It’s Sunday. You’re sitting on your couch scratching your... itch, hungover as anything and contemplating all the life choices that led you to this point. Your Twitter timeline is full of imbeciles throwing fits over what actually consists of a catch, or how “woke sports” isn’t good for ratings. You turn on your TV to see the fuss and immediately switch to This Is Us reruns because even that’s not as depressing as the NFL these days—also, the starting quarterback for the team is AJ McCarron and you watched him beat your team enough just over four years ago. You don’t want to see him play again.
Look, I’m a football girl. I love football. I was in Philly for the Super Bowl, and I climbed a tree and I started a Foles chant. But when I was younger, I used to root for the Cowboys just to annoy the crap out of my friends and family. The only honest time I ever voluntarily watched the NFL in high school was the rare Thanksgiving game when the Titans were broadcast nationally.
And then, I went to Auburn.
Something about a tailgate that started on a Wednesday, having classes cancelled on Thursdays and Fridays because you couldn’t get to campus. No parking because of all the RVs. The hot southern sun beating down on you well into October and then it starts to get cool, the leaves start to change and conference play is in full swing. If your team is lucky enough to have a prime time start, you watch all the other conference teams play before drunkenly stumbling into your stadium with all your friends cheering your team on to hopefully vie for a national championship.
And the best part? The kid who’s never going to go pro just made the amazing game-winning touchdown catch late in the 4th quarter.
There are a lot of reasons college football is better than the NFL.
1. The Players
NFL players just don’t care anymore. They’ve reached their goals. They got that paycheck. You got the best each college has to offer playing at the same level on the same fields, and they fumble the balls and whiff the plays. And then they stand with their hands on their hips like, “Welp. Oh whale. It was 4th and 3 anyway so can’t be expected to make that.” Except that’s exactly what we expect of you, tight end making millions to drop that catch. That’s exactly what we expected of you.
2. The Tailgates
Nothing beats an SEC tailgate. Nothing at all. My friends who’ve been to Penn State tailgates used to laugh at me when I told them SEC tailgates were nothing like they’d ever expect, and then they came to a Georgia game and were in complete awe. I’ve been to tailgates at Brewers games that were better than any NFL tailgate I’ve been to. SEC tailgating is like a religion, and I still to this day don’t understand how working people are able to take off Wednesday-Friday and the following Monday to drive their RV across the state to watch a football game on the TV.
3. The Traditions
Where in the NFL do you get to cheer and high-five your players hours before the game as they enter the stadium? When have you seen anybody rolling trees after a good win, and the police officers supplying toilet paper? An entire packed stadium singing “Take Me Home, Country Roads” in complete unison? Ohio State “Dotting the i”? You think a couple of cheese hats and a literally terrible towel is going to top any of that?
4. The Fans
How do I begin. They’re just a different... breed. Half the teams in the NFL are first generation fans because they’ve only been around 20 or so years. You don’t find “lifelong Titans fans” because the team in Nashville is only a teenager itself. And the teams like the Patriots and the Eagles, who can say things like, “I’m a fan and my dad was a fan and his dad was a fan,” they’re just plain OBNOXIOUS. “We’re from Philly, No one likes us, we don’t care?” Really guys? Tell me more. You’re just so convincing.
I guess college teams can have a bad crop of fans as well, though. But at least they’re actual diehards.
5. The League
If it looks like a catch and quacks like a catch... still not a catch, apparently. And now we have an entire new standard on the National Anthem? The NFL has become a bit of a joke. The ratings have never been lower, at least that’s what all the amateur analysts tell me on Twitter, and “woke sports” is not good for business. Again, thank you Twitter analysis. While the NCAA is not without its faults, at least they let the boys play. At least they don’t make a mockery of themselves or the system on the playing field. They do that about a hundred other ways, every other day of the week.
I could go on and on about why I’d rather watch college football than the NFL. (Oh wait, I already did.) But ultimately it just boils down to this one sentiment:
I’d rather watch mediocre players make amazing plays than watch amazing players half-ass mediocre plays.
If you make me choose between football on Saturday or football on Sunday, I’ll pick Saturday. Every. Single. Time.