The week of Thanksgiving is about food, family, a frantic Friday, and, of course, football. Plenty of football.
And while you watch America's favorite sport, you will have plenty of time to ponder a few of the more puzzling aspects of America's favorite sport. Consider:
1. A bright-eyed 18-year-old who just scored a key touchdown in a college football game gets a 15-yard penalty for showing a little emotion. A jaded 38-year-old who just scored a routine touchdown in the NFL makes Sports Center for his elaborately choreographed jig.
2. Two thirds of plays result in a penalty, a video review, a commercial break or an ankle break. With that high a rate of futility, you risk not being a real sport anymore (that includes you too, baseball, where batting .290 is considered admirable.)
3. Between those penalties and injuries and commercials, the teams stand around in a huddle, just to give fans more time to fidget.
4. A college pays millions to an NFL coach to develop its star recruit. A TV network pays billions to televise the exploits of that star recruit. And the star recruit is banned as a "cheater" if he lets a fan buy him lunch.
5. A team can be physically punished for 55 minutes, then win by getting lucky with a couple of onside kicks.
6. Tens of thousands of 60-year-old men pay $10 a month to squat on Internet sites, studying footage of shirtless high-school football players doing summer workouts, and eagerly discussing the chances that those teens will soon end up on their alma mater's campus.
7. Budweiser actually thinks it's increasing its market share by paying millions of dollars to air commercials at the same moment that the viewer is running to the bathroom, which also results in fans at the stadium lying around quietly for the better part of four hours. (In soccer, the teams just wear the advertisements on their jerseys and get on with the game, which should put us action-oriented Americans to shame.)
8. The most revered person on the team is the backup quarterback, whom the fans haven't seen play but whom they've heard great things about.
Add it all up, and hopefully you'll find yourself spending more time throwing the football around this week and less time watching it on TV. Happy Thanksgiving.