Today marks the dawn of the first full slate of games in the National Football League, and across America there’s excitement as fans fire up their barbecue grills and warm up their television sets in preparation for their weekly dose of cholesterol and carnage.
College teams got an earlier start, bringing their special brand of pageantry and color to American living rooms on Saturdays.
But along with the pompons, marching bands and testosterone-laced commentary from Neanderthal announcers you’d never invite into your parlor under any other set of circumstances, I hear another din, the collective cry from all those folks who hate football. And although I do not share their convictions, it is to them I address this remark:
Do not despair, it will be over soon!
Yes, if you share space with a football lover, take heart because there’s a good chance that his (or her) team sucks, and if it does, a football season dies a quick death.
Take my University of Texas Longhorns*, for example. They’ve played just two games and have 10 more on their slate, but after witnessing last night’s shellacking at the hands of the bloody Mormons of Brigham Young University, I can say with certainty that the Longhorns’ season is OVER, FINISHED, KAPUT! Stick a fork in ‘em, they’re done.
Same goes for my Dallas Cowboys*. They’ve yet to play a single game, but already I have a pretty good notion of how their season is going to go. I fully expect to be hearing the first death rattle later this evening. I already know their defense (pronounced DEEEEFENSE in football parlance) will blow. Opposing teams will score at will.
Among team sports, baseball is my first love because it is a marathon, not a sprint. In baseball, there might be things you can do to salvage your season, which extends from spring to fall for 162 games.
Football, on the other hand, can be a quick slice of the jugular. A couple of losses or a key injury to a quarterback and you might as well walk away rather than stay there watching your team bleed out. Lose your quarterback in week one and you should consider yourself strapped to the gurney, just waiting for the flow of lethal drugs to begin.
Football is THE sport for people with a short attention span.
For football-haters, even if you’re unlucky and your football-loving significant other has a good team, the season will still be over relatively quickly. All you’ll ever have to endure is 16 weeks of agony in the NFL, plus a handful of playoff games. If the worst happens, you can put up with that, surely, even while hoping for that short losing streak that will quickly put paid to your lover’s dreams.
So screw you, football.
Oh, I’ll dutifully tune in today to check the pulse on my Cowboys, but even if I don’t find one, who cares? I’ll just hit that big fast-forward button in my head and get ready for next year.* I’m not a front-runner, I come by the teams I support honestly. I attended the University of Texas at Austin, where I regularly rode a shuttle bus with the great Earl Campbell. I’m not sure if he remembers me. As for the Dallas Cowboys, that love was handed down from father to son. I remember watching Danny Villanueva kick field goals, and as a child, I was on my knees praying when Bart Starr quarterback sneaked it across the goal line for the Packers in the Ice Bowl. That’s when I first discovered that god doesn’t answer prayers.