Funny Football Pictures
...But Maybe Not Funny Ha Ha
Back in 2005, as the religious right was accusing The Little Mermaid of trying to promote sexual activity among children, we issued a satirical response. If evangelicals could find secret sexual messages in a cartoon from Disney, then whatever would they think about watching sweaty football players bending over in front of each other in a contact sport of hypersexualism. We were trying to be absurd, to make a point about how silly the religious right was being about Disney cartoons.
Now that I look at the images from sports fan pages, though, it does make me wonder.
When I was a kid, I watched football an awful lot. I was a fan of the Buffalo Bills, and that meant that I had to endure a lot of disappointment. One of the best consolations was the bloopers reel of funny accidents and photographs from the previous week's games. Watching football players moving so fast, getting into so many wild accidents, hit my young funny bone just right.
This morning, when I searched for funny football pictures, I came across something else.
Watching Sunday afternoon National Football League games, I never imagined that there could be an entire world of sexuality lurking behind the games, permeating the excitement of fans, pushing forward the enthusiasm of adult male viewers. Yet, that's what I found. Looking at the funny football pictures at fan forums online, one theme stood out over and over again: Homosexual fantasies about football players having sexual encounters on the football field.
Yes, if you go online and look for funny football photographs, you'll find some that have no sexual content - ones like the slapstick pictures I saw on the NFL blooper reels as a kid. You'll find pictures like these, humorous in a very instinctual way because they show athletes who are ordinarily in control of their bodies suddenly flying through the air. This one loses a helmet, ha ha! Another one flies through the air like a bird trying to avoid running into someone else, hee hee!
Then, however, there are more and more photographs fans cut and paste, trading with each other, posting on Internet forums, that are labelled as funny, even though they don't really cause a laugh. These provoke a basic instinct as well, but not the thrill of danger. This instinct is sexual, causing the viewer not to say ha ha, but to sit back and say hmmmm.
It begins with supposed accidents. Oops! This football player surely didn't mean to grab his opponent by the waistline and pull his pants down, exposing his buttocks to public display... or did he?
This isn't the official face of football, the version we see on television. Then again, on TV there are censors. On the Internet, there are none. So, we see what's really on the minds of football fans as they sit, um... glued... to the tube.
Oral sex figures highly in the supposedly funny pictures that football fans place online. They seem to love to find photographs where it looks like professional football players are giving each other blow jobs, as in the examples you see here.
If it were just one or two photographs of football players seeming to give each other blow jobs, I might dismiss it. However, looking at the non-pornographic football fan forums for funny football photos, I find these images over and over again. There's a pattern, and it's pretty clear what it's about: Football fans seem to love the idea that football players are secret lovers, having sex with each other in the locker room when the game is over.
Even in supposedly heterosexual photographs, there is a homosexual undertone. Consider this set of photographs of two beautiful women, nearly naked, posing as if they are playing football:
Yes, these are women, but they are women pretending to be men. This is a theme you find a lot in gateway porn: Help for men who have homosexual urges they don't feel comfortable expressing. The images refer to men having sex with each other, but women are put in their place, as substitutes, so that homophobia is not provoked. The fundamental message of the photographic image you see above is that football is sexy, with bodies rubbing up against each other, and the football players offering themselves to each other for sexual play. The picture shows women being sexual with each other, but the reference is actually to real football players - men - having sex. The picture is exciting to football fans because it plays with the homosexual arousal they feel watching men in tight clothes jump all over each other.
The Other Football
Let's not for a moment pretend that this homoerotic fantasy world of sports only exists in the United States for the American fans. There's a whole world of football out there - the other football, what we Americans call soccer.
Although the cultures that watch soccer are profoundly separate from US culture, and range across many nations, they all seem to share the homosexual fascination with athletic male bodies that dominates football fan photographs. Soccer fans from all over the world trade homoerotic photographs online, just like American football fans do.
The non-accidental accidental grab seems particular popular with soccer fans. Watching their favorite soccer players grab at each others' genitals or buttocks arouses soccer players. Public sport sexual naughtiness gets their blood pumping.
Hard muscles... tackling each other... punishing penalties... end zones... of course, it's all just humor right?
Oral sex among soccer players seems to be as popular among soccer fans as it is among American football fans. On the surface, it's all just a joke. The persistence with which fans bring the subject up over and over again shows the hunger underneath the humor.
The sex goes further than that, though. The idea of anal sex comes up quite often in soccer fans' supposedly funny pictures. Expressing their secret desires in the form of a joke that can be dismissed, the photographs even can take on an anti-gay appearance, all the while tickling the homosexual fancies of the fans who tell them... and download the photographs to view in private.
A great deal of the sexual arousal for sports fans seems to come from the contradiction between the supposedly masculine nature of athletes and the obvious zeal with which they embrace contact with the bodies of other men. Jocks are supposed to be very manly, but they've got a secret side too, one that they like to reveal every now and then, parading themselves around in cartoonish pantomime, pretending to be women. It's a sexual promise from athletes that breaks all the rules, and goes far beneath sports fans' cover story - that they like to follow the statistics.
These are games of play, of millions of men who get sexually turned on by other men, but can't admit it. It's the Wide Wide World of Sex.