You may be aware that we are approaching Super Bowl Sunday (Sunday Feb 5th).
Which means we have to talk about football. And cows.
Because footballs are made out of cow skin leather (yeah, I don’t really want to talk about the whole “pigskin” thing today).
About 600 cows give their hides to make a season’s worth of NFL footballs. Probably not voluntarily. Especially since a cow only has about a one in 17 million chance of becoming a ball that is used in the Super Bowl. So when you watch the game, you’re basically watching the ungulate lottery winner.
I think it would be cool if each ball were stamped with the name of the contributing cow. Like, “This ball brought to you by Betty Cow #4987351.”
When you measure it (I have not, but apparently other people have), it turns out that most of a professional football game is not about playing football (shocking but true). And I’m not even talking about the commercials because that’s another post for another day. The vast majority of time in a football game is spent on replays, arguing about the call the ref made 20 minutes ago, players standing on the sidelines, players lining up at the line of scrimmage, players huddling, injury delays, time outs, and head coaches looking inscrutable.
Another fact (still according to MFtI): The huddle was not invented by Joe Neanderthal. It was invented by Paul Hubbard, a legally deaf quarterback from Gallaudet University, who “huddled” other players together so he could hear them better and to protect them from the other teams’ prying eyes. Three cheers for Paul Hubbard. And for the rest of the world for not saying that the players are “hubbarding” up.
One of the best inventions IMO, is the yellow first-down line they show on each broadcast. I don’t believe this has reduced the number of arguments about whether it should be first down, but I do believe it has added a level of faux science and magical complexity to the discussion. Personally, I love that line (it’s right up there with the “they have to get to this point to have a shot at kicking a field goal line”). It turns out that the yellow line costs (you should probably be sitting down for this) $20,000 per broadcast (over $5 million during the regular season). Worth it? Heck yeah.
Almost as much as identifying the football donor.