5 Ways Football Brings Families Together


On any given Fall Sunday in New England, you’ll find a camaraderie among individuals huddled together cheering on their favorite football team. Whether it’s on the field watching their child play flag football, or from the comfort of their own home, football brings families together. As a mom, and the household football enthusiast in our family, I can say that the pure love of the game isn’t the only reason it brings our family together. Here are five ways that, as a mom, I use those four precious quarters to bond with my family.

Fall football at its best

1. The Food 

It’s so fun to plan a menu if we’re watching a game at home. It gives the entire family a chance to contribute and try something new. I like to do theme based on the game. So if the game is against a team from the south, we’ll make homemade barbecue and a regional dish. It lets my kids explore different cuisines and open up their palates. Conversely, if we’re going to a game, it gives my kids a chance to eat food that I wouldn’t normally cook at home, and it’s such a treat. They get to order stadium nachos with all the gooey ‘cheese’ and enjoy. At home, we love making wings in the instant pot when we have a chance, and without fail, local NH blogger The Schmidty Wife’s recipe does the trick. 

Bonding over cuisine strengthens more than just your palate. 

2. The Team

When I hear people say “I root for this team because my father and grandfather were fans” I am flooded with nostalgia. The core memories that we have, whether it’s wearing a block of cheese on your head, swinging a terrible towel, or wearing your team colors, give way for us to create our own memories with our kids. It doesn’t matter what team you’re rooting for, as long as you’re doing it together. I want my kids to be able to say “I root for this team because my mom loves them.” While we were never really pro team fans when I was a child, my brother and I developed a love of the Panthers together. We used to love tailgating at Bank of America stadium to cheer on the Panthers when we lived in Charlotte. It turned out to be a great sibling bonding experience. Hopefully, my kids will have the same bond over watching football as they grow. My son is an avid Panthers fan thanks to their 2016 run to the Super Bowl while my daughter is happiest in a Patriots cheerleader outfit. 

3. The Conversation 

Sports, especially football, is one of the best ways to ease into conversations. There’s a reason it’s called water cooler talk. “Did you catch the game last night?” is an instant conversation starter. The same rules apply to your family. I’ve found that my kids clam up when I ask them how their day was. But if I start a conversation about who got carted off the field, or marched the ball down 75 yards for a touchdown, the momentum that builds from that conversation usually leads to more than a one word answer for the next question. Sports talk in general is a great ice breaker, and there’s so much action in football that there’s always something to talk about. Whether it’s Mac Jones high ankle sprain or the griddy, there’s never a dull moment, which leads to so many different ways to have a conversation. 

4. The Lessons

At the end of almost every football game, you’ll see a show of sportsmanship between the winning team and the losing team. Often times it’s a quarterback embrace, other times it’s a jersey exchange. This example of leaving it on the field translates so well to my own kids when they’re playing sports. As a mom, I’ve really leaned into coaching my kids in all the things I’m capable of. They get a great softball coach, and okay-ish soccer coach and let’s not even talk about basketball. I just don’t have the height! The point is that I’m able to coach them by using examples from a football game when they’ve had a tough loss or struggled with their footwork. For that, I am so grateful. Last weekend, I told the kids on my soccer team about one of the greatest Tom Brady Super Bowl comebacks. The inspiration of the Patriots comeback from a 28-3 deficit to win the Super Bowl in 2017 is one for the books. While we didn’t win the game, it got them motivated to go out there and play their best. 

5. The Exercise 

I’ve spent the entire time talking about watching the game, but there is nothing better than playing the game. Whether it’s a pickup game of touch football with your family, coaching your child in a youth football league or cheering them on the sidelines. Getting outside with your family is a great way to spend quality time and get some exercise in. Adults and kids alike benefit from the fresh air and inevitable increase in endorphins. 

It’s never too late to start a family tradition.

The funny thing is that while I spent a good part of my childhood in New England, my love of football didn’t really develop until I moved to Charlotte the same year the Panthers formed a franchise. As a kid, I grew up next to Don Breaux, the offensive coordinator for the Panthers, and he explained football to me and I fell in love with the game. This proves that it’s never too late to start a family tradition around football. For me, it’s that I can count on the love of the game to bring our family together, and to make new friends along the way. Some of my best friendships were made bonding over a game that comes down to a field goal! And I’ve carried those friendships over all these years. My children’s honorary aunts and uncles helped shape the family football traditions we carry forward. I feel so lucky that football such a big part of our family. 

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This post is brought to you by Future For Football. Their mission is to promote stories that share all the good football can bring.
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Hello! I'm Holly. I spent half of my life in North Carolina, where I developed a love of food and college basketball simultaneously while studying for a modern east Asian history final at UNCC. Since moving to the Seacoast, I'd say i've had a series of rather fortunate events. I am a wife to an Air Force veteran, a mom of two kids and a super happy golden retriever. In 2018, I quit a career trajectory that did not fill my bucket to be a stay at home mom. The things that do fill my bucket include cooking, random Spice Girls sing alongs with my kids in the car, and bringing our house out of the 80's through several both successful and unsuccessful DIY projects. You'll find me on the field, coaching my kids various rec sports, as well as helping them blaze their own trail in the scouting world. My world right now is family centered, and it's absolutely perfect for me.