The Quote Garden
 “I dig old books.”
 Est. 1998

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Quotations about Football (American)
And a Few on Rugby, Too

Related Quotes      Super Bowl      Soccer      Sports      Cheerleading

NOTE:  Some of the quotes on this page were submitted to me by visitors, and not all have been verified for original source or wording. I'm working hard to confirm everything, but in the meantime please be aware of the possibility for errors.  —ღ Terri, March 2021

In life, as in football, you won't go far unless you know where the goalposts are. ~Arnold H. Glasow

Only in a game like this do you see grown men playing patty-cake. It's the rawest of emotions out here. ~Cris Collinsworth, 2016 November 27th, Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos

Football is, after all, a wonderful way to get rid of your aggressions without going to jail for it. ~Heywood Hale Broun

Academe, n.:  An ancient school where morality and philosophy were taught.  Academy, n.:  [from academe] A modern school where football is taught.  ~Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary

Most football players are temperamental.  That's 90 percent temper and 10 percent mental.  ~Doug Plank

Let's face it, you have to have a slightly recessive gene that has a little something to do with the brain to go out on the football field and beat your head against other human beings on a daily basis.  ~Tim Green

You have to play this game like somebody just hit your mother with a two-by-four.  ~Dan Birdwell

      Only those who have sat for hours on a hard bench and watched Felton Taylor or Leroy Hunt "buck the center" for a fifteen-yard gain, or a Hittell or a Clemans run around the end, only those who have seen Henry get down under a punt by Oscar Taylor, or seen a long return by Tobin, while cold chills chased each other delightfully up and down the thousands of vertebral columns to the accompaniment of a pandemonium band of anything that will blow, ring, or rattle, and the air is filled with red and white, cardinal, or blue and gold, — only those who have been there can understand the strong hold that football is taking on the fancies of the public on this Coast. It is an imported infection, whose germs have been carefully propagated by Camp and McClung, though the disease has long lurked in the blood, and broken out in more or less violent attacks for the last ten years.
      The present inoculation bids fair to produce a mania.... High schools, academies and towns are throwing aside the baseball mask for the nose protector and the padded trousers. The tennis dude is substituting for his immaculate flannels the mud-stained canvas jacket and cultivating a football bang. In other words, football has become fashionable and popular beyond all precedent. ~Phil Weaver, Jr., "Inter-Collegiate Foot‑Ball on the Pacific Coast," The Overland Monthly, February 1893

Football combines the two worst things about America:  it is violence punctuated by committee meetings.  ~George F. Will

To be sure, every football play is in a sense a short narrative. First come the signals of the quarterback. That is the preliminary exposition. Then the plot thickens, action becomes intense and a climax is reached whereby the mood of tragedy or comedy is established. ~Heywood Broun, 1922

Pro football is like nuclear warfare. There are no winners, only survivors. ~Frank Gifford, 1960

Thanksgiving dinners take eighteen hours to prepare.  They are consumed in twelve minutes.  Half-times take twelve minutes.  This is not coincidence.  ~Erma Bombeck

If you're mad at your kid, you can either raise him to be a nose tackle or send him out to play on the freeway. It's about the same. ~Robert Perry Golic (b.1957),

      But, as a vehicle for transporting passionate patriotism hither and whence, as a valve for blowing off the surplus steam of pride, football is supreme. By the time a game is ended in friendly mud, blood and bruises, the only sentient sentiment left is the desire to park the personal pronoun on something deep and downy.
      If football were more plentiful than diplomacy there would be less war. It has been asserted that Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton. It's a great pity it wasn't. Had it been decided by football instead of cannon ball, by warm leather instead of cold steel, by booting instead of shooting, the face of History might have grown less grim.... Bonaparte, instead of dying on St. Helena, might have lived to play at Olympia.
      If the only battle-fields were football fields, Nationalism, Patriotism and all the other "isms" that simmer in the souls of nations, would be dissipated in the inspiration and perspiration of the football field. The League of Nations would be a referee's retreat, Geneva would be a place where nations could kick as much as they liked and no harm done. Stalin's Ogpushers and the Hitler-Mussolini fifteen would decide their differences and achieve their goals with boot and ball instead of blood and broil. All would be well with the world, and there would be no bitters in Geneva.
      ~Kenneth Alfred Evelyn Alexander (c.1890–1953), "Football Facts And Fancies," in The New Zealand Railways Magazine, 1937 August 2nd  [Context note: This NZ football is rugby. —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

