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Armour: If Football Didn’t Exist, Would Your Life be Better or Worse?

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Army defeated Navy for the first time in 14 games on 11 December, 2016 in Baltimore. Photo: Danny Wild, USA Today Sports

Your lucky jersey is washed and ready to go, your supply of face paint is restocked and Frito-Lay is assured of meeting its third-quarter numbers thanks to you.

But as you keep one eye on the clock, willing it to speed forward to Thursday night – this one, the next or both – give a thought to an idea making its way around Twitter on Tuesday. What, the Internet asked, #IfFootballDidn’tExist.

Please, no screaming or hyperventilating. This was a social experiment by Hashtag Roundup, not an actual drill.

“It just gets people talking. Our tags exist more for the humor aspect of it,” said Robyn Dwoskin, co-founder of Hashtag Roundup, an app that poses questions each morning. “This one probably hit a nerve to some of those football fans.”

But as college football gets underway in earnest Thursday night and the NFL kicks off next week, it’s an interesting thought to ponder.

@Shea Browning: #IfFootballDidn’tExist Friday Night Lights would just be me staring upwards in the Walmart parking lot. 

Now that’s just sad. And, long-term, probably not the best thing for your eyes.

Fortunately, there were a few other ideas.

@RetiredSimi: #IfFootballDidn’tExist: I guess there’s curling

Don’t laugh. Vernon Davis loves curling, and has already said he plans to be at the Pyeongchang Olympics to get his fill in person. If it’s good enough for the Pro Bowl tight end, it’s an idea worth considering.

* * *

The next idea not only kills time, it broadens your horizons. All these years, we could have been playing fantasy darts. Fantasy poker. Fantasy rock, paper, scissors. Just about any activity can be interesting if there’s money – or trash talking — involved.

@JDejuan2: #IfFootballDidntExist I’d spend Sundays yelling about my fantasy bowling team

(And before you ask, yes, fantasy bowling is very much a thing. Ask any Wisconsinite. See if they’ll share some cheese curds while you’re at it.)

* * *

I like the spirit here, though I’m not sure about the execution of it. Also, I’m pretty sure firing up a grill and cracking open a cold one on the sidewalk outside Madison Square Garden or the Staples Center might get you arrested. But, again, applaud the effort.

@thewatcher85: #IfFootballDidntExist I’d have to tailgate NBA games.

* * *

Now, there were some people who were delighted by the idea of no football. Many expressed concerns about repetitive head trauma and the toll the game takes on the long-term health of the players.

@Solely_Toya: #IfFootballDidntExist I’d probably see a lot less patients with concussions.

* * *

Some were just happy the soccer-football debate would be settled once and for all.

@Rower41: This must refer to USA football. Don’t be tricked. #IfFootballDidntExist

(This is not to be confused with the contingent of soccer fans who took the question seriously. Arsenal fans, I’m sorry for your pain.)

* * *

For most folks, though, the thought of no football was a source of great angst. Or what daily life is like for a Buffalo Bills’ fan.

@citizendolan: #IfFootballDidntExist the #Chargers wouldn’t of been able to find new and creative ways to disappoint me season after season.

An opinion echoed by fans of the Giants, Jets and about a half-dozen other teams, for what it’s worth.

* * *

For some, the question actually produced something of an existential crisis.

@Brockfest: #IfFootballDidntExist I wouldn’t have a name. I was named after a @Giants player.

@AM_Page: I wouldn’t exist

That’s just a tad on the dramatic side. But the popularity of the question was a reminder of the very large role football plays in American society.

And the many things we’d miss if it really didn’t exist.

@Bobbo1123: #IfFootballDidntExist We wouldn’t have Roger Goodell to kick around

By Nancy Armour

This article was republished with permission from the original author and 2015 Ronald Reagan Media Award recipient, Nancy Armour, and the original publisher, USA Today. Follow columnist Nancy Armour on Twitter @nrarmour.

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