What Is This Neanderthal Game of Football of Which You Speak?


This is a game to be savored, not gulped.  There’s time to discuss everything between pitches or between innings

– Bill Veeck, 1970, on the great sport of Baseball

I bet when neanderthal kids would make a snowman, someone would always end up saying, ‘Don’t forget the thick, heavy brows.’ Then they would get all embarrassed because they remembered they had the big husky brows too, and they’d get mad and eat the snowman.

– Jack Handy, obviously talking about future football players

Because this fine city of ours provides entertainment for all – even those who enjoy watching grown men aggressively bump into each other,  and because this form of entertainment takes place this upcoming Friday at McMahon stadium at 7:00 PM, and because the hallowed grounds of Foothills Stadium shares a parking lot with McMahon stadium, and because parking is usually free for games at Foothills Stadium, and because parking for games at McMahon stadium usually costs two arms, two legs, and an additional $50, and because the world revolves around making money on parking, and because TSN doesn’t have any poker telecasts to air on Friday night – so they need a football game instead… the proud and historic Calgary Vipers will play their baseball game on Friday with a 2:35 PM start.

And hell yeah I’m still going.

Parking revenue aside, I decided to dig deeper as to why the Calgary Stampeders professional football team (with a winning percentage of .000) would get the prime time Friday evening slot as opposed to the playoff-bound Calgary Vipers professional baseball team (with a winning percentage .698).

This neanderthal game of football is apparently played with your hands more than your feet.  In fact, the only players who use their feet more than their hands – the kickers – are often made fun of, even though they appear to be the namesakes of the sport.  A football has corners, so it’s not even much of a ball.  The local football team doesn’t even play on real grass.  Tickets to this sporting equivalent of Hungry Hungry Hippos on field turf, shockingly, are between three to five times more expensive than equivalent baseball tickets in this city – even though baseball offers you the smell of fresh cut grass, the beautiful sound of a 95 MPH fastball hitting leather, the pure poetry of a 6-4-3 double play, the perfect arch of a high fly ball, and the awesome power display of an opposite field home run.

As part of my research, I was able to compile a table of equivalent routine plays in both baseball and football, and the likelihood that the player(s) who execute(s) the play will either dance awkwardly all by himself, point to his jersey number while nodding like a bull, thump his chest with his fists as if to say “ME!”, or perform a mimed bobsled run with attention-hungry teammates.

I call this The Table of Acting Like You’ve Made A Play Before

Baseball Play Football Play Percent chance baseball player will showboat as described above Percent chance football player will showboat as described above
Catch a fly ball Tackle the ball carrier 0% 96%
Get a base hit Get a first down 0% 97%
Hit a home run Score a touch down 0% 98%
Score a walk-off base hit Kick a game-winning field goal with no time left 0% 100000000000%



See you at the baseball game.

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