Essential Duties to Experience While Enduring Football's Looming Offseason

Brian WagnerCorrespondent IMarch 20, 2009

MINNEAPOLIS - NOVEMBER 12:  Center Scott Wells #63 of the Green Bay Packers prepares to snap the ball during the game against the Minnesota Vikings on November 12, 2006 at the Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Packers defeated the Vikings 23-17. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Oh, how frustrating the spring is for us football fans.

Smack dab in between the NFL Combine and the upcoming NFL Draft, and still six months from the first game of the year, we live in a world that seems to be a less than enticing one, compared to those Sundays in December.

Now, we do have some escape options with the events like the NBA Finals, Golf majors, and of course, March Madness.

In fact, I have sat in front of the television today with my TiVo, and seen every breaking minute of opening day. It’s a pretty remarkable spectacle.

But, this isn’t another work of writing attempting to showcase one’s love and devotion to the “Big Dance.” So, I won’t get into that much detail.

In the sports world, Football is—and always will be—king. The college and pro games both trump basketball and baseball with flying colors. And don’t let me begin talking about hockey. Sorry, hockey faithful.

The NFL has become the most dominant major sport in the US, and to me, it comes to no surprise.

And that makes it much harder for fans to wade through this tumultuous 8-month off-season.

Sure, the combine and draft provide us with a few weeks of legitimate football excitement, but the media coverage only lasts a few weeks.

You can’t take for granted the coverage about a fired coach, a criminal offense by a player, or Jay Cutler’s rare, intriguing off-season tale. I beg you not to, because that’s all you get!

I am a sports fanatic, but my passions were born with watching football, and will live on because of football.

I yearn for college football highlights at this time of year—and when I see them—I feel that excitement and passion run through me like Adrian Peterson running through opposing linebackers.

I stay in touch with my favorite team’s forums (WeAreSC, USC Football, Vikings Talks, etc) to get the latest coverage on my teams.

But none of these off-season activities compare to the joy of watching Joe McKnight weave his way to a 40-yard touchdown run.

Watching the World Baseball Classic doesn’t soothe the pain I have for the lack of football. Sorry, but watching the Netherlands upset the Dominican Republic doesn’t get my body churning like a game between the Patriots and Colts.

While we don’t have the option to watch any NFL or College Football game for a few months now—except for the occasional replays on NFL Network—there are only a few legitimate alternatives that we, as sports fans, should engulf our minds with.


Watch and Embrace March Madness, with Every Ounce of Your Being.

Today begins one of the most thrilling and exciting events in sports. Chaos rings through our ears from the opening tip to the conclusion of “One Shining Moment.”

While many of you filled out your brackets, even more filled out multiple brackets and entered many tournament pools. While following your bracket and obtaining bragging rights over friends and co-workers is an amazing sensation, it isn’t everything.

The football fan needs to soak in the passion that can be seen glowing from the players’ body language in the “dance.” They give out an energy throughout the tournament that is seen nowhere else, except on a football field.

The Cinderella teams are the most fun to watch. I earnestly advocate that you embrace their determination. Most of the time, the No. 15 seeds won’t pull off the ol’ upset over a No. 2, but very often, they keep it close and make it a game. They perform at a level of intensity that is out-of-this-world and usually unmatched by their superior. Either way, it’s pretty fun to experience that.

Once a champion is crowned, there is never controversy. That team battled their way to six straight, battle-tested, victories. It’s an accomplishment unlike any other.


Get in Tune with The Masters and the US Open.

It seems there are only a handful of fans of the PGA Tour. I invite you, while our NFL allegiances are aside, to watch these two classical golf majors.

Especially with an icon like Tiger Woods, a valued sports fan in our country would embrace the opportunity to watch him battle Lefty and others.

The Masters, with the sweet, sweet sound of Jim Nantz is an incredible program to watch on that certain Sunday in April. With the freshly mowed greens, spring flowers in full bloom, and Tiger wearing red, it’s a real sportsman’s dream.

While it is not the explosive slams of LeBron, spectacular touchdown grabs of Larry Fitzgerald, or even the walk-off homers of Albert Pujols, it brings a joy to your face. Maybe because we can relate to the game of golf more than the competition in NFL football? Yea, most likely.


Re-energize your Non-Sports Life

The world of sports is a magnificent one. Honestly, I don’t see my life the way it is now, without them. The passion. The energy. The excitement. The joy of sports can’t be compared to any other hobby of mine. It towers over all.

But sometimes, we lose touch of ourselves when immersed in sports 24/7/365. Since football’s off-season is the longest of the major sports, it was made to be the time to re-energize yourself. Pick up a new hobby, visit your relatives, raise your grades or your work performance.

Do whatever you would like, something to do when it seems you don’t have the time over the weekends in football season, with college on Saturdays and the pros on Sundays.

I embrace this off-season to meet long-time goals of mine. And I meet them head-on. I embrace the opportunity to pick up a new activity. I embrace the chance to read novels and other books.

Hopefully, these three alternatives to football will do their part, while we are in the middle of these rough off seasons. If you are a sports fan, they will. If you are solely a football fan, I urge you to branch out to these fabulous opportunities.

The college and pro football off-season are some of the most grueling months for the sports fan. From the casual to the die-hards, the lack of football in our lives hits us hard at least at one point.

There is nothing that compares to the atmosphere in Heinz Field for a December Steelers game, but there are a few substitutes that can enrich your lives while waiting for the Draft, training camp to open, and the first game of the year to finally kick off.

Football is king. It rules our lives from August to the first week of February. But from February back to August, there are only limited days of football-related events. We should use those football days to recapture our sports fandom sanity.

But, we have to use the rest of the off-season time to distract ourselves from the gaping hole that football leaves in our hearts.

Maybe watching Dancing with the Stars or Celebrity Apprentice will do? No. Definitely won’t.