Beating NFL addiction

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Beating NFL addiction is a challenge for some Americans. They spend hours each Sunday afternoon, and evenings on Sundays, Mondays, and Thursdays, watching a meaningless game that causes harm and expense to themselves and others. In addition, many who are addicted to the NFL waste additional hours during the week thinking about, discussing, or reading about the NFL, or even playing "fantasy football."

NFL addiction is not new: in 1958, a massive television audience of 45 million people watched the NFL championship game, and that audience would be have been even higher if the New York market had not been blacked out under outdated restrictions because the game was played at Yankee stadium.

What are good ways to overcome this harmful and costly addiction? Possibilities include:

  • schedule other activities during game times, such as shopping, exercise, writing letters, driving to a gas station to fill the car, cleaning/organizing, going to church, reading a book, watching a movie, or even sleeping.
  • recognize that God does not care about who wins NFL games, so why do you?
  • keep a tally of how much time you spend each week on the NFL, and reduce it towards zero.
  • spend time with the 90% of Americans who did not watch NFL games on Thanksgiving, rather than with people who are obsessed with the game.
  • realize that no one regrets towards the end of his life not having spent more time watching NFL games.
  • recognize that the NFL takes people away from their marriages, their churches, and the Bible.
  • pick your favorite team and then learn to root against it.
  • learn to replace thoughts about football with wholesome, productive thoughts.
  • join the movement to cut off the billions of dollars in annual taxpayer subsidies that flow to the NFL and its billionaire owners.
  • warn others against the high percentage of drunken fans who create heightened safety risks on the roads after each NFL game.
  • avoid buying products or patronizing businesses endorsed by teams or players.
  • wear a rubber band around your wrist. Every time thoughts of the NFL come into your mind, pull back the rubber band and snap it against your wrist. This negative association with the thoughts you are trying to avoid will reduce their occurrence.
  • talk to a leader at church, and let them know what you are trying to do. The rubber band plan is even more effective if others know what the band, and what you are trying to accomplish, means to you. When you are trying to overcome your unwelcome inclination to watch NFL games, you are not alone. Rely on God's chosen leaders.
  • if you do backslide, and start watching the first quarter, it's OK. Keep rooting against your favorite team, and thinking about the harm you're doing to your marriage. Resolve to snap the rubber band before the second quarter starts, or before halftime. Keep warning others about drunken fans.
  • shortly before the Super Bowl, people at school or work, or others from the secular world, will want to talk about the game. Profess disinterest, and show them your rubber band when you rebuff an invitation to a gathering where the game will be shown. At the gathering, make sure others know why you are rooting against the team you want to win, and keep talking about the safety risks and the harms to marriage done by viewing the game.
  • if the team you have been rooting against this whole time has finally made it, don't despair. They might still lose. Snap the rubber band harder and more frequently than ever before, and resolve to talk to your pastor in the event that the team you hope loses wins. Don't celebrate; they will probably have a terrible draft position.
  • if an unfortunate, but predictable, tragedy takes place while you were watching the game where your team had the chance to take one of the top playoff seeds, don't feel guilty about the fact that you've been watching the games during the whole season. Even if only one week is left in the season, there is still enough time to renounce your attachment to the outcome of the games. Why watch the final week, or weeks, depending on how the league responds to the tragedy, since playoff seeding is obviously not the most important issue? Wait until the league decides whether or not to complete the game, and keep snapping the rubber band regularly, just as you have been doing all season.

See also