I am a football fan. A hardcore football fan. In the classes I teach, I use more football analogies and examples than anything else. I taught parallel lines to a group of middle school students breaking down a 4-3 defense. Yes, I love football. But I am not football. I am a father. A husband. A teacher. So, my heart weighs heavy on the events set to take place in East Rutherford, NJ this weekend as the Pittsburgh Steelers travel to take on the New York Giants. But should they?
I am really conflicted on this. Once part of me understands why they are playing. For one reason, it’s money. The league produces a product and that product makes them billions(with a B) of dollars and so I understand the league’s desire to continue that. This is a marquee matchup between one of the top teams in each conference and will almost assuredly be a huge ratings draw. Some consider this point of view greedy and I get that.
I also see the point that having the game in the wake of all the damage and devastation of Superstorm Sandy gives the people of the area a sense of normalcy if you will. It also give many of them somewhere to go and be on Sunday afternoon and help them forget about all the bad things that have happened in the past week. This is all rational and logical to me.
But sliding to the other side, should they be playing? The stadium they are playing in could be used to house those who are homeless or deposed temporarily. Also, there will thousands of items sold in terms of food and drink at the game, all of which could be donated to those residents who’ve lost everything and are struggling to make it. Isn’t the NFL heartless to promote this even of such waste and excess right under the noses of people who’ve lost so much already? The people who got it worst almost certainly won’t be able to attend. For the sake of good press couldn’t the league at least donate all revenue from the game to recovery, or offer some sort of discount or free tickets to those who’ve been effected by the storm?
This is an argument that obviously has no answer. Everyone has their own feeling on the matter and will reconcile them. Even in my own mind I can see the validity of both sides. My conscious tells me they should postpone the game, and do for the people whose lives where destroyed by the storm. But my head tells me there are some great reasons that this game should go on for those people. I guess my best answer to this is go ahead and play, and I will watch, but fans should all understand that sports is just a game, no matter how much we love them, and the reality of the world is so much more important.
What do you all think? Should they play? Come find me on Twitter @nfldraftboard and let me know.