A Chief Concern: On Being a Humanist and an NFL Fan
I guess I picked a bad year to stop paying attention, in general, to the NFL and the Kansas City Chiefs. I say “in general” because, over the past 3-4 weeks, I’ve been eyeing a few stories about the team’s successes. The Chiefs are doing well and I’ve mostly missed out.
My first love has always been baseball, but, until this year, I had been paying attention to the Chiefs since 1989. I watched a great many games during the Schottenheimer and Vermeil years. I even attended a playoff game once, in the 1990s, with my father and uncle. I kept following the Chiefs during the first few years of Reid’s tenure.
But I had given up on the NFL—meaning, primarily, watching games—because of the concussion scandal. Why bother with a league and a game that had put its players at risk for so long? It was revolting. It’s hard for this humanist to put aside he disgust I felt for NFL owners, league officials, and coaches. No league, nor the overseers of any organized sporting activity, should ever put profits over the health of its players. I know that corrections have been made to health protocols. But are they enough? How can concerned and feeling fans be sure? (Aside: Yes, one can be a “feeling fan” in the context of football.)
Returning to the present, this Chiefs team seems like fun. They have interesting offensive players, a smart head coach, and an above average defense. They are not the best team in the NFL. That title belongs to the Patriots. Yet the Chiefs appear to be among the best of the rest.
Do I risk attending again? Should I make the Chiefs a concern for my fan-level affections for the remainder of the season and through the playoffs? – TL