I would have to say that football is probably the manliest sport, and I know that even though it is probably the most common answer, hopefully I can provide a reason or two outside the box for why I believe this to be so. For starters, the game itself boils down to two teams filled with massive guys, lined up facing each other, with each team trying to assert their dominance over their opponent by using physical force. The goal for the defense is to physically bring the person carrying the ball to the ground, while that person or persons tries run past them all. Other than fighting sports, I cannot imagine anything more primal and manly than football. Football is a sport where people get knocked down constantly, and are expected to get right back up, which is not seen in other sports such as soccer. There’s a specific mentality associated with the sport that not getting right back up after getting knocked down and not playing through injuries makes you weak or a wimp.
I think that another important aspect of football that makes in the manliest sport that often goes overlooked is the reliance on strategy. The amount of time and effort that has to be put into studying and preparing a team for their offensive and defensive strategies is enormous, and they have to study their opposition in great detail as well. I think that men are supposed to think through things thoroughly beforehand, which is why I believe this makes football even manlier. Football also requires the greatest amount of athleticism in terms of combining speed and strength.
It is understandable how this need for manliness can lead to the type of bullying or hazing that is mentioned in the article with Incognito and Martin. Football players expect their teammates to live up to this perceived idea of what it means to be a football player and a man, which is not totally in line with the true definition of masculinity. The football culture completely revolves around perceived toughness, which is why I think it has taken up until Michael Sam a couple years ago for a football player to come out as openly gay. Players are aware of the type of manliness, correct or incorrect, needed to play in the NFL, and most put on whatever airs necessary to live up to that standard.