Football is special, like a game of chess. But instead of pawns and rooks we get ruthless gladiators running full tilt and head on. It's a glorious combination of high strategy colliding with brute strength.
The game as we know it didn't even exist before 1906. It was 1958 before the game began exploding in popularity, not coincidentally, shortly after TV became a common household pasttime.
Football is practically made for TV. Baseball is awesome in person and worked well on radio, but really struggles to translate to TV. We can't even see what the runner on 2nd is doing until they take focus off the pitcher. And when the ball's hit, the cameras struggle to follow the runners and the ball at the same time. But football lines the players up into a single TV frame for each and every play. Each snap we see 22 men aligned against each other. The ball and the runner stick together. The start and stop game allow the instant replays and commentary TV facilitates so well. And the sponsors, who pay for it all, naturally adore the built in commercial breaks.
But when the game comes on, I don't think of it. I just sit with my kids and we cheer. Or sometimes cry.
And just as TV helped kick the NFL to success, perhaps our new medias will bring us new games. The biggest sporting events in 2055 could be completely unknown at the moment. Popularity is always in flux. The ground floor is out there. Who will create the next NFL? Could it be you?