Football's Social Impact
Football's Social Impact
Darrin Chiaverini (Football Coach and Professional Athlete) gives expert video advice on: Why does football grow in popularity?; What is the 'Super Bowl'?; Why do fans tailgate before a game? and more...
Why does football grow in popularity?
I just think that the networks have done a great job of exposing the NFL and football to the masses. They get those huddle cams, they get those overhead cams that are in the huddle and can see what the players are talking about. They get the sideline cameras going. They have all the audio, like NFL films. I think that the networks do a great job of showing all the things that go on in a football game and all the constant struggles back and forth on offense and defense.I think people can appreciate that because football is kind of like a microcosm of our society so far as struggles on a day-to-day basis of trying to live your life and get through the struggles and when you get knocked down get back up again. I think people can relate that to football and I think that's why its so popular.
What is the 'Super Bowl'?
The Super Bowl is definitely America's game and that's when the two best teams, one from the AFC and one from NFC get together and play a game. If you have won a Super Bowl, you get a Super Bowl and its something that you will cherish for the rest of your life, as not many people have one. I don't have one and I don't know any players who have ever got one. So its the biggest game of the year everybody waits for. Everybody waits for Super Bowl commercials to come on and it's really turned into something spectacular, and whatever year I cant wait to watch the game and see what's going on on the field.
Why do fans tailgate before a game?
I think it is just a gathering of people to get together before they go to the game. They enjoy being around each other and that event, football brings them there every Saturday or every Sunday to cook steaks, to cook hotdogs, hamburgers, drink beer with your buddies, socialize about the game. It is a bonding experience for a lot of people. Just like in any other sport, like Nascar, tailgating is huge; everybody brings their campers out. Its definitely something that is tradition for a lot of families, a lot of people and its going to continue to grow as the sport grows over the next 20 to 30 years and its something special.
Why do Americans love football?
I think it really is just a family gathering. If you notice, in Green Bay, I mean, you can't get season tickets there. The wait is 30 years for a season ticket holder to get a season ticket. I think it's a family gathering. Thanksgiving, everyone is watching football after they eat turkey. On Christmas Day after you open your presents you turn your football games on. I think it's a national pastime. Everyone says baseball is America's pastime but I think football is America's passion. Everybody loves the game and wants to watch it and wants to be a part of it and wants to root for it, wants to be part of something special, and I think football brings that out. It brings people together. People are tailgating before games. They're drinking beer in parking lots. Its camaraderie, it's like a brotherhood, and whether it's a man or woman or child or your grandma, your grandpa, they all can relate when it comes to football, and everyone has something in common with football.
How have fans who follow football changed?
I think, for the most part, the things that have changed with fans is that they're way too derogatory to players, and the things they say to players. And they don't understand that players are people just like them and things that they say have an effect on them. Even though they're getting paid money to play this game, it's still a game. And talking about peoples families, and making derogatory comments about someone's sexual preference, I think is stepping out of the boundaries. And they wouldn't like it if that football player came across that field and really did something to them, they wouldn't like that. And I think the fans get way to much freedom on what they can say to players and talk down to them and be derogatory. You know you can heckle players in the right way. Say things that are not negative and derogatory and still make it fun. And so I think that fans think that they have a right because they bought a ticket to say whatever they want to a player. And you don't. You shouldn't be able to say some of the things that they say to players. And I've been called things that I think that are inappropriate and you shouldn't be able to do that. And I think that fans take way to much leeway in what they get away with on a daily basis.
Why do fans heckle football players?
They just think they bought a ticket they can say whatever they want. They think that because they bought a ticket, they have the right to call you whatever name they want, talk about your family, people's religion, color, or sexual preference - I think that is totally wrong but there really isn't a way to police it. They won't like it if someone's coming to their job and saying those things to them. It's a game, enjoy the game. You can heckle players, go ahead. I even heckle players, but you can heckle in a positive way. Heckle in a way that is not derogatory or demeaning. I think fans take that way too far. If one of those players came across to them and did what they really want to do to them, it wouldn't be pretty. It'd be all over sportscenter.
What's wrong with football today?
The problem with football today is there's just too much individualism. It's a team game, it's not track and field. And the problem is when someone does something individual, does a dance, or showboats, or tries to draw attention to himself, then he gets the attention, not the team which is the more important part of that. I think that's what breaks up a lot of teams- that there's just too much individualism, there's too much about 'me,' it's a 'me' sport, or I'm not getting the ball, or you're not blocking for me. It's a team effort and sometimes you're going to make mistakes, and sometimes the other guy's going to make mistakes. But I think the problem with football today is there's just too much individualism, and the news media just runs with that, and they print it all over the papers, and they put it all over the newscasts.
What does football have that other sports do not?
Things that different about football is it has 16 games to play. It's not like basketball that have 82, it's not like hockey where you get 80 something games, or baseball you have a hundred 16 games. You have 16 shots to play this and that's it. And if you don't give your best shot each and everyday or those in 16 weeks. For one you going to lose your job, for two you're not going to play offs. In baseball you can go on for 30 streak or not pitch well for 5 shorts start. If your quarterback and you have 5 straight bad games you lose your job. It's just different, each and every game matters in football you can't say about other sports. Our games mean something every week and there's something on the line; play off positions decisions. And if you lose a game you could fall out of the wildcard hunts. There's a lot more at steak each and every week.