What are some of the traits which have served to define American culture over the years? Most individuals would provide examples such as a staunch sense of independence, national pride and multicultural identity. However, sports have also played an important role in shaping this society. Although many individuals will cite baseball as the great American pastime, the fact of the matter is that football comes in at a close second place. Why has this sport captured the hearts and minds of millions of fans from all walks of life? What features set it apart from other activities and how has football learned to embrace supporters of all ages? You might be interested to learn the psychology behind these two seemingly common questions.

Supporting the Underdog

Americans love a good story about an individual who rises to the top of the heap even while in the presence of daunting odds. This only makes a great deal of sense, as the roots of this country can be traced back to times when it was struggling to free itself from the grip of a nation which at the time was one of the most powerful entities on the planet. This is the very same reason why many football fans love “hail-Mary” passes and other strategies that have come to define the game over the years.

Football is all about hardcore competition upon the gridiron; a battle of physical strength as well as mental aptitude. Indeed, only the strong will survive. Underdog teams and players who seem to be able to overcome insurmountable odds are therefore some of the most popular attractions of this sport. Of course, this is also one of the main reasons why fans will remain loyal to specific teams (such as the Buffalo Bills) even though the chances of winning the coveted Superbowl title are normally relatively slim.

An Immortal National Pastime

Thankfully, the NFL has started again and is one of America’s most popular sports. Still, why is this pastime so unique in its ability to define the identity of an entire nation? The answer is likely similar to that associated with baseball. Football is a uniquely American sporting activity. Unlike other examples such as rugby, ice hockey or marathons, football was born and bred throughout the American heartland. While you can always read more on the National Football League here, this is also why it has always been associated with a certain amount of patriotism.

The irony is that modern football as it has come to be known is a relatively new pastime. Anyone who takes a look at how this sport was played during the early half of the 20th century will notice some stark differences when compared to modern times. This seems to matter little to fans, as the notions of two popular teams squaring off within a massive stadium continue to attract the young and old alike. So, we should not expect the popularity of football to wane any time soon.