Football season never used to mean a thing to me. I was often blissfully unaware of Sunday or Monday night games, and went about my business, hanging out with friends just as I always do. But in the last couple of years something changed. Even my artsy, intellectual, dare I say, bearded hipster friends insist on watching the Seahawks games. Men and women alike.
When I invited a whopping 12 people to a Monday night pie tasting and poetry reading, I ended up going alone because every last one of them chose the 12th Man. I had to change the date of my Hanukkah party because it fell on the night of the Seahawks-Saints game. The Seahawks are ruining my social life! And I thought I was all alone until my club of one was joined by the most unsuspecting person of all.
Former NFL offensive guard John Moffitt, who played for the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos. Moffitt quit the Broncos, and ultimately the NFL, in mid-November, just two games into the season.
"Just the physical toll it takes on your body. I see stars. I legitimately see little blurs in my vision because of head contact. And then, on top of that, I was just so bored of it, so tired of it. I had done it for 20 years. I started when I was eight years old. Just really done with the game."
But I was shocked to hear that he no longer watches games and that he can't find any friends to hang out with on game days.
"In Seattle now, everyone is just insane. Everyone is a zombie in Seattle. I think it's, like, you and me left. I don't really want to watch football. At all."
So what does he do on Sunday afternoons and Monday nights?
"Usually like a movie, alone. Like, everything's alone. Crying a little. It's the loneliness during those times. Then you can't contact anybody because they're all watching the game. So usually I try and do a movie, I play with the puppy, talk to him. That's it though. Drink. You know, drinking helps."
Through the course of our conversation, John confessed that none of his friends or family members know that he no longer watches football.
"So I lie, most times, unless it's someone close or, I can tell you're a friend. You're behind enemy lines, I can tell, you know what I mean? But usually I just lie. I can talk football. I don't even have to watch the game. I can literally just say, 'Did you see that play?' And then I'll just say something general like, 'Oh yeah, the defense this year is just so good.' And then I'll throw some names out and I'll try and mention scheme and that will be it because it's all the same stuff."
John asked me if I lie to people. I told him I have no reason to, being a lifelong sports atheist.
"Do you think I should start being a little more honest about it, like you? Come out of the closet about it? We should have a big coming out party during the game!"
It's pretty shocking to hear that someone who played in the NFL just really doesn't care about the game anymore, but John doesn't think he's the only one.
"I think everyone collectively just wants to get as much money as they can and get out. I mean, some guys really want to play and love it, there's those guys. But there's a big sect, I think everybody understands that it really is a business. They'll cut you or trade you whenever they want."
John says he is happy to be football free so he can focus on his other passions and his health.
"[I want to] lose weight. That's a big one. I've lost weight. I've lost, like, 20 pounds now and it's awesome. When I played football I was between 315 and 325, but I couldn't go under 315. You have to be big. When you're that big you're always hungry. Always."
But eating will be easy in his new football-less life because I have discovered one huge perk of Seahawks mania: I can easily get a table, no reservations required, at popular Seattle restaurants during a big Seahawks game. Which will come in handy when John and I are getting brunch, listening to poetry and enjoying our football free club of two on Sundays and Monday nights.