Happy New Year Football Fans

Rick OliverCorrespondent ISeptember 5, 2009

DENVER - JANUARY 22:  Denver Broncos fan, Jeremy Whytock of Denver, CO tailgates before the AFC Championship Game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on January 22, 2006 at Invesco Field at Mile High in Denver, Colorado.    (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Football fans rejoice. Your offseason suffering has come to an end.

We have suffered through the grueling months between the Super Bowl and the first day of the new season. We have grasped at every snippet of information we can get our hands on to hold us through the dark times.

We waited patiently as our team tediously vetted potential free agents and settled on the chosen few. The outcome of this process would not to be determined for months. But no more! The results will soon be known to all.

We will know if our team can survive without its mainstays. We will know if that washed up veteran castoff has one more, good year in him.  All of the answers will soon be told, because today is football season!

We were mercilessly pelted with mock draft after mock draft. But like an addict chasing his next fix, after we painstakingly reviewed one, we searched the Internet for more. Hoping some nitwit in cyberspace had some keen insight that we were missing.

After the big day had come and gone the process of grading the draft began. What a moronic process this is. But still, we watched it like it was a train wreck in slow motion.

What I want to know is if every team made the exact pick Pete Prisco predicted in his mock draft, would he still give half the teams a grade of “C” or worse? Would the Patriots still get an “A” for being the Patriots? Go away Pete, leave us alone! You’re not invited to our tailgate party.

We have criticized our team for not doing enough. We have second guessed the decisions, and in most cases, come to defend our team. Our GMs and coaches must know what they are doing. They have made the changes necessary to bring our team back to its former greatness.

Next up on our list of offseason horrors, the “Offseason Power Rankings.”  Power rankings have to be one of the most idiotic things conceived. They are bad enough during the season, but to be insulted by them in the off-season is almost more than I can bear. Still, I hang on every word. Why does ESPN have my team ranked 27 and CBS has them at 25?

Clearly all of these people have to be insane. Don’t they realize the improvements my team made, free agents, the draft, scheme changes, new coaches, fired coaches, addition by subtraction…how can they be so clueless? Anyone can see my team should be at least 21. They aren’t showing my team any respect. That’s alright we’ll show them. And it all starts today.

We have watched our team play four sloppy and meaningless football games in the preseason. We checked the box scores trying to determine how our first team matched up. We sat there while scrubs we will never see again made a mockery of our team’s proud football tradition. We watch because we are fans, pining for the real thing.

The stifling heat of summer two a days has broken. Feel the crisp morning air that signals the start of autumn. The cool northerly breeze that refreshes our soul and ignites our passion blows through the stadium. Soon the bitter cold of winter will be upon us. But that doesn’t matter today. Nothing can ruin today, the first day of football season.

We have talked our trash, berated our rival fans and made our predictions. Some bold, some safe and some just downright absurd. We have cast our lot and our fate will be determined over the next five months.

Fans of the perennial power houses, up and comers and terminal bottom dwellers all stand on equal footing today. We are all undefeated, all in first place, all equals and we all have hope. Nothing can bring us down.

So don your favorite jersey, fire up the grill and pull out the coldest beer. Celebrate! football fans. This is your day. You have suffered enough and your torment has come to an end.

Over the next several months there will be stark realizations and devastating injuries. Our delusions of grandeur will be laid to rest. Those prized free agents will prove to be less than promised. There will be draft busts, coaching errors and bonehead decisions.

But today I won’t hear of it. For today, my friend, is the start of a new year. Today is the first day of football season.