One day out of the year – every year – over 100 million televisions across the United States are all tuned to the same television channel. That day happens to be the day of the Super Bowl. In fact, Super Bowl XLV, had over 110 million viewers in the United States.
The 2010 World Series had 75 million viewers, which is impressive in its own right. But that was over a span of five games.
NCAA football is one of the biggest moneymaking machines in the world, but the only NCAA baseball we see is the so-called "College World Series." When it comes to sports, the people of these United States have made a clear choice: football is America's pastime.
Let's face it – football has an appeal that baseball is simply lacking. First, each game in football means more than each baseball game. In the NFL season, each team plays 16 games – just 16 chances to prove that your team belongs in the talk about the playoffs. In NCAA Division I football, you may only get 10 or 12 games to prove that you belong in a bowl game. Not to mention that in all of the Bowl Championship Series hoopla, losing one game may break your season.
Meanwhile, in the MLB, each team plays 162 games, which makes losing one individual game much less punishing.
Second, football has a smash-mouth, do-or-die, blue-collar style that appeals to and represents the mentalities of hard-working Americans. While baseball players are prancing around a bunch of "bases," football linemen face off in the trenches in a battle of sheer strength. While baseball players are trying to hit a ball with a stick, football players are trying to hit each other in order to gain possession of the pigskin. While baseball playoffs consist of best of five or best of seven series, football playoffs are best of one: win or go home.
Finally, football is the genesis of possibly the greatest American tradition: tailgating. During the NFL season, no matter which stadium you choose to go to, you're going to witness some great scenes. The close-to-home example is Pinto Kenny, with his Pinto-turned-grill and famous bowling ball shots, but there are great tailgating traditions all over the football world. From the Tiger Walk at Auburn, to grilling in the Muni lot in Cleveland and Boulevard beer in Kansas City, football has churned out more camaraderie and devoted fandom than any other sport.
When it comes to America's pastime, there shouldn't be any discussion. It is football. No fans are more devoted, and no sport is more American.