other side tries to prevent this acquisition. These activities are carried out through violence, deception, and skill. Therefore, in football, all aspects of warfare (except death) are present.

Further, the types of people drawn to pursuits like warfare and football are aggressive, "never say die" types who have always been held in high esteem. We love winners, and we love people who never quit.

Also, football is played in the fall. We all know that nothing, NOTHING, gets a school together like a football game, especially one against a rival.

As for why the individual is willing to pay such a high price (year-around workouts, practicing in the heat of summer, getting physically hurt, being yelled at, etc.), Americans relish the chance to put everything on the line with their peers while on public display.

In short, no where else in American society are all of our most deeply held values replicated more so than on the football field.

Thank you.

Brent Glann
Scott City High School
Scott City, Kansas Dear AFM:

A few issues ago you asked why America loves football. I love it. I have been coaching high school football for 32 years, and every Friday night has been exciting to me because I love the contact and strategy involved in the game. As far as I am concerned, soccer will never be embraced because of the lack of contact and strategy.

Glenn A. Goss
Mt. Pleasant High School
Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina

Dear AFM:

As I picked up my May (Dan Reeves) issue of the magazine, I received a pleasant surprise; the magazine is now monthly. I felt like it was Christmas in May. I think AFM is a must for any coach because it covers all aspects of the game. Keep up the good work and "be the best."

Chris Hall
Stamps High School
Stamps, Arkansas


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