New York Yankees Hall of Fame catcher and coach Yogi Berra once said, "You can observe a lot by just watching." Berra probably never studied Japanese — the man could barely do English — but his comment has been on my mind recently.

Due to some crazy confluence of traditional broadcast media and social media, Twitter decided to bid on the 放映権 (hōeiken, broadcast rights) for Thursday night National Football League games and air them on their app this season. Reading the Japanese tweets as they scroll below the game has become my new Japanese study obsession: You really can observe a lot by just watching ... sports with thousands of Japanese strangers.

Judging from tweets I saw during the Sept. 22 "Thursday Night Football" broadcast of the game between the New England Patriots and the Houston Texans, there were many Japanese fans who were excited about suddenly having access to アメフト (amefuto, American football) on their スマホ (sumaho, smartphones).