A lawn-tennis mind cannot appreciate a football soul. ~"Poor Richard Junior's Philosophy," The Saturday Evening Post, 1903, George Horace Lorimer, editor

At the base of it was the urge, if you wanted to play football, to knock someone down, that was what the sport was all about, the will to win closely linked with contact. ~George Plimpton, Paper Lion: Confessions of a Last-String Quarterback, 1965

FOOTBALL  A clever subterfuge for carrying on prize-fights under the guise of a reputable game. ~Charles Wayland Towne, The Foolish Dictionary, Executed by Gideon Wurdz, Master of Pholly, Doctor of Loquacious Lunacy, etc., 1904

The game was ended, and the noise, at last had died away, and now they gathered up the boys where they in pieces lay. And one was hammered in the ground by many a jolt and jar; some fragments never have been found, they flew away so far. They found a stack of tawny hair, some fourteen cubits high; it was the half-back, lying there, where he had crawled to die. They placed the pieces on a door, and from the crimson field, that hero then they gently bore, like soldier on his shield. The surgeon toiled the livelong night above the gory wreck; he got the ribs adjusted right, the wishbone and the neck. He soldered on the ears and toes, and got the spine in place, and fixed a gutta-percha nose upon the mangled face. And then he washed his hands and said: "I'm glad that task is done!" The half-back raised his fractured head, and cried: "I call this fun!" ~Walt Mason (1862–1939), "Football"

Baseball players are smarter than football players.  How often do you see a baseball team penalized for too many men on the field?  ~Jim Bouton

One of the great disappointments of a football game is that the cheerleaders never seem to get injured. ~New York Tribune

Football is a miniature war game played under somewhat more civilized rules of conduct, in which the team becomes the military force of the school or university which it represents. In fact most of the combat principles of the Field Service Regulations of the United States Army are applicable to the modern game of football. ~Percy D. Haughton, Football and How to Watch It, 1922

Football is not a contact sport; it's a collision sport. Dancing is a good example of a contact sport. ~Duffy Daugherty (1915–1987), The Los Angeles Times, 1963 October 5th

When I went to Catholic high school in Philadelphia, we just had one coach for football and basketball.  He took all of us who turned out and had us run through a forest.  The ones who ran into the trees were on the football team.  ~George Raveling

The reason women don't play football is because eleven of them would never wear the same outfit in public.  ~Phyllis Diller

"Time out," yells the referee as twenty-one players untangle themselves from a seething, struggling mass of humanity. ~Percy D. Haughton, Football and How to Watch It, 1922

Baseball is what we were.  Football is what we have become.  ~Mary McGrory

Is there a point at which every Sunday during the NFL season ceases to make a man feel like a kid on Christmas morning? ~Mike Alexander, @MADfit

I quickly learned what many Sunday widows already realized — that football is not a game but a religion, a metaphysical island of fundamental truth in a highly verbal, disguised society, a throwback of 30,000 generations of anthropological time.~Arnold J. Mandell, "A Psychiatric Study of Professional Football," 1974  [An interesting predecessor by 75 years: "So when women take to Golf they ought first of all to realise that it is not a game but a religion, that it is calculated to improve both body and mind, that it ought not to be taken in hand, as the marriage service says, unadvisedly or lightly, but reverently, discretely, advisedly, soberly. It is no use for a woman to announce her intention of going in for Golf unless she is prepared to... put away foolish things." ~John Strange Winter, "Ladies on the Green," Golf Illustrated, 1899  —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

