Well, football is back.
After eight months of lingering and distracting ourselves with other sports, football is back. We waged through the summer with only baseball to keep ourselves occupied. We used the college basketball tournament to heal our wounds for a month in the spring. We witnessed the Lakers win another championship in June.
But a huge hole in our sporting world's heart was left unfulfilled.
The last month and a half has been a time to slowly shift our major focus from baseball--and the WNBA--to the return of the NFL and college football.
To prepare for this annual holiday, we studied and digested the new season previews from nearly every legitimate magazine and news source. We joined our fantasy football leagues, snagging Adrian Peterson as our first pick. And we followed each and every day of training camp with a thoughtful eye.
We are ready for some football.
Heck, we were ready for football on February 2; the day after the Steelers won the Super Bowl after that classic final drive.
There is nothing better than football season. Nothing is even close. Waking up on fall Saturdays with a full dose of college ball on your horizon is pretty thrilling. Almost as thrilling as waking up on fall Sundays with a full dose of pro ball awaiting you.
And now, we are finally here.
The next four to five months will be all football--all the time.
The love of sports is something that is simply ingrained in a few of us. For those that have that indescribable passion, it is amazing. And although there are numerous sporting events daily, football rules over all of them.
That is why it is the one sport that has so much glamour surrounding it's opening weekend. You can't say that about basketball. Baseball's "Opening Day" is special because of tradition, but you hardly see the sporting world build up to it like they do with football season. They just don't compare.
Apart from the broad sense of football--and focusing solely on this year--we are in store for something special. This college football season has the potential to be one of the best in our generation. Simply because three great quarterbacks in Tim Tebow, Colt McCoy, and Sam Bradford are leading Florida, Texas, and Oklahoma, respectively, to a potential BCS Championship. Aside from those three schools, USC continues to rebuild, and after an epic showdown in The Horseshoe this saturday, they could be on their way to an 8th consecutive Pac-10 title. And possibly a visit down the road to Pasadena.
As far as the NFL goes, it continues to grow economically year after year. Constant sell-outs at each and every stadium and a great revenue-sharing plan are concrete evidence that NFL is king. When other sports are going through strike-filled seasons and struggling to sell tickets, football just keeps the throttle going. It's another example of the theme where the rich merely get richer.
Another interesting factor that lends to fans' admiration for football is likely the absence of it.
Although it is as frustrating as Gary Anderson's missed field goal in the 1998 NFC Championship Game, the long offseason helps football establish itself as the dominant sport. Every new offseason brings eight more months of pondering the thought of why your team couldn't make it all the way--or wondering about every other tem-related scenario. It builds the anticipation to all-time highs every other week.
It's hard to argue any other sport in any part of the world lives up that hype.
In sports, baseball, basketball, and hockey are the princes to the football king. No debate there.
So, as we return to this joy we call football, we can settle down for the next five months. But we need to enjoy it. Or else, all of a sudden, we are caught in the middle of February, where we only have the NFL Pro Bowl, and situated in the dead middle of the basketball and hockey seasons.