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The Best Time to Become a Football Fan is Now

If you, like Julie Andrews, believe the beginning is the very best place to start then this is the very best time to become a football fan or at the very least joining football conversations. (And thank you for indulging my Sound of Music reference.)

The start of every sports season is a good place to start but football season gives you the greatest opportunity to leverage sports conversations and build relationships with football fans.

That’s because football, NFL in particular, is the most popular sport among sports fans in the United States by a wide margin based on yearly Gallup surveys. As a result, you don’t have to go far to find a headline and jump into the conversations.

I find those points compelling, but here are a few others to boost your confidence in becoming a football fan at the beginning of the season. 

It’s a natural starting point. Every team starts with a 0-0 record in Week 1. It doesn’t matter if you watched the preseason games or followed off-season moves. The real schedule starts now.

Everything you need to know will unfold in headlines week after week. When I say headlines, I mean that literally. There’s a lot of information in newspaper headlines (which of course you can read online) and short alerts you get on your phone. Make it a habit to read the headlines and you’ll not only build your knowledge base but you’ll be more aware of what fans around you are talking about. 

If you are new to football and football small talk, trust me on this  - fans talk most about the headlines. You don’t need to understand the rulebook to talk about the game.

Choose your level of engagement. Being a fan doesn’t mean you have to spend every weekend, all weekend watching football. It doesn’t mean football is the only thing you should be talking about from now until February. Headlines are your friend and so are other sports fans who are more than willing to talk about what they saw in the game or what they think of the way a game was coached or played.

You can schedule your interactions. Small talk doesn’t have to be spontaneous to be authentic. The predictability of a sports season provides an opportunity to plan follow up conversations. Take a look at the schedule of your local NFL team and plan interactions around the first game of the season, the midway point of the year, the biggest rivalry game and maybe right before playoffs start. Using football to anchor a conversation prevents you from using a tired, uninspired phrase like, “I’m just circling back around” and provides a more interesting conversation starter. 

Lastly, I want you to keep this in mind – conversations can last seconds not minutes. If you’re turned off or overwhelmed by the thought of having a lengthy conversation, then don’t. As I said before, you get to choose your level of engagement and determine what works for you. Jumping into football fandom at the start of the season can definitely work in building business relationships and making small talk count.


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