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4 Reasons to Stop Watching NFL Football (and other professional sports too)

October 13, 2019

(image via wikimedia)

I used to watch a lot of televised sports.  It started when I was a teenager with no athletic ability and slightly below-average social skills.  I was a borderline social outcast until I started watching and talking about football.  Once I could talk sports, I could fit in with just about every group at school (I could already fit in with the groups like burnouts, nerds, and band kids who didn’t talk sports).

I didn’t even have to play sports.  I simply demonstrated my passion for the local team and was more knowledgeable than almost anybody else (without being obnoxious).  I learned that if you were a nerd who could talk about sports, you could talk to just about anybody.

Since then, a lot of my social life has been built around watching sports with friends and family.  I have even written a blog post called 6 Reasons Why Football is the Best Sport Ever  .

Despite my love of sports, I have decided to quit watching.  It’s not just because I’m older and don’t care about fitting in anymore, and now that I think about it, I probably should have stopped watching sports decades ago.  Here’s why:

  1. Watching sports wastes a lot of time.

You can save a lot of time by not watching sports.  You don’t need to watch the games live in their entirety anymore.  There are a bunch of highlight channels on the internet and shortened games (with commercials and time between plays cut out).  You can still be aware of everything that happened without wasting hours of your evenings and weekends.  Watching sports can take up a lot of time, especially if you don’t do anything else while you’re watching.  Most games take up at least three hours and sometimes go even longer.

You can devote your energy for more productive things, especially today with the internet.  If you used that 2-3 hours to learn new skills or spend time with friends/family in a productive way, that extra time could change your life in a positive way.  If you watch football to avoid spending time with your family, then… maybe that’s a different issue.

  1. You can focus on more stuff that matters.

With sports, you get emotionally connected to stuff that isn’t important. It doesn’t really matter who wins a game, yet sports fans get emotionally connected, yelling, getting dressed up, getting into fights. Some fans even get depressed when their team loses.

I’ve felt that before.  It’s easy to get sucked into the emotion of a game.  But that devotion to sports, as fun as it can occasionally be, keeps us from the really important stuff in our lives.

When I’m on my death bed (I don’t think about this much, I promise), I’m not going to regret not watching more football games; I’ll regret (if I regret anything) not accomplishing the stuff I could have accomplished if I had watched less football.  I might even regret the books I didn’t read because I was too busy watching football.

  1. Watching too much sports makes you dumber.

I don’t have any proof (besides anecdotal examples), but I know it’s true.  When I started watching sports a lot, my other cognitive abilities flat-lined.  I struggled in school a little more, especially with subjects that had been easy beforehand.  I recognized it at the time but didn’t care because I was fitting in at school more and the academic drop-off wasn’t significant enough to hurt me.

Once I started wasting hours and hours each Saturday and Sunday watching football, though, huge blocks of study time disappeared.  Since football is an autumn sport, my spring semester grades were always better.  One year I even took a light load of college classes in the autumn so that I could watch more football, and then I took a heavy load in the spring to make up for it. At the time, I thought it was brilliant.  Anybody who doesn’t watch sports probably thinks my idea was really stupid.  From a normal person’s point-of-view, only a football fan would be dumb enough to schedule classes based on games.

  1. Sports don’t unify people as much anymore.

Sports used to be a great unifier.  I grew up in an area where almost everybody rooted for the local football team (the specific team isn’t important).  The team unified everybody, even people who hated each other.  I once hugged a guy (in a masculine way) whom I despised just because of a great play that won a game for a team both of us liked.

But now sports is used to create divisions, which are unnecessary during a time of great divide (though I think divisions in the late 1960s and early 1970s were worse).  I’m not going to get into the specific issues (because I’m not writing this to be divisive), but athletes and team organizations are getting involved in political issues that they had avoided (or stayed quiet about) in the past.   Of course, they have the right to get involved and be outspoken.  I also have the right to ignore them and stop watching.

When that happens, I now realize, we both win.


Even though I don’t watch sports anymore, I still am aware of sports.  I keep track of the scores.  I watch a few highlights.  I read a few quick articles every day.  I know enough to still talk about it, but the time I spend on it doesn’t keep me from doing anything else.

What do you think?  What other reasons do you have to stop watching sports?  If you’ve never watched sports anyway, feel free to pile on with your own reasons.

From → Pop culture

  1. Oh my God, I have a whole blog post dedicated to the issue of sports fandom and how, for the sake of my marriage, I thought I might try to get into the sport that the husband became a big fan of. Spoiler alert: I’ve failed. Normally I don’t push my content in the comments section, but I’m going to break that rule here. Use or lose – it’s totally up to you.

    • At least you tried. In your defense, your husband put you in a bad position by choosing… ugh, soccer… as his favorite sport. Soccer is a tough sport to watch if you’re not interested.

    • justant503 permalink

      Growing up sports have been a big part of my life and after reading your post I would have to agree with a couple of your key points! Sports often time separate each other based on the teams you like which I also think is wrong. Great post!

  2. Where I reside, pro football is subservient to NCAA football. I watch just enough NCAA football to be social, and that’s it. I find it hard to identify with NCAA football fanaticism. Missing a child’s birth to watch a game? There are far more egregious examples.

  3. Football seems to be an especial waste of time. After all, according to a study, an average NFL game has only about 11 minutes of actual play – the rest is players walking around, huddles, replays, and ads.

  4. Haha😂 Well, I have the feeling you would do better than me. I really was one of the worst players of volleybal ever I think😊 Still, I think it’s great that you are doing this, and with some kindred spirits joining in I still hope it’s fun in this way 😊

  5. I just cant stand watching commercials. The only time I ever have to watch commercials is when watching live sports. Nothing worse than being forced to watch some monotonous ad filled with lies that teaches you absolutely nothing. As far as watching sports being a waste of time, I think its all relative to how people enjoy spending their time.

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