I love football. It is definitely my favorite sport. I enjoy the game and have since I was a little kid. I am passionate about my favorite teams, and I really get into the game. I sometimes get upset over bad calls by the officials. I can be vocal while watching. I’ll even yell at the TV at times (dumb, I know). But, at the end of the game, whether my team wins or loses, it was just a game.
Too many people have forgotten that it is just a game. Fans have truly become fanatical. Some take things too seriously and tend to go to far. Yelling at the TV over a bad play or missed call by the official is one thing. Sure it is dumb when you think about it, but no harm is done. The TV had no feelings to hurt. Unfortunately some fans in the stadiums have taken their outrage to a whole new level. They have forgotten that it is just a game. Please understand that I’m not saying all fans are this way. Certainly not! Most, I would say, are like me. We are passionate about our teams. We cheer, get worked up, sometimes even boo, but we are respectful. However, those who forget this is just a game have muddied the waters. Let me explain.
This weekend I watched the AFC Wild Card playoff games. The early game featured Kansas City at Houston. The game was one-sided, as KC won 30-0. That game, however, was reasonably calm. Sure there were penalties and some heated moments, but mostly it was just a game. Except for the disrespectful fans. Houston fans, in their home stadium, were booing their own QB. He certainly wasn’t playing well, but booing someone from your home team is very disrespectful. That, however, was nothing compared to what would happen in Cincinnati.
The late game featured Pittsburgh at Cincinnati. It is no secret that these two teams do not like each other. The officials had made it clear that they would not tolerate certain behaviors on the field. Of course that didn’t stop some players, but I really don’t want to talk about them. Instead I want to focus on the fans in the stands. I have watched football, both on TV and from the stands, for nearly 40 years. In all those years I have never witnessed such disrespect and, quite honestly, vulgar behavior as I saw from Cincinnati fans. Here are some examples of why I say that.
I learned something at an early age. When there is an injured player lying on the field, you sit quietly in the stands out of respect for that player. Then, once the player is up and being taken off the field, you applaud – again, out of respect. During the game in Cincinnati there was ZERO respect for injured players. When Ben Roethlisberger was injured I was absolutely disgusted with what I saw and heard. As he was being carted to the locker room some fans we booing him and throwing bottles onto the field. Disgraceful! But, that’s not the worst thing that happened. Later in the game, Antonio Brown took a viscous hit. A flag was throw against Cincinnati, and while Brown was on the ground fans booed and threw debris onto the field. So disrespectful! Then I heard this today.
I was watching Inside the NFL on ESPN and heard that, while Antonio Brown was lying on the ground, a fan yelled from the stands, “I hope he’s dead”. This, my friends, was the last straw! That comment prompted me to write this post. If, in fact, that really happened then we have truly sunk to a new low. Regardless of which team you are cheering for, hoping a player is dead is NOT something any decent human being does. Come on people! What in the world is wrong with people?
This should open up everyone’s eyes to this fact. Football is – hear me clearly on this – JUST A GAME!! That’s it…nothing more. Sure, for the players it is their job, but it is still just a game. I want my team to win every game they play, but win or lose the fact that it is just a game doesn’t change. My life will be no better or worse if my favorite team wins or if they lose. Lighten up, folks! Support your team…cheer when they score…boo, if you must, when the opposing team scores…yell at your TV! But, remember, IT IS JUST A GAME!!