What Are the Benefits of Football?
Playing organized football takes discipline, physical strength, a commitment to improve and plenty of hard work in sometimes severe weather conditions. Football can be a dangerous game that can lead to injuries. However, the game also offers many benefits that can lead to immediate and long-term rewards.
Even though teams play only one game weekly, they practice five days a week. That represents a major commitment to attend practice every day and work hard at that practice to improve your skill level and learn the plays. The hard work can begin on a 95-degree day in summer training camp and may continue until there is snow on the ground in November or December. A player quickly learns that if he doesn't work as hard as he can, he is letting his teammates and coaches down in addition to himself. On the other hand, working hard can bring team and individual honors. Referred to as work ethic, a player can take this with him long after his playing days are over.
Teamwork goes hand in hand with work ethic. In football, nearly every player's success depends on someone else doing his job. A quarterback may throw for three touchdowns and 300 yards, but he wouldn't be able to complete one pass if his offensive line didn't block for him and his receivers didn't get open or catch the ball. The fastest running back couldn't run for 50 yards and a touchdown if the offensive line didn't block the defensive line and the linebackers. The field goal kicker couldn't kick a game-winning field goal if the center didn't make a good snap and the holder didn't catch the ball and place it on the ground for him.
In football, it's not how you start but how you finish. College and professional games are 60 minutes long. Most high school games run between 32 and 48 minutes, depending on the state. Teams can fall behind by one or two touchdowns early in the game, but if the players remain determined they may find a way to come back. Working hard and finding ways to overcome adversity on the field is a skill players can transfer to other areas of their lives.
Learning to Plan
Good football teams win games against teams of a similar ability level by devising a better strategy. Game-planning is a key factor in football and in life. "I learned under Bill Walsh how important a game plan is," said former San Francisco 49er and Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young. "It helped me become a better football player and also helped off the field."
- "Play Football the NFL Way"; Tom Bass; 1991
- "Inside the Helmet"; Peter King; 1993
- Steve Young; Hall of Fame Quarterback; Chicago
Steve Silverman is an award-winning writer, covering sports since 1980. Silverman authored The Minnesota Vikings: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and Who's Better, Who's Best in Football -- The Top 60 Players of All-Time, among others, and placed in the Pro Football Writers of America awards three times. Silverman holds a Master of Science in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism.