Even though I was closer than most to some pro football; not as an athlete, but as programmer of an NFL local team radio network (Buffalo Bills, years ago), even though, technically, several coaches, and quarterbacks 'worked' for me in terms of broadcast, I wasn't really ever completely 'into' the game.
That changed when we moved to Austin, home of the Longhorns.
First of all, it's so much easier to identify with winners. But my enthusiasm isn't completely generated by that.
When I watch pro football, good as it may be, the players so often seem to celebrate themselves. Indeed, many are self centered, spoiled, talented mega-millionaires. The ones who aren't remain in the background.
What I enjoy so much about UT football is what seems to be a genuine sense of FUN. Example: the second string QB scores and the possible Heisman-winner first stringer is jumping around for genuine joy for him and for the team (even with a 40 point lead.) They smile and laugh. The coach calls them kids - they ARE, after all, but no macho posing MEN. The defensive (and future Head-) coach slaps and chestbumps his players as they come off a play and he's clearly having as much fun as they are. (Head) Coach Brown emphasizes having fun. There's a purity there which seems missing in pro ball. Sadly.
Here's a big kid having fun.