Why Don’t Women Like Football?

A girl's dream: beefy, good-looking guys, commercials, underdogs and great rivalries

I like football. I’ve always liked football, or to be more accurate, when I was in high school I liked football players and so I went to all the games — though at the time, I didn’t understand all the rules. In high school, when the cheerleaders would jump around and say ”first and 10,” I thought they were saying “first in 10,” like they had 10 tries to move the thing along, how many yards I wasn’t sure, but I jumped up and down at what I believed were all the appropriate times and celebrated with all the football players at the party after the game.

[SIGNUP]It was pretty much the same experience during college. Yup, I figured I had all the handle on football that I needed so I don’t really know where my love of the game developed. I’m guessing it was shortly after I married. It didn’t seem reasonable to still be ogling the ball players any longer so I started paying attention to the game. That was over 25 years ago, and I am hooked. I love to watch our Eagles but I’ll watch any professional game, really. I have a fairly good layman’s understanding of the game and spend every Sunday screaming at the quarterback, the coach and the ref. Let’s face it: Football is perfect. Lots of beefy guys mixing it up, a divisional system that creates exciting rivalries, odds-makers who produce underdogs, great commercials, and some amazingly good-looking players. A girl’s dream.

So why am I the only woman on the couch on Sunday? We don’t invite other couples to watch because the wives, more often than not, will be totally disinterested in the game and keep talking about something else. Any talking at all really is annoying. Why don’t more women love this game? I see plenty of female fans at the stadium, and I can find a friend here and there to talk some football trash but, by and large, women don’t like football. I’m confused. In a previous post, I pointed out that the baseball spitting obsession makes it too gross to watch; tennis and golf are not team sports; basketball and ice hockey are okay … but football, what’s not to like? Even the commentators are worth tuning in. Howie Long? Come on girls, he could talk about ice skating and I’d pay attention.

Maybe it’s because they don’t know enough about the game or the individual teams to decide which team they’d like to see win. Let’s face it: Any sporting event is more fun to watch if you’re rooting for one side or the other. You know, a little competitive spirit among the other fans there in the living room.

So ladies, here’s my system. I pick the team I’ll root for based on geography first. I’m a hater on the other Pennsylvania team and the Cowboys, well, just because. Then I take a look at some girl-variables like how cute the quarterback is (yes, Mark Sanchez) but he can’t be too cute or married to a supermodel (yuk, pretty-boy Brady). Can’t have a cheater for a coach (Belichick), can’t be doing nasty things with the cell phone (Favre) and can’t have ugly uniforms (Seahawks, what’s with the lime-green stripe?). Then, if all else is equal, I’ll settle in to root for the underdog. Now it may not exactly be the rules of Fantasy Football but it works well enough to give me a clear choice for my favored team on any given Sunday.

Settle in with the popcorn, turn off the ringer on the phone and hope that any problem my daughter or girlfriends need to discuss can be wrapped up at half-time.