Why Football Matters: A Defense of the Game

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It's football season, but if you're finding yourself a little distracted from the game itself, you're not alone.   

Between the controversies over the violent behavior of NFL stars Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson, and questions about the judgment of Commissioner Roger Goodell, plus growing attention to the League's policies on head injuries, the conversation this fall seems to be all about what's wrong with the game. 

"I've always enjoyed being a chick who watches sports and surprising dudes with my knowledge," one fan in Beltsville, Maryland told The Takeaway. "But this year, being a woman, I feel so underrepresented and under valued by the NFL big wigs that I've become disenchanted by the whole game."

The Takeaway has addressed the league's problems at length in recent programs. But why do we love football in the first place? And what is it that the game has to teach us? 

Mark Edmundson, a University of Virginia professor of English, takes up those questions in more in his new book, "Why Football Matters: My Education in the Game."

“There’s a dearth of heroes in the rest of culture and one of the reasons NFL players get so inflated is that people find it hard to find heroes outside of the world of sports,” says Edmundson. "I mean they are brave, but there are braver people. They are daring, but there are more daring people—but we don’t come in contact with them.”