The Football Fan's Manifestoby Michael Tunison
Popular football blogger Michael Tunison of KissingSuzyKolber.com offers the no-hold-barred rules and bylaws that every football fan should know in The Football Fan’s Manifesto. With humor and tough love, this It Books paperback original takes readers through the essential rules of fandom, such as picking a favorite team, and teaches them how to/i>
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Popular football blogger Michael Tunison of KissingSuzyKolber.com offers the no-hold-barred rules and bylaws that every football fan should know in The Football Fan’s Manifesto. With humor and tough love, this It Books paperback original takes readers through the essential rules of fandom, such as picking a favorite team, and teaches them how to be true football fans.
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The Football Fan's Manifesto
The Supremacy of Football
I.1 Other Major Sports Are Inherently Inferior to Pro Football and Therefore Unworthy of Our Time.
Professional football is the undisputed god-king of American sports. It always has been so, even back in the times when we hadn't quite realized it yet. The mere existence of pro football obviates the need for all other contests of athletic skill, yet these other "sports" (parlor games, really) remain despite their complete and utter irrelevance. Why we abide by such unnecessary, quasi-athletic diversions when we have the game of football is a testament to our modern excess.
To be fair, these other "sports" do serve some minor purpose. And not only to give us something to mock. Because the NFL has yet to genetically produce elite athletes able to withstand the rigors of a year-round schedule (why the hold up?), we're left with nearly seven desolate months of no meaningful football. During these dark times of despair, some of these lesser sports are all we have to stave off the clammy hands of adult responsibilities and a social life. They're passable, if barely adequate, distractions to fill the hours until the late summer rolls around. That's all. Nothing more. Certainly nothing to get worked up about.
However-and it should come as a great shock-there are depraved individuals out there who maintain that some of these other "sports" can produce a level of enjoyment on par with the NFL. The sickest among these deviants even insist that others sports can provide a preferable viewing experience to professional football. As if such a thing were actually possible.Wrongheaded as this belief is, our permissive, increasingly soccer-tolerant culture has allowed it to propagate in certain circles with an air of acceptance. It's high time we set the record straight. In doing so, hopefully we can reach these woefully misinformed souls before they do something unforgivable like purchase season tickets to the Red Sox.
Baseball-In 1987, Washington Post columnist Thomas Boswell memorably attempted, and epically failed, to enumerate ninety-nine reasons why baseball is better than football. Of course it didn't take him more than five to screw the whole thing up. Singing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" at Wrigley Field is supposed to be a virtue? I guess that's a possibility if one were to disregard the famously awful renditions by Ozzy Osbourne, Jeff Gordon, and dozens of other celebrity duffers. More to the point, the Major League Baseball regular season lasts approximately two and a half lifetimes and feels at least three times that long. A Lord of the Rings movie doesn't drag on as much. By the time it gets halfway interesting in September and October, football season has already begun. Poor timing on your part, besuboru. Half the players in the league now require the services of an interpreter to tell fans to fuck off (at least have the courtesy to cuss me out in my own language, Ichiro). The game falls back on its puffed-up long-gone era of cultural import; meanwhile, MLB playoff games draw about half the audience of an NFL regular season contest. And any sport that considers Bartolo Colon an athlete immediately gets bumped down to second-tier status. At least the fatties in football can block. Unless they play for the Rams.
Basketball-Thanks, but I prefer to stick with sports that I know are only probably fixed. Not to mention those whose leagues aren't teetering on the brink of insolvency. Contraction is a very real threat for several NBA teams, which figures to ruin the lives of nearly dozens of rabid hoop fans. Besides, the NBA Playoffs drag on about as long as the baseball regular season. The perennial powerhouse Spurs might be the most unlikeable team in all of sports. The most compelling story line in recent years is the never-ending drama surrounding LeBron James's eventual departure from Cleveland, as though anyone found LeBron even remotely likeable. And, okay, sure, college basketball is a hoot (for about a month, anyway), but anything that Duke excels at is ruined for all parties involved. Not to mention the disconcerting correlation between getting older and the creepiness of getting emotional about teenagers committing to a certain school.
