To Save Football, Demystify It

Tell us more about the game, and make sure what we see is flattering: Nicholas Dawidoff
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 22, 2013 12:44 PM CST
In this Nov. 25, 2001, file photo, Miami Dolphins' Oronde Gadsden, right, hauls in a pass under pressure from Buffalo Bills' Nate Clements.   (AP Photo/Mike Groll, File)

(Newser) – Americans are developing conflicted feelings about the NFL. "They love football ... but they are repelled by the thought of enjoying a blood sport that brutalizes the minds and bodies of players," writes Nicholas Dawidoff at the New Yorker. But Dawidoff has a solution: Show us more. "Is there an activity that Americans give more of their attention to and know less about than professional football?" he asks. Most of football life occurs inside secretive practice facilities, and most players are anonymous "video game avatars."

But Dawidoff got a look inside while writing a book on the Jets, and saw a "compelling backstage world … filled with admirable people and fascinating workplace rituals." Expose that world, and make sure we like what we see. Instead of "lawyering up" to avoid safety questions, the NFL should be funding research. "We should learn that engineers in Detroit look to the NFL as they attempt to design safer cars." We watch sports to identify with players. "It's only natural that we care about them all the way down." Click for Dawidoff's full column. (Read more NFL stories.)

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