Welcome back, NFL
At long last, NFL football has returned to American television and today is opening Sunday. I could not be happier. It was a long summer of reruns, but the Olympics helped bridge the gap between the end of the last college basketball season and today. Now my Sundays will be spoken for through New Year’s.
Like many NFL fans, I have a pretty standard Sunday routine that I follow. First, I never plan anything on Sunday, unless it happens before noon, that is—I need at least an hour to “set up” for the 1:00 kickoffs. Second, I multi-task during each commercial break and do my weekly chores—washing clothes, taking out the trash, feeding pets and performing other equally banal activities. Finally, I screen all my phone calls. And trust me, only emergency calls get returned. The rest have to wait until halftime or the next major stoppage.
Please keep this last rule in mind if you ever try to reach me on Sunday. A text message is an acceptable alternative and I assure you my response time will be faster.
The first half has ended in all the early games and I can tell it’s going to be an exciting season. Rookie quarterback Robert Griffin, III is leading the Washington Redskins to pay dirt against the New Orleans Saints. He just threw his first touchdown pass, an 88-yard beauty to Pierre Garcon. New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady became the 14th player in NFL history to pass for 40,000 yards in his career. He also surpassed John Elway for all-time touchdowns and now ranks fifth.
Things are really heating up.
Of course, my beloved Pittsburgh Steelers don’t play until tonight in primetime, so I get to spend my entire day in agony as I anticipate a tough match. We’re facing the Denver Broncos and their new Super Bowl MVP/future Hall of Fame/freaking awesome quarterback, Peyton Manning. These guys have a lot of weapons and Peyton is making a comeback, so I have no idea what to expect. I’m optimistic, but also nervous as hell.
And that’s something I love about NFL football. It gets into your blood and drives your emotions. It gets your adrenaline pumping and your hair standing on end. And best of all, it gives you hope because truly, anything can happen. It’s never over until that final clock shows nothing but goose eggs.
To spice things up even more during the NFL season, I participate in an annual fantasy football league with some buddies for a small, winner-take-all cash prize. You may find this a little nerdy, but it adds a layer of excitement, I assure you. For those of you unfamiliar with fantasy football, here’s how it works.
You or a friend set up a free league at one of the big sports websites like ESPN or NFL.com. Invite some friends, adjust some settings and viola! Your new league is born. On draft day, the group meets live online to select the best possible players at key positions. Everyone begins with the same roster structure—normally a QB, several RBs and WRs, a TE, a K and a Defense, plus some bench spots. You take turns cherry-picking from the best positional players in the league and build the best possible roster. Each week, you face off against other teams in your league. When your players perform well, they score points for you; when they suck or get hurt, they can lose points for you. Once the smoke clears in each weekly battle, the victor is the player with the most total points; the other guy is the loser.
What this means is I now have a reason to watch a lot of different games with great anticipation. I have players all over the place. The Redskins-Saints game is a perfect example. I’m pulling for the Redskins and currently, they are winning. But my starting fantasy quarterback is Drew Brees of New Orleans. I have to cheer for him to throw completions and hopefully touchdowns, while also hoping the Redskins can stay one step ahead of him. Drama, suspense… it’s got it all!
An hour from now, the plot will thicken even more when Carolina and Tampa Bay kick off. The starting wide receiver for each team—in this case Steve Smith and Vincent Jackson, respectively—is on my fantasy roster and will be starting for me today. So I need them both to catch passes and score as often as possible. The down side is that I pull for the Panthers and thus don’t want Mr. Jackson to hurt them too badly. It’s like some kind of soap opera, to be sure.
Welcome back to my life and my television, NFL. I adore you while you’re here and miss you like crazy when you’re gone, so I’m ecstatic the season has just begun. And as long as the Steelers win, I trust we will have smooth sailing ahead…
Posted on September 9, 2012, in Perspectives and tagged Denver Broncos, Football, humor, musings, National Football League, New Orleans Saints, NFL, personal, perspectives, Peyton Manning, Pittsburgh Steelers, robert griffin, sports, Sunday, Washington Redskins. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.