Football is BAAACCCKKK! Anyone else as happy as I am? I had a big grin last Saturday watching ESPN College Gameday with Herbie, Corso, Desmond and now Rece (with an appearance from the great Chris Fowler). I loved turning on the TV last night to see Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth and Andrea Kremer on NBC’s (not so) Sunday Night Football to kick off the NFL season. Happy days are here!
First, I must reflect on this date – September 11. I will never forget that Ed McCaffrey’s career ended on September 10, 2001. Why? Because on 9/11/2001 I woke up to the radio morning show host talking about how a New York player hit Ed McCaffrey. Except he wasn’t talking about that. I got up and turned on the TV to see a plane hit the 2nd trade center building. I later learned that a former summer camp coworker had been on the plane that hit the pentagon. This will forever be our generations’ “Where were you when…?”
I chose not to write about the silliness of the summer, particularly deflategate. It was just dumb all the way around. It was handled poorly by the NFL and it’s terrible that a team allows itself to need that level of scrutiny. This is what happens when there’s a lot of finger pointing without much data. No one will ever know what happened much less if it really mattered. So let’s move on. I do have a short note to the football haters. Ugliness, cheating, danger, etc. exists everywhere. What’s happening now is the “you see what you focus on” phenomenon. Good things are coming out of this focus to be sure, but football is not a villain. Society seems to be so focused on football that we glossed over the FIFA scandal and worse yet, we have not been rallying for the safety of our Olympians next summer in Rio. You see what you focus on.
What are you looking forward to about football? In college football, I’m looking forward to seeing how my Clemson Tigers do in an ACC that looks different than it did 3 years ago. I’m looking forward to seeing the SEC “beat up” on each other and seeing who comes out on top (the Dawgs this year?). I’m looking forward to seeing if this Urban Meyer – Jim Harbaugh rivalry will be real or just a lot of talk (Ohio State vs. Michigan hardly seems like much of a game right now). Too be honest, I’m not as concerned about who ends up in the final 4. With college, I really do enjoy each week seeing how well these student athletes play. Last week the talk was all about the BYU last minute Hail Mary pass to beat BYU and then the BYU player hugging the ref for calling it a touchdown. That was awesome.
In the NFL I’m anxiously anticipating my Broncos’ defense giving Peyton Manning some breathing room and hoping he can make this year count, for himself as much as anything. I’m looking forward to watching Tom Brady get sacked a lot. I’m looking forward to seeing if the QBs in Buffalo and Houston can show off Clemson’s Sammy Watkins’ and Nuk Hopkins’ amazing receiver skills. I’m curious to see if Arizona will continue to improve. I’m curious (like everyone) to see if Philadelphia’s Chip Kelley’s massive off season changes will lead them to outstanding success or colossal l failure. Will Seattle continue to dominate or will they start the fizzle out? Can San Francisco survive the loss of Coach Harbaugh or was he the reason they looked so good? Will Dallas play to capacity or will they be whiners? Will Miami finally be relevant? Can Atlanta shake off the “almosts” and finally just win? Will Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston be the latest top draft pics to fizzle out or will they make it? And most importantly, who will be the better QB – Aaron Rodgers or Andrew Luck?
No more yard work on the weekends – it’s football season!