Legendary Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne told a Congressional investigative committee, in effect, that football is a good substitute for war. According to the 1940 film Knute Rockne, All American, starring Pat O’Brien as Rockne and Ronald Reagan as the Gipper, this is what he told the committee:
“Games such as football are more than merely helpful to boys. They’re an absolute necessity to the nation’s best interest,” said Rockne. “Every red-blooded young man in any country is filled with what we might call the natural spirit of combat.
“In many parts of Europe and elsewhere in the world, this spirit manifests itself in continuous wars and revolutions. But we have tried to make competitive sport serve as a safer outlet for that spirit of combat. I believe we’ve succeeded.”
No argument about that it’s a safer outlet. Getting jingoists worldwide to switch to that outlet is the trick. In the U.S.A. football is very popular and attracts millions, but it certainly hasn’t kept us out of wars.