I know, I know most die-hard NFL fans say they don't bother with pre-season games. Then who makes up the roughly 60,000 fans filling the stadiums during these games - movie extras? Granted that by the third quarter when the third string players are hitting the field more and more empty seats appear, but really who doesn't sneak a peek at the game at some point during its duration. For me it's even to hear the voices of my favorite commentators; the eloquent Al Michaels, vivacious John Madden and the Monday Night crew with good ol' Tony Kornheiser, full of his usual wit and vault of obscure knowledge and the newest addition to Monday Nights the funny, intelligent, knowledgable and articulate Ron 'Jaws' Jaworski, held together by the solid commentary of Mike Tirico. So it's not just what's happening on the field that excites me about the burgeoning NFL season but what goes on from the broadcast booth during the game and in the pre-game shows. All the drama, personality,and wisdom coming from above.
I can't help but watch the pre-season games to get that pre-season glimpse at the fellows I've come to know and love throughout the years,even if they are pacing the sidelines or relaxing on the bench, be it Manning, Brady, Hasselbeck, Alexander, Reggie Bush, Champ Bailey, Pennington, Harrington - whose presence I'm looking forward to seeing more of this season. And the new breed, even if none of these players who get a taste of the game in pre-season ever set foot on the field again, it's exciting to know whose hiding in the wings, and reassuring based on the nature of this physical game. I lasted through most of the 49ers vs Broncos game. The speedy 49ers with the return of Alex Smith appear to have a very promising chance this year. Thus far it's been the most exciting game to watch.
The bottom line is it's almost here, the countdown to the season opener is under way. I've stocked up the beer fridge, the snacks, I'm strengthening my vocal chords, reading up on my rosters and stats and placing Kleenex on the coffee tables because the incredible shit that happens during an NFL game - 80 yrd touchback returns, last minute interceptions, Brett Favre moves, Peyton Manning moves...damn-well moves me to tears!
How do we ever get from February to now?