Draft Week: Football Addiction, A Precautionary Tale
Draft week is finally here!! As a result I’m going to spend a bit of time on today’s Genforward Living Legacy genealogy blog talking about the guts and the glory that is, the best sport on earth.
Although I originate from the UK, I am really not a fan of British football (the one where you actually use your feet). In my younger days, I did go to matches occasionally and must confess to following Spurs in the golden era of Hoddle, Waddle, Ardiles and Villa (google some of the goals, really). The game in the modern era has just become far too soft for my tastes, plus lets just say, it’s been a fairly painful experience following the England national team over the decades (a set of emotions perfectly personified in the truly brilliant movie, Mike Basset, England Manager).
No, despite being from the right side of the pond, my real pleasure has always been the American (footless) version of football. I recall my exposure to the game coming on a number of fronts. We had a Channel 4 (once we finally hit 4 TV channels in the UK) show in the late 80’s, where Mick Luckhurst (first Brit to hit the NFL, kicker for the Falcons) would come on and we’d get a round-up of the previous week’s action.
The other main influencer was the computer/games console. MANY a happy hour was wiled away playing first TV Sports Football on the Commodore Amiga, and then in later years, the Madden series on various iterations of Sony Playstation. It was this latter game that really had a big part in me properly understanding how the game works. Even in much later years I had a very good friend that I used to play Madden with ALL the time.
I can’t say that either of us were ever the greatest at the game, but we were pretty closely matched to each other, although I was just a little better. I always seemed to be the one coming up with a new move or tactic, which would give me the upper hand for a good chunk of the game, until he had worked out a counter move. Out of an average 10 games I’m maybe win 3 really easily, 5 would be really close but I’d pull something out in the dying seconds, and the other two he’d win the close game.
Although it was a little one sided, he loved the challenge. His last ditch victories would result in much jumping up and down on the sofa, usually sending drinks and munchies flying. He knew I was better, and he just loved the wins as much as he hated the losses because he knew no matter what I’d never LET him win. There were other things we played where the balance was reversed (playing him at Super Puzzle Fighter, a Tetris variant, was like playing the sodding Borg) but it was Madden that led to the most stress and ultimately enjoyment.
Although we were limited to about an hour a week of NFL highlights coverage, we started to get the Superbowl shown live on TV too. This was always a must watch, despite the fact it invariably finished at about two o’clock in the morning or later. Through actually getting to see a whole game, it became clear how true to life out Madden cliff hangers could be, as entire matches got compressed down to the last 2 minutes of clock management.
Then, we moved to Dallas. Oh joy of joys, a local team and games every week! Given we were in Dallas and got all the local games, I obviously started following the Cowboys, as I never really had a full time team back when I was growing up, more a case of picking a side out of the Superbowl contenders. What I didn’t appreciate was how much hate and vitriol supporting Dallas could generate outside of Dallas. Apparently everyone got a bit upset about the America’s team bit and still hasn’t quite gotten over it….
Anyways, in the last few years my addiction to the game has become worse. I also trained my wife up. This was a mistake. Now, during football season the DVR goes crazy. We don’t have Sunday ticket (honestly, this fact is SUCH a blessing) as we don’t have Direct TV, but that still leaves quite a large amount of football on the table every week. On top of the local game we’re talking another 3-4 games on Sunday plus the Sunday night offerings, Monday Night Football and Thursday.
Even allowing for fast forwarding the ads on the recorded games it’s still a lot of hours TV to get in every week, considering we both work and viewing time starts at about 8pm for us. Football season in our house pretty much becomes 5 months or so of watching nothing but football. Sunday afternoon dinners and housework start to get rescheduled depending on when Dallas is playing. All other things we watch are recorded and saved up for the annual hell that is off season.
My son hasn’t quite got the bug yet. He’s at the stage where he’ll sit and watch a match if prodded into it. However “his side”, whoever that happens to be, has to be winning or his interest wanes and he mysteriously vanishes during one of the intervals and plants himself back on his computer. He’s only 11 so I will give him another year before I refer him to counselling to get him properly educated in the ways of the NFL.
By the time the season ends, we’re pretty much footballed out. It’s similar feeling that anyone who’s stayed for a week in Vegas, rather then the less damaging weekend trip that most sane people opt for. You’ve had a ball but really run out of steam, and now just want to try sleeping for a change. It doesn’t take long though for the twitches to set in again.
After about 2 weeks, the craving has started again. Then it’s counting days till free agency when you might actually get some real news to get excited about (except of course if you follow Dallas as they don’t tend to do exciting in free agency, this year, exiting would have been a better description, goodbye secondary). After a couple of days of interesting stuff it’s then back to the Tony Romo saga and waiting for the end of April.
4 weeks in, the DVR is getting very light on content as most of the Blacklist, Lucifer, Designated Survivor, Blindspot, River Monsters, and Wicked Tuna has been watched in full, and we’re now stuck with APB until X-Factor UK rolls round again or the next season of any of the decent stuff rolls around (Blacklist Retribution just isn’t the same).
And now it’s almost here! A few days of unadulterated new news. An excuse to plant in front of the TV and watch it all unfold (yes it’s that bad in our house). Time to see if the Browns can draft an entire team with their bargain bucketload of picks, to reverse last season’s monumental drubbing. Will Trader Jerry be back bartering with our lowly 28th pick for something a bit more interesting, or is there enough depth in the draft this year where we need it, to mean there’s some bargain bucket goodies like Dak floating about again, so we can beef up the edge rush and start plastering back together what used to be our secondary?
Whatever happens, it’ll be a quick hit and then the real pain sets in. Counting the days before we get to watch all of the pre-season drudgefests, that we are only watching due to medical need. Then that’s really the final hill, we’ve made it for another year, the party gets started and the game is on! 6 months of bliss! Right up until this year’s version the catch that never was, or of 3rd and 20 inside their own 20 with 18 seconds to play, what could possibly go wrong……..