UP   |  September 01, 2013

What is it about football?

Steve Kornacki expresses his love for the game of football, and tries to describe just what aspect of the sport makes it such an exciting love affair for so many of Americans.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> so i don't know if it showed, but i have a confession i have to make. i did yesterday morning's show with very little sleep. i think i might have gotten 90 minutes or so on friday night. let me explain. i usually try to physically get in bed by 9:00 on the night before a show. if everything goes right, i'll actually doze off by 9:30 or 10:00 at the latest. that way i'll get pretty close to a full night's sleep and be rested and ready for the show. but i had a conflict on friday night, a conflict that's probably going to cost me a lot of sleep this fall. it's because my favorite team, the kansas state wildcats , k-state, played their first game of the season on friday night. kickoff at the little apple was at 8:30 p.m . eastern time . it ended up being a cles gaose game, so i couldn't turn it off early. it wasn't until midnight the game actually ended. also, it was a disaster. k-state, the defend eing champions of the mighty big 12 conference , suffered a devastating loss to the north dakota state bison . anyway, north dakota state beat them. it's a small-time program that doesn't even play in the same collegiate division as kansas state . so i think you can understand why i was so distraught and why i then tossed and turned in bed for a few hours more, playing back the game in my mind, pinpointing the drive, the series, the baffling play call where it all went wrong for my team. why did they stop throwing the ball when they got ahead? i was trying to grapple with how severely this one horrible loss could derail the season i just spent eight long months waiting for. yes, ladies and gentlemen , it's labor day weekend . that means that football is back. it's not all the way back yet. in the past three day, there have been 72 college games and three more on the schedule for today. the nfl isn't actually going to kick off until this coming weekend. actually, thursday night on nbc, a little plug there for the company, when baltimore visits denver. soon enough, thousands of high school teams all across the country are going to be duking it out for local bragging rights under those famous friday night lights. supposedly baseball is our national past time, but that is not what people say these days. a poll from earlier this year shows that more than twice as many americans prefer pro football to major league baseball . when you then add in college football , it's a complete landslide. when it comes to sports in america, football is king. the question, though, is whether its reign is in jeopardy. there are a lot of reasons that baseball isn't as popular today as it used to be. i have my own explanation. people finally realized how boring it is. there was also the player strike in the mid-'90s. that probably had something to do with it. it took mlb years to recover from that. also, the whole steroid saga. the tainted records, the congressional hearing , the baseball idols. baseball is still feeling the fallout from that. more recently, it's football that's been under the microscope. medical advances and tragic individual stories have made it clear how easily concussions can destroy lives. just this past thursday, the nfl settled a $765 million lawsuit. that will hardly be the end. even the president of the united states says he wouldn't want his kid playing football. when it comes to amateur football, well, it feels less and less amateur every year. college conferences expanding and realigning into mini pro leagues, making mind bogglingly enormous deals with tv programs . elite high school teams traveling around the country playing games on espn. but still, for all of that, we watch it. we yearn for it in the offseason. we build our autumn weekends around it. we stay up way past our bedtimes when our teams are playing. we cry when they lose to north dakota state . the 2013 season is here, so we are going to talk all about america's addiction to football, what's good about it, what's not, and whether anything can change it. that's next.