It was a long, hot summer, but now that feeling in the air is back. I get up a bit earlier this time of year. I think I even have an extra bounce in my step. My morning coffee tastes better, and the bacon — well, the bacon always tastes good. My dog Boozer also has something extra in his giddy-up these days. Usually, I spend the first 15 minutes of my day standing in the dew-soaked, morning grass waiting for him to do his duty. He makes his rounds by sniffing every bush and fence post, taking his time to leave his pug scent behind. But now even he is acting different. The dude is getting anxious these days. Two minutes and he is ready to come back inside. Maybe he notices the difference, too. The way the wind blows a little more and the birds sing a little more crisply. It’s that feeling of goodness in the air letting you know that everything is going to be okay. So, what does this all mean? It’s time for football season.
As a self-declared sports junkie, I dig every game where a ball is either thrown, kicked, hit, passed, or whatever they do during those beach volleyball games. By the way, have you ever watched a beach volleyball match in high definition? It’s spectacular for myriad reasons but seeing sand stuck on the body in provocative places is fantastic. I suggest you watch just for this reason. In short, I love sports and everything that encompasses them. But when it comes to football, things just seem better. From the weather to my morning rituals, the world around me seems to share in the glee of football season.
The NFL season is under way and it looks like the Green Bay Packers are loading up for a repeat run to the Super Bowl. Aaron Rodgers and his arsenal of weapons at wide receiver will surely light-up opposing secondaries while the defense will be lead by the long-haired freak of a linebacker, Clay Matt hews. I fully expect the Pack to make a run, although it may not be as easy as some think. The Bears, lead by Jay Cutler and his plastic knees, are always a force as long as he doesn’t throw passes to the other team. With another year under offensive coordinator Mike Martz’ system, Bears fans are optimistic that this year the offense can play at the same level as the feared Chicago defense. If this happens, the rivalry of Packers vs. Bears may soon get back to the old black and blue days.
There are some other teams that will have a say in who challenges for a Super Bowl. Can Tom Brady and the Patriots avenge last season’s playoff loss to the Jets? Will Drew Brees lead the Saints back to the Promised Land? How about the Colts and Peyton Manning? Manning is out for who-knows-how-long due to a neck injury and the word is he may not come back at all this season. If that’s the case, the window is open for division rival Houston to finally make the leap into the playoff s. The Texans have a good enough offense to play with anyone, and they’ve installed a new 3-4 defense under new defensive coordinator Wade Philips. If the defense can put pressure on opposing quarterbacks, the Houston Texans may be the breakout team of the NFL season.
Of course, there will be surprises. At the time you read this, the Buffalo Bills and the Detroit Lions are both 2-0 while the Vikings and Chiefs are 0-2. The Bills and Lions look to finally be on their way out of the NFL basement while the Vikings and Chiefs will struggle to finish with a winning record. Fact is, in the NFL, anything can happen. Football is a violent sport where injuries are commonplace and frequent. At any given moment, a superstar player can go down and change the course of a team’s season. It’s nearly impossible to predict who will be standing at the end hoisting the Lombardi Trophy. That’s what makes football so great. Every year a new team surprises and makes its mark. The unpredictability is exciting. The collisions are, too.
In honor of football, try getting up earlier this season. Start your day with coffee and bacon and be glad you do not have to wait on Boozer.