I do not like football, which I think of as a game in which two tractors approach each other from opposite directions and collide.  Besides, I have contempt for a game in which players have to wear so much equipment.  Men play basketball in their underwear, which seems just right to me.  ~Anna Quindlen, Living Out Loud, 1988

College football is a sport that bears the same relation to education that bullfighting does to agriculture.  ~Elbert Hubbard

"Are you ready...?" The referee blows his whistle. It is a supreme moment. The pent-up feelings of the past year are suddenly released and one is brought face to face with the realization that within the coming two hours the pendulum of the Fates will swing either to victory or defeat. ~Percy D. Haughton, Football and How to Watch It, 1922

Watching football is like watching pornography.  There's plenty of action, and I can't take my eyes off it, but when it's over, I wonder why the hell I spent an afternoon doing it.  ~Luke Salisbury

There are two kinds of people in the world, Notre Dame lovers and Notre Dame haters.  And, quite frankly, they're both a pain in the ass.  ~Dan Devine, former Notre Dame football coach

The Rose Bowl is the only bowl I've ever seen that I didn't have to clean.  ~Erma Bombeck

Football hardened men to greatness, Camp swore, much like the Western frontier had until the 1890 census confirmed its closing. He liked to think that he was merely compensating for the loss, creating a new frontier that was equally rugged, delineated by chalk marks and nestled in less open spaces in urban centers, where American males needed outlets for their energy.... When critics lambasted Camp for the roughness of his game, [his college teammate, artist Frederic] Remington implored him not to kowtow to their namby-pambyism. There was no longer anything in American life—not a mythical West or an Indian war—that counteracted the forces of feminization like football. ~Julie Des Jardins, Walter Camp: Football and the Modern Man, "Introduction: The Forgotten 'Father of Football,'" 2015  ["Camp was popularly known for making football a rougher sport, and yet his daughter remembered him as a gentle man who wrote poetry." —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

I love to watch football on TV, and I will tell you exactly why: I have no idea.... Whatever the attraction is, a lot of women seem to be immune to it. I have seen women walk right past a TV set with a football game on and — this always amazes me — not stop to watch, even if the TV is showing replays of what guys call a "good hit," which is a tackle that causes at least one major internal organ to actually fly out of a player's body. The average guy cannot ignore something of this importance. ~Dave Barry, "Fools For Football," 1994 January 16th, The Baltimore Sun

My idea of a good hit is when the victim wakes up on the sidelines with train whistles blowing in his head... I like to believe that my best hits border on felonious assault. ~Jack Tatum, They Call Me Assassin, 1979

[T]hat old September feeling... of summer passing, vacation nearly done, obligations gathering, books and football in the air.... Another fall, another turned page: there was something of jubilee in that annual autumnal beginning, as if last year’s mistakes and failures had been wiped clean by summer. ~Wallace Stegner

[F]ootball is inherently an American game and essentially a college game. In it we find most of the red-blooded ideals which we are proud to believe are particularly American. ~Percy D. Haughton, Football and How to Watch It, 1922

The televising of football right now is just off the charts, it's so phenomenal between HD and cable cam and all the rest. I was just sitting in my living room the other day watching those two games and you're there. You're right there. You're in the game and the sound is great. It's phenomenal. It's the essence of live television. It's unscripted and beautifully choreographed. The technology is terrific. If you're in this business, there's no better day than this. ~Al Michaels, NBC Sports press conference, Super Bowl XLIII (2009)

He was the only man I ever saw who ran his own interference.  ~Steve Owen, about Bronko Nagurski

October is not only a beautiful month but marks the precious yet fleeting overlap of hockey, baseball, basketball, and football.  ~Jason Love

When somebody tells you nothing is impossible, ask him to dribble a football. ~Author Unknown

...trying to maintain order during a legalized gang brawl involving 80 toughs with a little whistle, a hanky and a ton of prayer. ~A veteran NFL referee describing his duties, quoted in Richard Saul Wurman, American Football: TV Viewers Guide, 1982

