Not much. That seems clear. Based on this excerpt from the play, Ideal—one of the admiring fan letters sent to actress Kay Gonda—she apparently associated football with boredom and conventionality:
Dear Ms. Gonda,
This letter is addressed to you, but I am writing it to myself.
I am writing and thinking that I am speaking to a woman who is the only justification for the existence of this earth, and who has the courage to want to be. A woman who does not assume a glory of greatness for a few hours, then return to the children-dinner-friends-football-and-God reality. A woman who seeks that glory in her every minute and her every step. A woman in whom life is not a curse, nor a bargain, but a hymn.
I want nothing except to know that such a woman exists. So I have written this, even though you may not bother to read it, or reading it, may not understand. I do not know what you are. I am writing to what you could have been.
On the other hand, Laury McGee--the bright, young hero of her short story, Good Copy (written around 1927)—was a “star quarterback” of a championship team in college. Evidently her view of football dimmed somewhat in the years between 1927 and 1939. In Think Twice, she describes the character “Flash Kozinsky” as follows: "Flash does not carry a college pennant, but ‘football hero’ is written all over him as plainly as if he did. He is young, husky, pleasant-looking and not too bright…”
[All of these references are from The Early Ayn Rand.]
Like a lot of people who don’t know much about football, she most likely thought it was a sport for dumb, overgrown roughnecks who didn’t waste a lot of time thinking. She was wrong, of course. The more you know about football, the more you realize that it is every bit as challenging on the cerebral level as it is brutally savage on the physical level. You simply cannot be a football hero if you are “not too bright.” The plays are amazingly complex, and each player has to know his assignments or the team has no chance of winning. And the quarterback often has the option of changing the play—“calling an audible”--in a split-second. In addition, every player must be acutely aware of everything that is happening around him--reading clues and anticipating and reacting--every second that the play is alive.
You cannot watch quarterbacks like Peyton Manning or Tom Brady or coaches like Bill Belichick and Rex Ryan and not be aware of the overwhelming complexity of what it takes to win in the NFL (or on the major college level). Some of it is luck, obviously, but, more often than not, thinking and planning and preparation make all the diiference. I suspect that’s why the sport has grown so much in popularity in recent decades. It combines the mental and the physical—body and mind--in a spectacle of human excellence that is unmatched by any other sport.
Oh yeah. The Super Bowl. Packers win, 27-17.