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How Life Changes Once Football Begins

PHILADELPHIA - SEPTEMBER 29:  A painted fan of the Philadelphia Eagles goes crazy during the NFL game against the Houston Texans on September 29, 2002 at Veterens Stadium in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  The Eagles won 35-17.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Patrick MauroAnalyst ISeptember 11, 2009

It finally started. Football season.

Technically it started last week on the smurf turf in Boise, ID in a game destined to be remembered for what happened afterwards—the blunt Blount bash—more than anything that occurred during the 60 minutes of regulation.

And now the Steelers—hoping to become the first team since the Patriots to repeat—began their title defense with a sweet win over the Titans to inaugurate the 2009 NFL season.

For a lot of us, life changes. Football takes more of your time. It occupies more of your thoughts as you occupy your couch. Takes a few weeks for the indentation I create on the couch to fully go away once the season concludes.

I know I'm not as productive during football season. All of a sudden, I'm only accomplishing stuff during commercials, if at all, on Saturdays and Sundays, plus Thursday nights, Friday nights, and Monday nights.

Then throw in fantasy football—which severely decreases the amount of time I'd otherwise be working, writing, or doing something productive—and more hours than I care to admit get devoted to this game.

I don't know if I'm as good a husband—I ignored the dishes after dinner once Titans/Steelers kicked off, or father—after doing the dishes my lovely wife read to the children and got them to bed while I rode the sofa.

This time of year, I definitely don't eat as healthy.

Wednesday night, I ate salmon with steamed vegetables and went for a swim after a six mile run.

Thursday (game day), I consumed a super burrito, too many chips, several beers, ice cream, more chips, and watched the movie Max Payne after the game before checking fantasy stats for Kerry Collins and then staggering to bed, bloated from the chips.

Don't get me wrong. I'm a gigantic baseball and hoops fan, but football is different. It's a passion for many, a neurosis for some.

It's a time to sit down in front of the flat-screen and not move until it's over.

If you want to hang out with me at any time during the next four-plus months, it will likely revolve around something pigskin.

I spend long stretches stretched out on the couch, screaming at the TV like someone who belongs under long-term psychiatric observation, possibly restrained, and certainly on medication.

I spend the week studying matchups, trying to predict outcomes—like I'm Robert DeNiro in Casino—hoping to anticipate what the week holds in store, and I know I'm not alone.

Don't know if there are any football detox programs and even if there were, I wouldn't voluntarily partake. Hopefully my family wouldn't stage any sort of intervention.

Fact is, I don't want to quit, although as a Broncos fan that could change as the season progresses.

NFL and NCAA football are religion for a large percentage of the population. We're corn chip-devouring cult members following the rantings of Chris Collinsworth. 

So it's on. The 2009 season commenced and, for better or for worse, life won't be the same until a month into 2010, when the natural football detox begins.


Listen on the radio Saturday and Sunday nights—Tune into Patrick Mauro’s Sports Overnight America Weekend from 10:06 p.m. to 1 a.m. PDT

You can call the show at (800) 878-PLAY (7529)

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