An Irishman becomes an American football fan

If you despair of America, if you’re tired of political shenanigans, if you’d rather watch a real fox in a field than on the network, if MSNBC sounds like a cooking ingredient, then this column is for you.

If you care about inflation, if you don’t care about personal debt with only five dollars in your bank account, if you’d rather win the Super Bowl than win the lottery, then this column this week is also for you.

After extensive research (friends, family, the postman, the Uber driver, the doorman at my office building), I have concluded that there is only one thing that brings America together, an arena where the GOP and Dems can laugh, clap and shake hands and root for the same side, or opposing teams.

It’s called football.

Did you know that 49 of the top 50 programs on cable and network television in the past year were football games?

My question is what was the only show that wasn’t football? (The last episode of The Bachelor, I think.)

Baseball is in shock, unable to get over the fact that, like cricket, it is just plain boring. Hockey is a game once a week on the networks. Golf players are carbon copies cut out of each other without Tiger Woods, football is still the promising game as it was when I came to America in 1979.

Although I love the English Premiership, I am 3,000 miles away and have no intention of getting up at 7am for a midday clash in Britain.

It’s no exaggeration to say that early on football made me love America almost more than anything else. It is so until now.

My daughter is embarrassed when I wear my San Francisco 49ers jersey before every game. I tell her she can always throw her life away waiting for the New York Jets to have a winning season or a quarterback who can throw for 200 yards.

Where does my obsession come from? I arrived in San Francisco just at the dawn of the Bill Walsh-Joe Montana era when the 49ers went from a 2-14 season to a 6-10 season to become Super Bowl champions in 1982. They followed in 1985, 1989, 1990 and 1995 (And 2022 soon to come, I am told.)

I write this column with a literal pain in my butt from being glued to the chair in my living room all day Saturday and Sunday transfixed by the mortal combat presented by the final eight teams of this year’s Hunger Games, AKA the playoffs of the NFL.

Each of the games was magnificent, superb athletes all competing, seeking the crown of glory.

In Kansas City against Buffalo on Sunday night, arguably one of the greatest games ever played, pundits say, it was like an old-fashioned shootout with young quarterbacks Mahomes and Allen tossing the ball from end to end like there. was a booster rocket attached.

And to perish at the thought of forgetting the 49ers victory on Saturday is worth the price just to see Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers slip away at the end after being totally outplayed.

Then there was Tampa Bay and old cowboy Tom Brady, perhaps in the saddle for the last time, coming to life in the final quarter against the Los Angeles Rams but just falling short.

It seems to me that America desperately deserved a weekend like this, full of drama, excitement and wonder. We needed it with Covid finally releasing its stranglehold and life hopefully looking like a return to normalcy and spring on the horizon.

When it comes to the Rams versus the 49ers on Sunday at 6:30 p.m., the Niners have won the last six times they’ve met, but somehow the Rams are the favorites.

Easy Money People – Rams to the Slaughterhouse. Run, don’t walk towards the bookmakers. Go Niners!

*This column first appeared in the 26 January edition of the weekly Irish Voice, sister publication to IrishCentral.

About Betty J. Snyder

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