Late last month, it was revealed that NBC’s Sunday Night Football was the third most popular television show amongst women aged 18-49. Katie Baker wrote an article for the Times to explain why women were so enamored with football and it started out strong.

Like many other “real” fans, I got into sports in large part for the characters, stories, rivalries and heartbreak. We saw interpersonal drama where casual fans saw only supersize freaks of nature battering one another. True enjoyment was the province of the devoted.

Yes! I totally agree. When I was young, I cared much more about loving Walter Payton and Michael Jordan than I did about their stats. I was young and played catch in the backyard and wanted to be like them when I grew up — famous and talented. I also wanted to be able to relate to my dad and my friends. Sports was a great gateway.

But now that I’ve been a sports fan for 25 years, I watch sports primarily because I admire their skill and enjoy unlocking the puzzle of success by learning formations and tracking trends. And since I still love connecting to a community, I’ve remained a fan of Chicago sports teams. It also helps that it’s a lot easier to follow a couple teams instead of 30.

This is a roundabout way of saying that Ms. Baker is not giving women enough credit. Over at the Atlantic, Ta-Nehisi Coates does a good job of setting up the issue.

I don’t want to discount the narrative element, but I’d actually submit that football’s appeal to women, is pretty much the same as its appeal to men. I can think of few other athletic endeavors that combine balletic grace, keen intellect and brute strength in the same way. Frankly, I never understood why more women didn’t watch football. I strongly suspect that it’s because they are told that it’s “a guy thing.” That could never fly in my house.

Now that’s what I’m talking about. My only beef is the “never fly in my house” business. For better or worse (mostly worse), there is a whole lot of male aggression in sports, which makes the players more competitive, but is also frightening. For a long time I convinced myself that players contain their violence to the game, but folks like Kobe Bryant and Ben Roethlisberger have shown otherwise. I certainly don’t condone it or root for these players, but it hasn’t yet stopped me from enjoying sports.

That being said, Coates is right to push his wife into giving it a shot. Yes, there is unchecked, concentrated male aggression, but that’s not unique to sports (check out Wall Street) and shouldn’t keep women from enjoying the positives. But we all should be quick to call out the NFL when they think a 4-game suspension is enough to offset rape.