Wild Card Weekend was wonderful. It was much too cold to go outside Saturday and Sunday here in Maine, but there were two football games between high-level teams to watch both days. What’s not to like? Next weekend will be similar: two games Saturday — including one with the hometown Patriots at Gillette Stadium — and two more on Sunday. Tremendous athletes at the top of their abilities will compete and I’m a football fan again.
Readers of this column know I’m a political junkie, studying the latest developments for at least two hours every day. I watch Sunday morning political programs on at least two networks, but when afternoon comes I don’t want any more politics. I want to watch football. This season, however, politics creeped into the game during the national anthem and that put a damper on Sunday afternoons for millions of us. It wasn’t good for the teams as they saw lots of empty stadium seats. It wasn’t good for TV networks or the NFL either because they lost viewers. I kept watching Patriots games but some of the shine had gone.
Mainstream media gave national anthem sit-downs and kneel-downs plenty of attention at first. Then it all backfired after President Trump weighed in and accused players of lacking patriotism. Many fans agreed and voted with their feet by staying away from games. They voted with their remotes by refusing to tune in at home on their TVs. Revenue declined. After that, media stopped their political coverage by refusing to film the playing of the national anthem before gametime. Politics went out the exits. Football fields went back to being exclusively athletic arenas and politics didn’t make the playoffs. Hurray for that.
When my family was young there wasn’t time to watch football, but by the Tom Brady era our nest had emptied and suddenly there was time. I could again experience total immersion in a sea of testosterone. Football is a male world and I hadn’t realized how much I missed it. Don’t misunderstand; I love women. I’ve been sleeping next to one for almost forty-seven years. I have a mother, four sisters, three daughters, two granddaughters and love them all. I also spent thirty-six years in education — a female-dominated profession. Even our two family dogs were females. Can I be forgiven if sometimes I prefer the exclusive company of men? Too bad if I can’t.
The rest is here.