In what should come as a surprise to no one, football season has finally returned. I now get to spend my Sunday afternoons in a poorly lit bar yelling at a large tv with dozens of people dressed numbers that I recognize. Number 20, Brian Dawkins. Number 93, Jevon Kearse. Number 36, Brian Westbrook. And of course, number 5, Donovan McNabb. I have spent the last 7 or so months watching football shows and reading football news. When training camp started, I hung on every word. When the Eagles cut Jeremiah Trotter, I was shocked and confused. But when kickoff happened, I knew that the next few months were going to be great. No longer would I be consigned to paying attention to what players were doing in their free time, which typically involved dog fighting, drugs, DUI's and "making it rain." Now I could watch things like the Eagles muff two punts to give the game to the Packers (Boo!) or Randy Moss announce authoritatively that he was back (Bitches).
The beginning of football season was marked by several auspicious events that were more like signs from on high. First, Madden 08 came out. Watching the commercials announcing its impending arrival was a hell of a marketing campaign. Then came my first fantasy draft. Two fantasy leagues and I get the last pick in both of them. Either way, picking these players signified that soon, oh yes soon, they would be doing something. And then I saw one of the best sports commercials ever from Nike. Calm down Chris. One of the best sports commercials not featuring Michael Jordan. Happy?
Its only week 1 and the season is yet early, but why do I get the feeling that something is missing? See, football is like any other great sport in that it has its heroes and villains. And as I look about the league I see plenty of heroes, but few players who resonate with me as villains. Michael Vick? Well, he's going to jail. Randy Moss? Seems to be a pretty good team player so far. Ah but the trump card, Terrell Owens. Nope. Still not seeing much of a villain. Owens has gone and confounded the league by staying mostly quiet over the offseason. I mean, in a recent interview the son of a bitch had the audacity to actually show contrition and humility. Dammit, thats not fair! You're not supposed to learn from your own selfish idiocy! He even said that he regrets things he did while feuding with McNabb and said that McNabb was one of the best players he ever played with. Dammit! This is essentially like Michael Vick running into a burning PetSmart and rescuing 1,000 adorable puppies, even the kinda gimpy one. I figure that the number has to be pretty high and thus I'm setting the over/under for "How many puppies Vick must save to redeem himself in the eyes of the public" at about 1,000.
See, football fans not only thrive on the success of their own team, but also on the failures of their rivals. But for the past several years, my divisional rivals haven't really been scary. Last season the Eagles ended Bledsoe's career by sacking him 7 times in one game. The Redskins are generally seen as the prime example on how NOT to run a football orginazation, though to be fair they are better than Cleveland and Oakland. And the Giants? Well hell, nothing the Eagles could ever do would hurt much more than their own backstabbing and pettiness against each other. So its only Week 1 but I still really want a villain that I root against.
Oh, you remember those auspicious events I was talking about earlier? Well one of them was the intro movie to Madden 08 that unveiled the NFL's theme for the upcoming season. I find it strangely fitting for this upcoming season. And it also makes me wonder who wants to be my villain for the season? Who wants to be booed endlessly? Who wants to be burned in effigy?Who wants it more?Cheers.
UPDATE:Not only does football give us heroes and villains to direct our energy at but it also gives us tragedy. My sympathies and thoughts go to Kevin Everett and his family. On Sunday, Everett, TE of Buffalo, was involved in a hard hit that caused a cervical spine injury and has probably left him paralyzed for life.
UPDATE: Kevin Everett has regained voluntary movement in his arms and legs and doctors now say he will be able to walk again. This is great news that every sports fan can truly appreciate.