The only thing almost as good as the NFL season is the time right before the NFL season. Isn’t this great? I mean, this is what we live for. For me, the start of the football season is the ultimate consolation prize for the end of glorious summer.
But what of our significant others? The football widows. For them this is no time of joy. Oh no. This is a time of mourning.
Let us bow our heads in a moment of silence for them and their sacrifice.
While I am on the subject, I have some advice for you young’uns out there. Make it clear early in your personal relationships that your partner knows that you are hopelessly in love with football. And that is a sacred bond which no woman shall put asunder. Saturday night is hers. Early Sunday morning is fine. But Sunday afternoon? That’s me and the TV’s time.
If she doesn’t agree with that, move on. She isn’t the right one. Trust me.
There, got that out of the way. I have just saved you years of misery. No fee.
After last season, I realize that I know nothing. Up is down. Night is day. Black is white. Celine Dion is music. Why fight it I say? George Costanza had the right idea. Opposite. I’m gonna nail these folks!
* Brett Favre will lead his new team on an improbable playoff run, culminating in a stunning come from behind Super Bowl win over his former team. John Madden will sharply criticize the decision to name Favre the MVP.
* No Bengals will be arrested this year.
* Pacman Jones will resist rebellion and stay out of the “scrip clubs.”
* The Atlanta Falcons will win their division.
* I really hate to break this to you, but Brady and the Patriots are going to suck.
* Bill Belichick will be completely honest and accurate with his injury reports.
* Tomlinson is going to have a horrible season.
* Shawn Merriman will not ruin his career by playing on a ripped up knee.
* Mike Martz will magically turn the motley crew of Isaac Bruce, Bryant Johnson, Arnaz Battle, Josh Morgan and J.T. O’Sullivan into the “Greatest Show on Dirt.”
* The Texans will settle on one running back who will get 350 carries and average 5.1 yards per.
* An inspired Mike Shanahan will also settle on one back whose stats will be almost as good.
* Tony Romo will miss the Cowboys first playoff win of the century when he turns down an invitation from Paris Hilton to spend the bye week in Cabo. Romo instead goes Howard Hughes and locks himself in his suite studying game film all week, but then in a zombie-like state he slips in the shower and sprains his elbow when he finally bathes after watching film for 98 hours.
* Bill Parcells will fail to bring any change to the Dolphins fortunes and will abruptly retire in January, At his press conference he will also announce his upcoming appearance on Dancing With the Stars.
* Tony Kornheiser will say something on Monday Night Football that does not cause me to scratch my head or grimace.
* After a 4-12 season Herm Edwards will change his famous quote to “You play to play the game!"
* The Lions are going to be good. Damn good.
* Steve Smith will not whip any more team-mate ass.
* Morganna will make a comeback, running out on the field to kiss Tony Romo, however the attempt will fail when her advanced state of droop causes her to knock herself silly.
* The Patriots will play the Broncos on October 20th. Rodney Harrison will be ejected from the game after he tries to cram sugar cubes down diabetic quarterback Jay Cutler’s throat.
Preseason Misery Index
10) Ravens: A new first-time head coach. A new offensive coordinator. A rookie quarterback. A shaky offensive line. Hmmm. That defense better be something special or the Ravens will escape the Misery Index never more.
(9) Bears: We often use war analogies when talking about football. “In the trenches”, “the bomb”, “blitzing”, “preparing for battle.” The Bears even play in a place called Soldier Field. Some may be offended and disagree with these types of references and I guess I understand that. Football is not war and war is not football. If football really was a military conflict the Bears management would be convicted of war crimes for torturing fans with the likes of Rex Grossman and Kyle Orton.
(8) Lions: Last year at this time we were all amused by quarterback Jon Kitna’s off-season proclamations that this team would win at least 10 games. This year the older, wiser Kitna is keeping his mouth shut and just hoping the team can win enough games, and block enough blitzes to keep him on the field for 10 games.
(7) 49ers: Mike Martz seemed an odd choice for the new offensive coordinator of this once proud franchise. Especially considering his specialty is devising diabolical passing game plans, while the only offensive player on this team with proven skills is a running back. So, we have an offensive guru trolling the sidelines carrying and empty bag of tricks. A lame duck head coach praying the guru can pull a rabbit out of a hat and save his job. A physically gifted tight end playing in a system that largely ignores his position. And a pro-bowl caliber running back whose two surgically repaired knees are the only thing standing between the 49ers and the abyss. Do you believe in miracles?
(6) Rams: Lately we have heard rumors that Los Angeles is on the brink of getting an NFL franchise back. While the Rams have not been mentioned in those rumors, another season like the last one and the good people of St. Louis might just foot the bill for the rental trucks and help them pack.
(5) Raiders: Here is a little known fact for ya’. Raiders owner/head coach Al Davis was born on the 4th of July. 1929. He will be 80 on his next birthday. Hey Al, give yourself a nice birthday present for number 8-0. I hear the property in West Palm Beach is getting more affordable now. Buy yourself a nice place down there. Relax. Watch the surf. Rent yourself some honeys. Walk around in your Speedos all day. You had your time. Thank you for your service. Oh yeah, while you are at it, please stop and pick up Peterno on your way.
(4) Dolphins: They broke my heart last year. I told myself I would never get caught up in the elusive dream again but they pulled me in. The undefeated season right by the wayside. They were so close. So close. But there is a new sheriff in town. Bill Parcells to the rescue. Now this team has virtually no chance at reaching the glorious level of putrid they achieved last year. Oh well, it was nice while it lasted.
(3) Falcons: Wow, I have a hard time mustering up much sympathy for the bad decisions of a guy that could buy and sell my entire zip code just for kicks, but Arther Blank has had one hell of a time with his team over the last couple of years. The Vick fiasco. And then the Vick dog fighting fiasco. Then the head coach quit before the season ended and taped his resignation on the player’s lockers. Then Blank thought he had Bill Parcells roped into coming in and fixing the whole mess, but Parcells took a right turn and headed for Miami instead. That is a lot of disappointment. But, now he has a fresh new franchise quarterback and a fresh new head coach so maybe we have seen the bottom. Actually, considering the NFC South’s weird pattern over the last 4 years, the Falcons (who finished last in ‘07) should actually win the division this year. Okay, if that trend actually continues this year I am going to start getting seriously freaked out.
(2) Bengals: Carson Palmer is a perfect example why players shouldn’t necessarily fall all over themselves to get long term contracts. Palmer is locked up here until 2015. One of our greatest quarterback talents trapped in the NFL’s version of a septic tank. Sad. Luckily for Palmer he can continue to live vicariously through his alma mater, USC. And Bengals fans can continue to live vicariously through Ohio State, who at least give their fans the illusion that they will win the championship.
(1) Chiefs: Earlier this summer the Chiefs stated that their “no standing” policy at Arrowhead Stadium would be enforced this season. The question I have is, what possible reason will the fans have to stand? Other than getting out of their seats and heading toward the exits after yet another beat-down, it is hard to imagine the Chiefs faithful having much occasion to stand. And even if they do find some reason to stand it is unlikely the people sitting behind the offender would be upset about it. Obstructing another fan’s view of the field would actually be a thoughtful gesture, much like when the police put a sheet over the corpse of a traffic fatality.