Football Season

Thursday marked the opening of the NFL season, of which the Pittsburgh Steelers won in over time by a three pointer. Today is the actual beginning of the season, which could be interesting as it may be the last normal season for awhile as rumors of contract negotiations between the Player’s Association and the Owners have stalled out. This means that possibly next season there will be no salary cap with the season after possibly marred by a strike or lockout.

Which will certainly do no harm to the sport, because it didn’t hurt them the first time there was a player’s strike, it didn’t harm baseball–so I guess we can just grin and bear it as a strike/lockout is apparently inevitable every 6 or so years. The NFL seems to be immune from the current recession (although the people that determine these things have been saying that the recession is over). Perhaps that is the fault of the fantasy football leagues and the fact that no matter what happens in the economy people still love to gamble.

Which the NFL does not condone in any way…except by posting the stats of every player possible and by having a section of their website dedicated to fantasy leagues, but no gambling (wink, wink).

The real point of all of this is that I can’t get into football anymore. I don’t know what happened or precisely when it happened, although I can sort of chart a growing level of disinterest in the watching the sport. It wasn’t grad school, I didn’t watch football for the two years of grad school, but that was because I didn’t have television. I would watch the games at Port Royal when they were on, I would even grab a paper on monday to see how the Bills were doing. Sometimes I would hit a bar in the afternoon to watch the games, but for the most part those two years were a sports limbo.

After Grad school, I paid a bit more attention because I was working at the cable company and one guy, Nick–I think, ran a weekly pick 10 pool. It was nice because he didn’t use the spread and where all the guys researched historical matchups, weather patterns, and injuries; the women picked theirs based on cute quarterbacks, if a running back was dating an actress or singer, or what city they would rather go to: don’t laugh the women typically won the money week after week. I just went with the Vegas odds, and usually ended up 7/10 each week. Not enough to win, but enough to look respectable.

still, without the betting it was doubtful that I was really that into it. It became more and more about statistics and records, in short it became about math and math isn’t really my favorite subject in the world. I was invited to the company’s fantasy football league but I just couldn’t muster up the energy to research the players and who I would want first.

I should note that at this time I wasn’t working on any publications, and was still hoping for a way out of the academic life that had so burned me out during grad school. I would joke around with my bartender about how much energy these people put into these fictional leagues and yet they would still call me a nerd when I would show up to work with a book from the library. The internet meme is still valid, “Fantasy Football: Dungeons and Dragons for kids who used to beat up kids who played Dungeons and Dragons.”

I would shrug my shoulders and punch in to work, on fridays I would turn in my picks hoping that the dreaded Saturday OSU/Michigan State game wasn’t on. However from then on the football games didn’t matter to me. I left that job and moved to Buffalo.

Because Buffalo has an NFL team, there was a brief resurgence in my football interest. But I do note that it was more localized. My knowledge of other teams waned unless they were on the schedule. On Sundays I would drive to Chippewa street and watch the Bills game where my uncle was bartending, but it was more about an excuse to drink on a sunday afternoon than anything else. I simply couldn’t care anymore.

I didn’t care when my favorite NFC team, The Bears, made it to the Superbowl; I didn’t care that New England went undefeated, although there was a sweet moment when they lost the Superbowl but I wasn’t that interested in the sport, and this year honestly all I can think about is how much closer the first puck drop is now that the first kickoff is past us.

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