Sports Media Guide’s series of interviews with some of sportswriting’s more crucial characters continues with a Q&A with the Boston Globe’s Bob Ryan.
Q. How did you come up with the sausage analogy for football?
A. Because it was perfectly logical to me. There are untold millions of my fellow Americans who sit down on Sunday or Monday night and enjoy what I call a thinly-disguised barbaric exercise “ who don’t care to think about what it takes to get these people on the field “ players sacrificing their bodies and routinely doing things other athletes would question and the judgments coaches make. Many times I’ve met football coaches I like at the high school or college level and I ask them “Why do you choose to do this for a living “ this game is so demeaning and you have to suspend so much humanity to do this “ there are better games than this “ why would a person of intellect and humanity choose to make a life in football?” Most people don’t think about this. So when I call pro football a sausage factory I’m calling attention to a truly barbaric exercise.
Q. How do you personally justify covering football?
A. I’ve said many times that for me baseball and basketball are fun and I love them – and football is a business. Even though I grew up with it and can enjoy a good game based on my accumulated knowledge of history and as a lover of sports drama, which it has to some degree though not to the degree of other sports, and it produces a wonderful atmosphere with large numbers of people in these stadiums and I can enjoy that and I am looking forward to the Ohio State-Michigan game which I can’t deny “ but if football were declared illegal in the next five minutes it wouldn’t bother me.