However, there are several differences between a football game and a revolution. For one thing, a football game usually lasts longer and the participants wear uniforms. Also, there are usually more casualties in a football game. The object of the game is to move a ball past the other team's goal line. This counts as six points. No points are given for lacerations, contusions, or abrasions, but then no points are deducted, either. Kicking is very important in football. In fact, some of the more enthusiastic players even kick the football occasionally. ~Alfred Hitchcock

Weekends don't pay as well as weekdays but at least there's football. ~S.A. Sachs

Life was a damned muddle — a football game with everyone offside and the referee gotten rid of — everyone claiming the referee would have been on his side. ~F. Scott Fitzgerald

Men are clinging to football on a level we aren't even aware of.  For centuries, we ruled everything, and now, in the last ten minutes, there are all these incursions by women.  It's our Alamo.  ~Tony Kornheiser

Shopping is a woman thing.  It's a contact sport like football.  Women enjoy the scrimmage, the noisy crowds, the danger of being trampled to death, and the ecstasy of the purchase.  ~Erma Bombeck

Men kick friendship around like a football, but it doesn’t seem to crack. Women treat it like glass and it goes to pieces. ~Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Being a woman is of special interest only to aspiring male transsexuals. To actual women, it is simply a good excuse not to play football. ~Fran Lebowitz

Speed is not your fastest, but your slowest man.  No back can run faster than his interference.  ~Jock Sutherland

All of us watch the man with the ball. Accordingly football has come to be thought of in terms of individuals. The artisans engaged in a manœuvre are forgotten because of the glory of the hero who actually completes the play. ~Heywood Broun, 1922

Baseball is the only game left for people. To play basketball, you have to be 7 feet 6 inches. To play football, you have to be the same width. ~Bill Veeck, 1975

It is veneer, rouge, aestheticism, art museums, new theatres, etc., that make America impotent. The good things are football, kindness and jazz bands. ~George Santayana, letter to Van Wyck Brooks, 1927

Sharks are hardy creatures.... Sharks are as tough as those football fans who take their shirts off during games in Chicago in January, only more intelligent. ~Dave Barry  [This is a mash-up quotation, that is, not a complete quote that you will find anywhere else in one place. The first part is from Barry's book I'll Mature When I'm Dead (2010) and the second part is from "Sex And The Single Amoeba: What Every Teen Should Know," 1986 January 26th, Chicago Tribune. —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

You'd have to have huge, I-can-barely-walk-with-these balls to start any of these guys in the fantasy playoffs, but fortune favors the large-testicled. ~Alexander Hough, "Fantasy Football Week 15: Wandering the Waiver Wire,"Chicagoist, 2011 December 13th

When it comes to football, God is prejudiced — toward big, fast kids.  ~Chuck Mills

Australian Rules football might best be described as a game devised for padded cells, played in the open air.  ~Jim Murray

Football players, like prostitutes, are in the business of ruining their bodies for the pleasure of strangers.  ~Merle Kessler

Speed, strength, and the inability to register pain immediately.  ~Reggie Williams, when asked his greatest strengths as a football player

What about football? Is it a sport or a concussion? ~Jim Murray (1919–1998), The Los Angeles Times

Rugby Quotes

American football makes rugby look like a Tupperware party.  ~Sue Lawley, 1985

Beer and Rugby are more or less synonymous.  ~Chris Laidlaw, 1973

Rugby football is a game I can't claim absolutely to understand in all its niceties, if you know what I mean.  I can follow the broad, general principles, of course.  I mean to say, I know that the main scheme is to work the ball down the field somehow and deposit it over the line at the other end and that, in order to squalch this programme, each side is allowed to put in a certain amount of assault and battery and do things to its fellowman which, if done elsewhere, would result in fourteen days without the option, coupled with some strong remarks from the Bench.  ~P.G. Wodehouse, Very Good, Jeeves, 1930

The tactical difference between Association Football and Rugby with its varieties seems to be that in the former the ball is the missile, in the latter men are the missiles.  ~Alfred E. Crawley, The Book of the Ball, 1913

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Last saved 2021 Apr 09 Fri 16:37 PDT

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