The National Football League, or NFL, is the premier professional sport organization in the US. It is also arguably the official religion of America.
Some speculate that America's love of football stems from it's similarity to war. But perhaps it is also do to the Americans love of money. The NFL makes approximately 6 billion dollars in profit each year , and most teams are valued around 1 billion dollars. That's more than the MLB, and more than the NHL, NBA, and NCAA earnings combined. Also it is roughly half of Wal-Mart's annual income. This is impressive considering most stadiums only host 8 games a year.
Revenue comes from ticket sales, merchandising, and advertising. Particularly notable is the television commercials associated with the NFL. On their biggest day, the Superbowl, some viewers watch solely for the commercials. Advertising may be quite out of hand in the modern era, with networks going to a tv break after just a kickoff, and the implementation of instant replay review for more commercial breaks. Perhaps best known is their beer commercials, the apparent life blood of every NFL fan.
With only St Patrick's Day and New Years Eve as the only major occasions to binge drink, the AA or Alcoholics of America decided to have a more weekly reason to destroy their livers. With baseball too boring for the average fan to get blackout drunk to, and basketball and hockey not providing the open air for vomit and urine dissipation, the NFL seemed the obvious choice. The practice of tailgating before a game also allowed for a unique "drunk since breakfast" experience. The NFL tends to taunt the lightweight fans watching at home with beer ads, sarcastically asking them to "please drink responsibly" at the end of each commercial.
Undoubtedly the number one attraction of the NFL is its complete brutality. As such, you're pretty much guaranteed to see at least one major injury and several minor ones during a game. With hockey players far too tough for fans to revel in seeing them in pain, and having to wait forever for a knockout punch in boxing, and rugby being way to foreign for Americans to trust, football provides just the right level of violence. Throughout its history the NFL has been quite innovative in its methods of mayhem, (much more so than Tommy Lee and Fred Durnst were in theirs). Helmets were completely optional in the earliest decades, and were not mandatory until 1943. Even though implemented as a form of protection, most used it to spear their opponents, often leading to spinal injury, a practice which still continues to this day. Once the facemask came around, players saw a golden opportunity to attempt breaking their opponents neck through facemask tackles which eventually became illegal. Other practices, typically common amongst the linemen, included punching, kicking, biting, and eye gouging (See Romanowski, Bill). The latest chapter in the great book of football brutality is in regards to the incredible size and speed of modern players. Due to modern advancements in diet, weight training, and performance enhancing drugs, players are bigger and faster than ever before, leading to more forceful hits.
The hot button issue in the league now should be long term effects of multiple concussions, but most fans have expressed more concern for the potential lockout in 2011.