What did you end up deciding last year?

I know football was really important to me and I'm going to reiterate what BSA said. You only get one shot to play football in your life, but you can hunt forever. I guess it depends on how much you like playing and what football means to you.

Just a little personal experience, I played all through high school and even played five years of college football and I still had time to hunt. Not as much time as I would have liked (ie I couldn't do many backcountry, extended trips), but I still hunted hard with the time I had and still shot plenty of animals. In high school it was a little different since rifle season tended to take place mostly after the football season but I still made it out archery hunting too. One day I made it out after practice and was full draw on mule deer buck before dusk. I never shot because I didn't feel comfortable with the shot but I still made it out. Your games will be on Friday nights and you'll have the whole weekend to hunt right? College was quite a bit harder to make time but we always had Sunday mornings and Mondays off. I always made sure to schedule my classes so I had Monday afternoons off in the fall so I could at least get an afternoon hunt in every Monday. I started focusing the tags I put in for around opportunity for high success (antelope units with high numbers for example). One time after an away game, our plane got in past two in the morning, took a quick nap, drove several hours to the hunting area just past sunrise, glassed over a few herds of antelope, made a stalk, shot my first antelope and was back in town by noon, just in time of Sunday workout and film. It wasn't a monster by any means, but I shot nice buck in the midst of a busy schedule. I did stunts like this a lot through college. I didn't have a lot of time, but I still made time. I guess my point is that if you really want to do both, it is definitely taxing, but you can do it. And if you can't do both, you're gonna have to consider how important playing ball is to you. I missed a lot of hunting opportunities because of football, but I really wanted to do both.

Another thing to consider is to apply for later season hunts or switch weapons for a year.