Football. The very word sends shivers of testosterone through strong men's ovaries. But what IS American footballery? Who are the athletes behind this mysterious sport? How does one do a football game? The answers to no more than two of these questions will be found in this ... the Gentleman's Guide to American Football.
The Origins of Football
Football is, and always will be, a rough-and-tumble game. However, its mortality rate has dropped sharply now that the National Football League no longer issues jousting lances to players.
Originating in New York's Five Points district with teams like the Jets, the Sharks, and the Dead Rabbits, the game was played in the street, and ah, God! -- it was horrifying! Sir, you couldn't advance 3 yards without squelching a loose eyeball underfoot, but if you made a touchdown, you ruled that neighborhood and were allowed to collect protection money until the end of the game.
Women in those days went wild for a footballer, and to seduce a champion, many went so far as to bathe. The best portrait of the game's glory days comes from the autobiography Football & Me: Whaddayagotta Problem Wid' Dat? by defensive end "Jostling" Jim Joyce:
"And me when a hit to the lineman was good in these days for a bare shoulders tart, O! I should love to lick such lovely farty fannies. For me her hair came down but a swollen -- so was the cranium of my addled skully brains that the leather helmet would not take off and, it's alright, said Mara dear, 'tis alright, Jimmy, but her look of disappointment made me weep and then 'twas poverty aye much."
Joyce died of extensive brain damage while writing the book, and critics suspect his editor fabricated the bulk of the text. Its remaining 211 pages waver between masturbation tales and a battle with a cyclops, possibly as an extended metaphor for Joyce's rivalry with the Minnesota Vikings' Odin "Berserker" Borrson. Borrson had only one eye, but man could he scramble! (Interestingly, he was the game's first casualty, killed by a late hit from Skjornmir Icefang of the Shakopee Frost Giants.)
It's just a shame the Ravens weren't a team back then.