College Football-The bastard cousin of professional football exists solely as a refuge for aged frat boys and Southerners. Proponents will harangue you endlessly about its superiority to the pro game, claiming that the atmosphere at a college football game is far more raucous than its professional counterpart and that student athletes play for love, not money (okay, love, under-the-table gifts from the university, the promise of future riches, boylike adulation from boosters, and poon up to your hairline). All this is actually fairly accurate, but ultimately moot, because the NCAA refuses to implement a playoff system, opting to continue with its convoluted Bowl Championship Series, which leads to the annual screwing of more deserving teams in favor of USC and Ohio State. It may be true that the way college football conducts overtime is technically fairer, since each team is guaranteed at least one possession. Problem is, it takes goddamn forever. I will say in college football's defense that at least Duke sucks at it.
Soccer-Soccer fans will never fail to remind you that there are more people around the globe who follow "the Beautiful Game" than what they dismissively refer to as "American football." That's all well and good, Ronaldinminihinho, but there are also more people around the world living in abject poverty than in America, so let's all jump on that bandwagon too!
Rugby-I'm not even sure rugby fans actually like their sport so much as they enjoy snottily explaining to you how much tougher rugby is than football because rugby players don't wear helmets or pads. Rugby could actually be fun to watch, but you'll get so tired of the bombardment of smug coming from the guy who spent a summer abroad in Australia that you'll never actually bother to check it out. That, and their fans wear scarves. You know the other type of fans who love scarves? Harry Potterphiles. From this we can conclude that rugby is one step removed from Quidditch.
NASCAR-Fess up, racing fans. This is just an excuse to spend an entire day getting plastered, isn't it? Not that football isn't, but at least football fans don't make it quite so obvious. Nor do they need a hefty supply of OxyContin to make it through the sheer crushing repetition that is watching cars circle a track eight thousand times.The Football Fan's Manifesto. Copyright (c) by Michael Tunison . Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Meet the Author
Sports blogger and freelance writer Michael Tunison is the cofounder of the NFL blog Kissing Suzy Kolber. He is also a contributing writer for Deadspin, With Leather, Pro Football Talk, and Yahoo's Shutdown Corner. He lives in Alexandria, Virginia.
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Note to parents: This book is not for young sports fans. The colorful language is frequently inappropriate for young readers. I like this book. I can say that because I'd made it to page 19 and there hadn't been a direct slam against my beloved Seattle Seahawks. My sympathies to many other NFL teams in the league! I enjoyed a laugh or two at your expense! Actually I have mixed feelings about this book. For starters, I'm female! Michael Tunison has a whole lot of fun with female fans! (Thank God I don't own a pink jersey or show up to games naked in Green Bay, though I did pick my team because of its most awesome team colors and mascot and I refuse to apologize for it!) Which leads me to confess that I'm a Seattle Seahawks fan. Thanks, Michael, for taking it easy on us for the most part! We definitely got off light compared to some other teams. (Nice slam about Alexander's Madden Curse, though you missed an opportunity to showcase our goddess, Mama Seahawk!) I also happen to love Australia and Australian Rules Football, and might make note of the fact that they wrote their footy rules 30 years before Walter Camp came up with the rules of American football. I did particularly enjoy: Listen, you incredibly lighthearted, charming, sunny people...! Oh, and for the record, Hugh Jackman is hot! Minor squabbles aside, the book is hilarious, inappropriate, accurate, crude, enjoyable, inaccurate and gut-busting funny. It's a guy book. It's a fan book. It's gridiron smack-talk at its finest! Is it for everyone? Probably not. If the guy in the stands belching, spilling beer down your back, and stepping on your toes while he exits the row to take another whiz and fetch two more beers annoys you, you may not like this book. If you can trash talk with the best of them, this book may well become your Bible.