Pro Football in Los Angeles
Bringing Back the Dumb


One of the great blessings of currently living in Los Angeles proper is that professional football is non-existent. Without it, Sundays in LA have been sublime — a sharp contrast to the steroid influenced irrationally inspired exuberant violence the city experienced only a few decades ago.

Football is a thudding sport that brings out the dumb in people.  Do I really need to elaborate on why concussions are not a good thing?  It should be enough to say that without pro football LA is a healthier place to live.

A lot of you right now are probably thinking I’m a libtard and a wuss pussy.  You may, if you’re literate, even consider countering my remarks with a quote by professional football’s iconic coach and holy spirit Vince Lombardi who once said “Football is like life — it requires perseverance, self-denial, hard work, sacrifice, dedication and respect for authority.”  

Please.  Lombardi’s quote is so overtly Tony Robbins it could have been the motto of the Hitler Youth, and going down that road will only distract us from the matter at hand.

Conservative columnist George Will said it best.  "Football is a mistake. It combines the two worst elements of American life. Violence and committee meetings."  I agree.  I hate meetings — and violence, well it’s just an extension of, as I said, dumb.  Unfortunately, Los Angeles is, at present, being sweet talked into dumb.  The people here are actually being told that they need professional football.

Matt Faulconer of the Bleacher Report, the self-proclaimed “leading publisher of original and entertaining sports editorial content” on the web, says that LA is suffering from a sports deficit.  Faulconer says, and I quote, “Los Angeles is missing one key event in its town — a football team.”   In case you hadn’t noticed, Faulconer is saying that our city is the possessor of itself and that an organization is an event — thereby proving my point:  Football brings out the dumb in people.  But touché on me, dumb people rule the world.  That’s why there are at least two competing plans to build a new LA football stadium and rumors that either San Diego, Minnesota, Oakland or Jacksonville will move their pro teams here.

Recently, the Anschutz Entertainment Group, a Southern California based Colorado owned sports and entertainment business announced that it had secured a 30-year naming-rights deal with Farmers Insurance for a planned $1 billion retractable roof stadium to house the, as of yet, unnamed pro football team.  Anschutz would get $700 million over 30 years in the deal if the team and stadium are in place.  The stadium, to be built on land downtown currently occupied by the Los Angeles Convention Center, would be called Farmer’s Field.  How organic.  An Insurance Company is just the sort of business that you’d expect to sponsor a place associated with dimwits trying to hurt each other.  

AEG’s owner, evangelical Presbyterian Philip Anschutz, got his start using his Daddy's Kansas-based oil-and-gas business as a pipeline to riches in railroads and later as a conduit to profits in the telecommunications industry. That's where the young Anschutz made Enron-style insider-trading headlines as the owner of Qwest Communications. Forbes magazine, that beacon of capitalism, actually named the 63-year-old billionaire the “greediest executive in America.”  Holy crap.  That’s like Fox News calling Glenn Beck America’s most irrational TV personality. 

Speaking of America, Anschutz is just what this country needs, another hypocrite who calls himself a Christian even through he’s unfamiliar with the beatitudes.  This is precisely the sort of person you’d expect to lead LA back to the days of violence it experience as an NFL franchise town — a period of violence that culminated in the 1992 Rodney King civil unrest / riots.

Blissfully, since the Raiders and Rams left LA in 1994 (and the city became pro-football free), violent crime here has been in decline.  In fact, the homicide rate in 2010 was the lowest since 1965. You might consider thanking the absence of a pro football team for that.

Football breeds violence.  It’s a fact. In 2009, researchers David Card and Gordon B. Dahl found that upset losses in Sunday pro football games led to a 10 percent increase in the rate of at-home violence by men against their wives and girlfriends. Furthermore, unexpected losses in important or particularly frustrating games had a 50 to 100 percent larger effect on domestic violence. Card and Dahl aren’t alone in their findings.  Earlier research also revealed that football game-days are associated with higher rates of violence across the board.

So before LA squeezes Farmer’s Field between the Harbor Freeway and Staples Center, it needs to ask itself if it really wants to revisit Bloody Sundays — the punt and grunt mindset, the marketing of over-amped Michael Vick clones, the gladiator thug culture and the emotionally unstable men who celebrate it.   

Los Angeles has always been a city unto itself.  Why should it care if most of the country’s other big cities have football teams? That’s their loss.  I bet they’ve got more violence, too.   The sweet absence of professional football is what sets LA apart.  For the sake of Sundays, let’s keep it that way.

— Nathan Callahan

First Broadcast Feburary 18, 2011

© / Nathan Callahan / all rights reserved


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