It’s Friday, and work is the absolute last place you want to be.
I know that’s usually the case, but today is different. Today is the last Friday before the first true NFL Sunday of the year, and as a result, the clock seems to be drenched in molasses.
You’re tired, even more so than usual. You stayed up to watch the Denver Broncos eviscerate the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday. You never want to hear the words “lightning” and “delay” used in conjunction again, and you’ll curse under your breath if anyone dares to mention the name Ryan Seacrest.
If you play fantasy football and drafted Denver quarterback Peyton Manning, you definitely have a little pep in your step. But if you went against Manning, who scored somewhere in the range of 58,000 points, today’s imprisonment at the office provides an even greater exercise in frustration.
But don’t fret. If you can make it through Friday, you will soon be basking in the unmistakable glory and wonderment of an NFL Sunday.
So stop moping at your desk and feast your eyes on the Friday clock-watcher's guide to NFL Week 1.
Adrian Peterson Begins His Quest for 2,500 Yards
Is there a more fun player in the NFL to watch than Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, the reigning NFL (and fantasy) MVP? I think not.
Think about the chills you’ll get when Peterson breaks his first big run on Sunday when Minnesota plays at Detroit. The man known as “AD” (All Day) represents football at its highest level. He's like the guy in your group that is just better at his job than everyone else. You want to hate on him, but really you're just too impressed with his natural ability.
So yeah, that TPS report you’re filling out? It sucks.
But you know who doesn’t suck? Peterson.
And he’ll soon be bringing his own special brand of entertainment back into your life.
Rex Ryan’s Postgame Press Conference
Do you think you’re having a bad year at work? Want to feel better about yourself? Well, I’ve got the cure for you!
On Sunday, around 4:30 p.m. ET, make sure you watch New York Jets coach Rex Ryan’s postgame press conference. His team will likely be coming off a heinous loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the New York media will be salivating at the opportunity to question him like he’s a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay.
In this press conference, it’s probable that he will say or do something that once again puts his long-term job security in doubt. He’s like the co-worker in your office who can’t stop "replying all" to emails that don’t merit one. You ask yourself, “Why does this person keep doing this? Everyone knows it’s ridiculous except her!”
That co-worker is like Ryan.
Their common denominator? Both make you feel better about yourself.
The Return of Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Every place in life needs a riverboat gambler to spice things up.
In your office, it could be the guy who has one too many buttons on his shirt undone. You’re not quite sure what kind of statement he’s trying to make; you just wish that he didn’t dress for the conference room like he would for the China Club.
In the NFL, the resident riverboat gambler is New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton. You might not realize how much you missed him last year while he served his Bounty Gate suspension, but you will when he goes for it on an innocuous fourth down in his own territory on Sunday when the Saints host the Atlanta Falcons.
Imagine the annoying “too many buttons undone” guy is Payton. He eschews conventional wisdom to prove his point. On Monday, you can go back to despising him once more. But, just for Friday, let it slide.
Why? Because Week 1 is almost here.
The Patriots' New-Look Passing Attack
Chances are, unless you’re from the New England area, you root against the Patriots.
You see their future Hall of Fame quarterback, Tom Brady, and his disgustingly handsome features. You see the shots of Brady’s supermodel wife, Gisele Bundchen, and wish you had a Brady voodoo doll.
The thought of another season of double-digit wins for the Patriots might be the only thing that makes you sicker than the dude in the cubicle next to you who won’t stop coughing.
This Sunday, it’s time to stop hating and enjoy the greatness of Brady and coach Bill Belichick.
New England is set to debut an offensive attack featuring an almost entirely new cast of pass-catchers. Regardless of how you feel about the team, sit back and enjoy the fireworks.
Gambling, Gambling, Gambling...Did I Mention Gambling?
More so than any other professional sport, the NFL brings people together. And by brings people together, I mean that everyone enters an insane number of fantasy leagues, survivor pools and pick ‘em competitions. And that doesn’t even count wagering on Sunday’s games, a prospect that is likely leaving more than a few of you nodding your heads in agreement.
Chances are, over the last week, your money has been thrown around like your name is Pacman Jones and you were spending the weekend in Las Vegas.
This Sunday, every game will matter, and not just to the NFL standings.
If things go your way on Sunday with picks, you’ll be able to strut into work on Monday morning and talk trash at the water cooler to anyone unfortunate enough to make your arrogant acquaintance. Because let’s be honest, if you pick four games correctly against the spread, it is your right as an American to let everyone know about it.
As the first big upset of the season is drawing to a close, you’ll frantically check your survivor pool, and upon seeing how many of your co-workers selected the big favorite, you'll start rooting against that team like your life depended on the result.
So instead of waiting for the work day to end, take stock of those who are in a fantasy league with you or involved in the same survivor pool. They are the enemy. And on Sunday, you engage the enemy in battle.
Carrie Underwood Makes Her Sunday Night Football Debut
Okay, I have to admit it. I’m more than a little sad about the Faith Hill era on Sunday Night Football coming to a close.
In addition to her song being ridiculously awesome, she’s very easy on the eyes, and her legs probably deserve their own zip code.
To replace her, NBC hired Carrie Underwood. Now, Underwood is undoubtedly beautiful and talented, but it remains to be seen if she can measure up to Hill’s insanely high standards.
Either way, fans will win. The song will be great, and she’ll look beautiful; or the song will stink, and she’ll look beautiful. The entertainment level will be through the roof regardless of which outcome unfolds.
The tagline for the Sunday Night Football song is “I’ve been waiting all day for Sunday night!”
I’d like to make an addendum to that.
Football fans have been waiting all offseason for Week 1. And it’s so tantalizingly close to being here.
For now, stop watching the clock and imagine the splendor and glory of Sunday.
The NFL is back...and not a moment too soon.