Many things in the world are intangible, but it doesn’t mean they don’t exist. You should have heard the phrase “people are not tools”. Football is such a sentiment. You said it yourself, hundreds of thousands of people shouted for it, this is power. If you shout “Football is meaningless” when hundreds of thousands of people are shouting for it, you can try the consequences.
What is the meaning of progress in football? I don’t know, but football can excite a person. If it is a scientist who is cheering up, and then he happens to research something epoch-making, is this considered progress? Exciting, but also progress. Bill Shankly said that “Football has nothing to do with life and death, football is higher than life and death.” It is not to say that you die for the sake of football, but to make people fear football, just like life.
Football is a war in the age of peace, it is a peace in the age of war.