5 Reasons Your Guy's Obsessed with Football -- and How You Can Deal

Are you jealous? After all, your man has had a date every Sunday -- but not with you. Instead, he's cozying up to the likes of burly football players -- from Donovan McNabb to Peyton Manning. You might win your man back after the Super Bowl, but next year won't be any different.

Just what is it about men running around with a funny-looking ball that puts your guy in a trance? Brady Smith, defensive end for the Atlanta Falcons, offers insight into what makes your guy go as gaga for the game as you do for a shoe sale. Read on, because understanding your man's passion for pigskin might translate into more passion for you.

Guys want to win. Little boys race each other to the next tree when they're kids, and that competitive nature never ceases. "The mindset: Go out [on the field] and feel like you'll never be denied," says Smith. Your guy isn't much different; he feels like the twelfth guy on the field when he's rooting for his team. He sports the team jersey and lives vicariously -- from the bleachers, a sports bar or his own couch -- through the Smiths of the world. The most loyal of fans feel euphoric when their boys win and heartbroken when they lose. Be there for your guy through the good ("we're going to the playoffs") and the bad ("we're in last place, and our coach just got fired").

He wants to tackle his problems. Men love seeing big strong guys bashing heads and slamming each other to the ground. True, it speaks to their animal instincts. But seeing a battered football player pick himself up and charge for a touchdown is also inspiring. "You can just go someplace in your mind...you find that zone so you can worry about that 325-pound guy in front of you," explains Smith. Observing that sort of determination gives your guy hope that he can do the same when things aren't going right for him at the office, with his pals, with you. Think of it this way: He uses football the way you do self-help books or Oprah. So feel free to encourage his devotion to sports, his form of therapy.

He secretly longs to be a coach. The coaches come up with plays, and the players follow their directions on where to run, where to turn, when to throw the ball, etc. Great coaches -- from Mike Ditka to Bill Parcells -- are part motivational speaker, part father figure, part dictator, all man. Your guy plays coach with his buddies while watching the game. He's anticipating the next play, second-guessing whatever goes wrong ("He should have passed to so and so"), encouraging his favorite players ("C'mon, Smith, you can do it!"). In fact, Smith says that he'll be standing in line at the bank and all the fans want to know is, "Why'd you guys run that play on third and three?" You can support your guy's pipe dream by asking questions about the rules (when the commercials are on, of course). Smith says his girlfriend asks him about the game all the time. "It feels good to be able to explain something you know to somebody else," he adds.

He wants action. Football is fast and intense. Each player has a specific role and is essential to winning. "It's the ultimate team sport," says Smith. Football fans know the preparation and complexity of every play (just like we know the exact layout of Bloomingdale's). For fear of missing a pass, or worse a touchdown, your guy can't take his eyes off the screen -- even if you're standing there naked calling out his name. Smith says he gets a shiver down his spine when he sacks a quarterback. Your man can feel the chill from where he's sitting. The lesson: You may as well keep your clothes on during the game.

Football forges friendships. Two strangers from opposite ends of the country with different political affiliations and lifestyles will bond if they root for the same team. As fans of a particular team, they share a history, and it gives them something to talk about and analyze -- for hours. Watching a game together gives your guy and his pals the opportunity to cheer and shout at professional athletes who are faster, more muscular, richer and luckier than they are. You might feel a little left out, but you can always make sure that your guy feels luckier than everyone when he comes home to you -- after the game. Wink!

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If you would like to share your feedback with writer Kim Caruso, you can email her at kim.caruso@verizon.net. For more information on Brady Smith and the Atlanta Falcons, visit www.atlantafalcons.com.

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