"Football Frenzy"
By Capt. Fred Davis
Published: Friday, October 13, 2017

Footballmania has arrived.

Although not my favorite sport, it seems to be the most popular — especially in our area. I don’t often write about it. I prefer to leave that job to the excellent sports reporters. I do believe college games draw the most interest because school alumni are strong supporters that feed the hype for their teams.

I have to admit that this year, I got caught up in the intense hype surrounding the Michigan vs. Michigan State game — which was reported as the 110th meeting of the two teams spanning over a century.

The history of the rivalry between the teams is very entertaining and explains why there is such excitement about the game. After being turned down at the ticket counter, groups of fans gathered around the homes of members with the largest flat screens. Guests were encouraged to bring the beer and snacks and if the game got lively, the walls shook from all the cheering. Because the game was between two teams from the same state, the intensity of the cheering mounted.

As I see it, a strong drawing card to get involved in footballmania is the beer that just seems to be a partner to it. There does not appear to be a gender disparity — men and women alike get into tailgating frenzy. Reporting on the game, one of the newspapers carried a special section regarding fans pacing themselves because the game would be under the lights.

One of the local markets near the stadium said by 2 p.m., shelves were going bare and 24-packs of a favorite brand of beer had been sold out for hours.

This year, I am committed to watching football because my family members are so supportive of various teams. My granddaughter is a proud alumni of Michigan State, and therefore, we all cheer for them. As I watched the game, views of the 100,000 fans seated in the “Big House” were amazing.

When the announcers kept warning of a huge storm bearing down on the stadium, I wondered how they would all exit without a problem. How surprised I was to see them all sit through the deluge of rain still cheering their teams on. There was happiness in our clan as the game ended but I must confess, some of us were sound asleep.

Another team I am backing this year is the Lions, as most former downstate residents probably are. It has been years since a good football team from our area has risen to prominence in the NFL. My reason, once again, centers on a family member, my grandson and his parents who have not lived in Michigan for over 30 years. They live in Florida, but I swear I can hear them cheering for their team all the way to Port Austin. This year, they are going over the deep end in their quest for victory. After the results of last week’s game, I knew I could not call them because they would be in deep mourning.

I recently learned I have a new team to support, the Denver Broncos, when I viewed my great-grandson Rayland, who lives in Arizona, wearing their T-shirt and wildly cheering for them. It seems his dad is from Colorado, and even though surrounded by Cardinal fans, he remains loyal to his team. He is determined to encourage his son to do likewise.

An interesting history tidbit about the Broncos is that they were the first ever AFL team to defeat an NFL team — the Detroit Lions. It happened in 1967, only eight years after the team was granted a franchise to join the league.

So my final analysis of the whole football frenzy is that football fans are the most loyal and devoted, but it could just be they are also the ones who can consume the most beer.

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