10 Reasons Why Football is More Popular Than Baseball
Baseball has historically been considered America’s national pastime; but football is clearly the most popular sport in America today, and there are a number of reasons why.
The U.S. Naval Academy Midshipmen (left) face off against the Colorado State Rams.
Let’s take a look at ten reasons why football is more popular than baseball:
Pace of the Game – As life has sped up over the years, so has the pace of recreational activities and entertainment for many Americans. Adrenaline junkies that we’ve become, we crave a game with more action, less down time. Despite frequent commercial breaks and time-outs, football enjoys a much faster pace than the pastoral plodding pace of our national pastime.
Time of theSeason – Baseball as a spectator sport suffers in popularity by virtue of being played during summer months. People tend to be outdoors and more active. Football is played on weekends during the fall and winter, when more people are indoors.
Length of the Season – Or more specifically, the number of games played. Football seasons are just 16 games long, and so each game has greater importance individually than baseball games, which are played nearly every day for 6 months. One game in a 16-game season carries more weight than one-of-162, so the former tends to be more of an event with viewers.
Gambling – Football also happens to be a huge favorite with Vegas odds-makers, so the betting public does its thing around the gridiron far more so than any other team sport venue. So naturally, if you’ve got money on a game, it stands to reason it’s going to mean a lot more to you.
Short Attention Span Theater – Let’s face it, Americans have a hard time staying interested in anything that lasts longer than 30 seconds without something blowing up. Fans want to see more action and less strategy. Football delivers, while baseball deliberates.
Cheerleaders vs. Cartoon Mascots – OK, so a bit simplistic, but you get my drift. Football is just sexier. It’s hard-hitting, fast-moving, heart-pounding, testosterone-pumping action. Baseball, conversely, is the honor student that “my kid [football] beat up” in the iconic bumper sticker.
Stress Relief – Distasteful though it may be for some to admit, there’s a visceral sense of gratification one gets from vicariously joining in the gridiron mayhem that baseball simply can’t duplicate.
Parity – At the professional level at least, there is a better balance of power among teams. In the NFL parity has become the rule, whereas MLB still suffers from a large gulf between the haves and the have-nots.
Marketing – The NFL is a marketing machine. Whether it’s NFL films, endorsement deals, or Madden NFL, this league knows how to sell its product. Think about it. For a sport that’s played in helmets with face masks, the average fan can probably identify more football players than baseball players.
Rule Changes – The NFL has come under attack of late by many football purists because of some decisions the league has made regarding player safety. You can argue all day about how some rules could change the very essence of the game, in favor of saving a few brains from turning to mush. That’s fine. The bottom line, though, is that the NFL is more willing to adapt its rule book to adjust to the times. Major League baseball too often is paralyzed by tradition, to the detriment of the game’s appeal to the modern fan.