In early July, it's a hard time to be a football fan.
Baseball is just getting its legs and nearing an all-star break, the NBA is finally over, and it’s just under a month before NFL teams head to camp.
My mind starts to wander during the “summer doldrums”, as I finally sense a long NFL offseason (at least in terms of actual action on the field) coming to its rightful conclusion and I begin “jonesing” for some onfield action.
With that in mind, I present to you the 20 reasons why my sport of choice remains the NFL:
1. Games are played under any weather conditions; the more adverse the weather (especially snow), the more interesting to watch.
2. In a 16 game season, each game is its own little soap opera that begins playing out the Monday following the previous game and leading up to a crescendo near kickoff on game day.
3. Tradition and history of the great stadiums, teams, and players. My pick is Soldier Field in Chicago where the ghost of Walter Payton must hover along with the Papa Bear himself, George S. Halas. Though I dislike the team, I respect the tradition, heritage, and charm of Lambeau Stadium and the small-town Green Bay Packers.
4. The start of training camp, the regular season opener, the playoffs, free agency signing period, and the NFL draft. Each event feels a little bit like Christmas for a football junkie.
5. Arriving early at the stadium on game day: the sights, sounds, and smells are ones to savor.
6. The Pro Football Hall of Fame….the keepers of the flame. Always a treat to visit.
7. Opening Sunday in the regular season…the hopes, expectations, and nervous energy before kickoff. No one really knows what the season has in store.
8. Directv’s NFL Sunday Ticket.
9. It’s the ultimate team game. 11 players on the field all working together to carry out their assignments to ensure the success of a play.
10. That every team has a chance…..how many times recently have we seen clubs go from worst to first….the Saints weren’t even in the playoffs the year prior, now they're defending Super Bowl champions.
11. NFL cheerleaders…bring back the “Honeybears”.
12. “Opening” kickoffs to start the game.
13. The “two minute” warning.
14. Instant replay…not perfected yet, and it still takes too much time, but kudos to the NFL for utilizing it.
15. The NFL combine….as a draft junkie, this somehow provides me a football fix in late February and gets me ready for the draft.
16. Throwback uniforms…other sports do it, but none as gracefully as the NFL. Love those San Diego uni’s.
17. Listening to local radio play-by-play men describe an exciting play or touchdown.
18. Mel Kiper…as I admitted, I’m a draft junkie. I like Mel…he’s kind of like Dick Vitale. Either you like him or hate him. I like that he’s not afraid to voice his opinion.
19. NFL Network/NFL Films….copied but never duplicated. Love those old NFL films (the follies & coach’s tape).
20. A strong commissioner.