I have a question to ask whose entire premise is based on the answer to another question that I assume is “probably not.”
So, before we get to the question I want to ask, let’s first examine the question upon whose answer the former relies for its very existence.
Are there any truly knowledgable Indiana football fans?
By which I mean are there any people who really know and understand the finer points of football, defensive schemes, game strategy, how one exploits the A gap, whether what I just wrote is even a real thing. Is there anyone who is a pure IU football fan, watches all the game, maybe has season tickets, has contributed to the buyout of one of our various former coaches, who knows football in the same way many IU fans know and understand basketball?
I think the answer is either probably not, or maybe one guy in Crawfordsville.
Here’s why I think that’s probably the answer and it is meant, in no way, to impugn the intelligence of IU football fans, if you really truly understand football, appreciate the subtle beauty in the game, can explain to any idiot why a quarterback would call an audible based on the strong safety moving 6 inches to his left, or can tell me if that is a thing that really happens, why in the name of Alex Smith up the middle, would you choose to be an IU football fan?
It has been shown repeatedly and on this very site, that we are statistically the worst football team in the Big Ten for the last two decades and with the exception of the Bill Mallory years and that glorious fall after Bobby Kennedy’s assassination, have generally been very bad for a very long time. So, if you really love the game of football, and truly understand the intricacies of the Cover Two or the strong side nickel shift, or can confirm or disconfirm the existence of either of those things, why would you choose to support the worst team in the Big Ten?
I have no idea.
But, I can tell you this. I am an IU football fan. I haven’t missed a game in I don’t even know how long. I watched last night and that game was almost as long as the College World Series games, which were, on average, at least two hours too long. And if you know anything from reading my columns on IU football over the last four years (our anniversary here is this Sunday), you know that I have almost no idea what I’m talking about when it comes to football.
I wanted to try today to see if I could find some well informed discussion about what we did and didn’t do well on the field last night and I thought I’d go check out a message board or chat room, but then I realized that when looking for reasoned, intelligent discourse on any subject at all, a message board is the exact opposite of where you should go. Which got me thinking about the existence of this rare bird and where I might find an example of such a creature. But what it got me thinking more than anything was this.
Am I the normal IU football fan? Is the normal IU football kind of a moron when it comes to football, but more than a little conversant on the subject of basketball? I feel like the answer to that is yes. I am the mean. Either that or, and this is truly frightening, I maybe I represent a slightly more complicated, but disturbing description of the IU football fan.
As I said, I watch every game, and I know very few people who can (or should) make that claim. I had season tickets all through undergrad and stayed til the end of every game except for the Purdue game my sophomore year which is without a doubt the coldest I have ever been in my life. A T-shirt, Two sweatshirts, a sweater a jacket, gloves, scarf and hat not to mention the long underwear (oops, I mentioned them) were not nearly enough.
So, maybe on the Y Axis of dedication, I am about an 8 or 9.
But, I’ve got to be about a 1 or a 2 on the X Axis of football knowledge.
So, maybe I’m not the norm, maybe there is an inverse relationship between IU football fandom and dedication to the team. The more you know about football, the less interest you have in IU football. The more interested you are, the less you know.
I fear, based on the sample size of me, that this is the case. Eesh.