Outsports.com posted on their blog the link to this 1978 academic paper in the journal Western Folklore. In the piece the author, Alan Dundes, argued that American football is a ritual between all male groups attempting to socially legitimate homosexual behavior. To prove this idea Dundes offers psychoanalysis of signifiers in the game and its folk speech:
I think it is highly likely that the ritual aspect of football, providing as it does a socially sanctioned framework for male body contact … is a form of homosexual behavior. The unequivocal sexual symbolism of the game, as plainly evidenced in folk speech coupled with the fact that all of the participants are male, make it difficult to draw any other conclusion. Sexual acts carried out in thinly disguised symbolic form by,and directed towards, males and males only,would seem to constitute ritual homosexuality.
The argument is a reach if not completely specious academically. But it is fascinating and a little horny making. Here’s a link to the whole thing: