It’s been 7 weeks without football. I’m well past the withdrawal symptoms and have actually made great progress enjoying the extra day in my weekend with which to accomplish things. The NFL purposefully stretches out a very long off-season by giving its fans bits of interesting things to chew on every few weeks through the winter and spring:
The Combine for incoming players from college – This is worse than watching paint dry. About the only interesting thing is seeing 300 pound linemen run as fast as they can for 40 yards. That’s not enough entertainment value for me. I take a pass on this each year.
Free agency – This can be a sexy and exciting time for the fan until you realize that just about every team that makes a big splash in free agency generally fails to live up to expectations in the coming season. Teams that win Super Bowls generally build from within using the draft (see: Giants, Patriots, Steelers, Packers for positive confirmation, see my Eagles last year to prove the negative side of the equation)
The release of next season’s schedule – The appeal of this for me: fall trip planning. Once the schedule is released, I start looking for appealing games/locations based on match-ups, airline points available and other events going on in cities around the game days. This year I’ve got my fingers crossed that the Broncos will be playing on one of two weekends in November that coincide with a trip to Denver. The Peyton Manning news today only makes the anticipation that much better.
The Draft – I watch the first round of the draft like some people watch the Oscars. It’s a great excuse to make football snacks, to listen to people talk about football and to think about football. For three hours, it feels like football is just around the corner, until it goes away for the rest of the spring (and most of the summer).
Against my better judgement, I’ve been paying a bit more attention to the off-season activities than usual. I’ll be writing more over the next couple of weeks looking at the changes and moves with an eye ahead to next season.