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Football is Dead. Long Live Football

In a typical regulation football game, the two teams combine to run roughly 120 plays from scrimmage compared with nearly 300 pitches in a typical baseball game. There are no “waste pitches” in football. Every play is meaningful, consequential, suspenseful. Every play is part of a mighty struggle, a drive, and in the end all 120 plays combine to create a narrative, or metanarrative. Baseball, boxing, handball, sooner or later every game gets compared to narrative, but only in football are the plays perfectly linear, drawn up with letters, and only in football is the field itself lined like a sheet of notebook paper. The meta-narrative of a single football game then fits within the larger saga of Football, which fits within — and helps explain — the masterplot of America.