Football and Politics – When the Game takes a backseat

Football on field

There was some seriously good football played this weekend: the Kansas City Chiefs bettered the Los Angeles Chargers, the Greenbay Packers took the Cincinnati Bengals into overtime for the win, and the Tennessee Titans outscored the Seattle Seahawks, just to name a few.

But every tackle, pass, and yard gained was overshadowed by the protests over players kneeling for the National Anthem. The games garnered more tweets about who was locking arms or remaining off the field than over which teams added a victory.

No matter which side of the debate you fall on, you may wonder, “How in the world did football become so political?”

Sure, you could be quick to judge Kaepernick for spearheading the movement, and Pres. Trump for blowing it up, but politics and football are really nothing new.

Last year, Remington Research conducted a nationwide survey that found about two-thirds of respondents opposed professional football players using “the N.F.L. as a stage for their political views.” The number was markedly higher in opposition for men than women.

Football and patriotism seem to go hand-in-hand, right? Haven’t we all witnessed the spectacular military salutes held by NFL teams and the zooming jets flying over pregame festivities or halftime shows?

A February 2017 article in The New Yorker revealed that “the Department of Defense paid about six million dollars to sixteen N.F.L. teams, between 2010 and 2015, to hold various salutes to the military.” The same article refers to the mingling of the U.S. Military and the NFL as “cross-branding.” Patriotism or profit? You decide.

Meanwhile, on the playing fields…

The Jaguars overthrew the Ravens; the Eagles managed to pin the Giants to a big 0 in their wins column for the new season; Detroit was literally robbed of a fourth-quarter win over Atlanta, and Aaron Rogers fired off a 72-yard pass to Geronimo Allison to save the Packers from death by Bengals.

The Miami Dolphins could not get it together against the New York Jets, who slapped them with a 20-6 loss. The Texans almost upset the Patriots with a narrow 36-33 score. Denver struggled to complete passes and allowed Buffalo to take them with a 26-16 win.

The Colts grabbed a win from the Browns; the Carolina Panthers were mauled the New Orleans Saints 34-13; the Chicago Bears attacked the Pittsburgh Steelers and took the game into overtime to win 23-17; the Vikings held down the Buccaneers.

All in all, the football was some of the best (and worst) we’ve seen in a while. But the games took a backseat to political statements from London to Los Angeles.

Tell us what you think about the changing game of football. Do you miss the brutal playing or follow the brutal tweets? Do you think it is possible for football and the NFL to regain its unity? Check out SFNews11 on Twitter or Facebook to share your opinions.


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