Why Football Matters

John Harbaugh

Football is under attack, but the game and the values it instills in young men are critical to our society.

The game of football is under attack.

We see it every day in the headlines and on the news. The medical concerns are pressing. The game has taken its share of criticism. President Barack Obama said that if he had boys he wouldn’t let them play football. Even LeBron James has publicly said no football in his house.

The question is asked over and over:  Why would anyone want to play football? And why would anyone let their kids play?

Here’s my answer: I believe there’s practically no other place where a young man is held to a higher standard.

Football is hard. It’s tough. It demands discipline. It teaches obedience. It builds character.

Football is a metaphor for life.

This game asks a young man to push himself further than he ever thought he could go. It literally challenges his physical courage. It shows him what it means to sacrifice. It teaches him the importance of doing his job well. We learn to put others first, to be part of something bigger than ourselves. And we learn to lift our teammates – and ourselves – up together.

These are rare lessons nowadays.

Football has faced challenges like this before.

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