After eight grueling months of wasting my time on diversions like my career and loved ones, I'm thrilled to realize that football season has officially begun.
This past Sunday saw the start of the NFL preseason with the Hall of Fame Game from lovely Canton, Ohio. The game itself wasn't too exciting, just a chance to see which new players will be setting records for penalties in the Raiders' uniforms this season. And the Hall of Fame ceremonies were a little boring. I was wondering how they'd find a material dense enough to represent the John Madden's head, but apparently they just went with bronze.
In the end, the Hall of Fame Game is important not for what it does, but for what it portends -- the start of the real season. It's sort of the Punxatawny Phil of the NFL, except Madden's so fat you know he's going to see his solar-eclipse shadow and thus guarantee seventeen more weeks of pro football. (Why, yes. I do hate John Madden.)
The next step, of course, is the start of fantasy football. At the risk of sounding like this hilarious douchebag, I absolutely love fantasy football. It somehow manages to ramp my football fandom all the way up to eleven, making me care about how many receiving yards a backup Steelers TE got against the Colts or whether Neil Rackers's third field goal was an amazing 50 yards or just a boring old 49. It's sad, I know, but it keeps me warm on the couch come Sundays. Well, that and the rosy glow I get from light alcohol poisoning.
Anyway, my first draft is tonight, with a second league's draft following in a couple weeks. (I once tried to do three at once, but I discovered, like Jerry Seinfeld, that I'm just not an orgy guy. With all that distraction, I was barely able to dress myself.) I've got facts and figures and, most important, gut feelings that will prove to be horribly, horribly wrong. To paraphrase Hedley Lamarr, my mind is a-glow with whirling transient nodes of thought, careening through a cosmic vapor of invention!
I know I'm not alone in this sickness, so we'll turn this into a forum for all things football, fantasy and otherwise. For starters, if you haven't read Bill Simmons' Page 2 column on the subject, be sure to check it out.
P.S. Thrillhous? You're cut.