Football Is Back Baby!
I know it’s only been one pre-season game, and I know we didn’t score any points, but that feeling is back! You all know that feeling, the one in the pit of your stomach that only occurs once a year, the feeling of knowing football is back, and until next February it’s going to rule your weekends. It’s finally that time of year again, it’s time to watch men in helmets hit each other every Thursday, Friday, Sunday and Monday for the foreseeable future, and I love it.
The off-season in football drags on, so much so that even the most die-hard fans – like myself – begin to forget why we love it so much. Roger Goodell has tried, and in many ways succeeded to make it an all year round league, with events like the Hall of Fame, camp, the Draft scattered across the calendar, but there is nothing like that mid-season feeling.
There’s the NBA playoffs, March Madness, the first half of the MLB season and the odd golf tournament amongst other things to keep you and the hundreds of sports talk radio stations occupied and distracted from what really matters in the sports world, but it’s not till the first snap of the pre-season that you realize just how amazing football is. And in my case, why I have shelled out £1,600 to fly to Wisconsin to see it live. (Week two against the Skins baby!)
So just what it is about the game of football which makes it so special? It can be tough to pin point. Is it the masses of media coverage, keeping you up to date all the time? The feeling of slinging on a jersey before a game? The banter between fans? The fact that nobody can truly predict who’s going to the big show? No, I don’t think it’s any of that. It’s that the season is so short, that you come close to gagging for it every August before the pre-season starts.
While most of the other pro sports have such a long 82 or 162 regular season, the NFL’s only lasts 16. Making every game more dramatic, exciting and meaningful. It may be relaxing to sit and watch the long slog that is the Baseball season, but it’s just not the same. Will your team make it to the Superbowl? A loss in week 3 could be the difference between a wildcard place or a spot on the sofa for the playoffs.
I suppose it also helps that this year in Packer land – like most years – is riddled with optimism. Sure there is negativity, key injuries in camp, ex-receivers giving the star QB a verbal smack in the face and the usual “football is dead” talk. But hey, it could be worse, we could be seeing the Packers get closely scrutinized on Hard Knocks, we could have a Quarterback controversy between too mediocre college grads, we could even be supporting the Bears.
But we aren’t, we have a (hopefully) much improved running game, a stunning guy behind center, and a GM who seems to have a long term plan that works. And while it’s going to be a tough year, with an extremely early bye week, some tough games at the tail end of the season, and the traditional defensive breakdown/injury armageddon, our playoff chances are still extremely promising. Once you’re in you’re in!
So this is it, just three more exhibitions and we are rolling. It’s going to be 17 weeks of suffering, stress and twitter wars, but we can deal with it because it gets us up in the morning and helps us sleep at night.
All the Green and Gold have to do is make the post season then who knows? Will the Lombardi Trophy come to it’s rightful home for a fifth time? Yes please! Whatever happens though, it’s going to be a lot of fun, this is it football fans, the wait is over. Put on your jersey, wedge of cheese and beer goggles, football is back baby – bring it on!