There is no better time of the year than fall and football season. For this diehard football fan at least. I won't knock you if you tell me you love summer. The sun, beaches, relaxing with a few drinks, sure. I get it. Not for me though.
Nothing gets me up in the morning like a NFL Sunday morning. In fact, the preparation starts on Friday night. You get your weekend plans in order, pregame with a little college football action on Saturday and gets your ducks in a row for that Sunday morning. Whether you are going to the actual game, heading out to the sports bar or inviting friends over to your man-cave, every DIEHARD fan knows what I am talking about.
Stock your fridge with a 24-pack, order your favorite sandwhich or prep your favorite tailgate meal, whatever it may be, we all have our own ritual. Allow me to take you through my ritual, step-by-step. I'm sure many of you will be nodding your head in agreement or saying "ahh I know EXACTLY what he means."
I will start it out by sharing my "I am going to watch the game at home week".. it begins on Saturday morning when I give my buddies a shout and organize who is bringing/cooking what. Usually ends up with my house, and my cooking. We supply the food, the crew brings the alcohol and other beverages and the desserts/snacks. The supplies for the meal, chicken cutlets with prosciutto and fresh mozzarella, tomato sauce to the chicken wings, whatever it may be, the ingredients are taking care of on Saturday. Then Saturday night is when we plan what game is playing on what TV and who is sitting where. Yes we are that crazy!
Saturday night comes and it is all "man ... I can't sleep at all". Pacing, tossing and turning and excitement for gameday. You flip through each and every sports network, ESPN; NFL Network; Fox, you pick it. Nothing can pass the time until the morning. If I get 4 hours of sleep on a Saturday night in preparation for the game, I count it as a win. It usually ends up being a 3AM-7AM type of night. It's okay, we only get 16-20 of these a year. I'll sleep when I'm dead.
Here comes Sunday morning! The best day of the week. HANDS DOWN. I like to get an early start on the day. That means computer on, fantasy football team up and the over-thinking and nonsensacle matchup deliberation begins. But the Bears defense usually holds running backs out of the endzone.... but I heard he had a great week of practice. Damn who do I start?! (Note to readers: Stick to your gut, trust me)
When my Jets are playing, it's their pregame show on their local radio network (1050 ESPN NY shout-out, I got you Don LaGreca) and it usually means myself and my two brothers shouting back and fourth at the radio calling the people who call in idiots. Lets face it ... the majority of us Jet fans are our own special idiots. (Sidenote: I'd LOVE to find out how my electric bill SPIKES on a Sunday. It's radios, computers and TV's on from 7AM-midnight, that'd be a fun test.)
12 noon, one final look and second guess over the fantasy roster. Maybe call up a buddy in the league and try to grab a TE because the bye week messed you up or you don't like the matchup. Usually come up empty but hey, it's worth a shot. Buddies should start coming, antipasto (hot and coldcuts for those non-ginzo's) is out and the beer/drinks start to get on ice. It is almost game-time. Usually around 12:30-12:45 we head to the basement and assume the positions and take our seats until midnight. Only time people move/get up is for food, drinks or bathroom trips.
I'm sure everyone has their own gameday rituals and especially if you are a season ticket holder who leaves the house at the same time, gets to your tailgate at the same time and sits in the same seats all season long. I would LOVE to hear your rituals. It is probably a little shorter than mine and that is fine, so shoot them in the comments or @ me on twitter: @NickSpano.
Whether you are a fan of the Jets, Giants, Cowboys, Patriots of 49ers -- the one thing we can ALL agree on is the BEST TIME OF THE YEAR IS UPON US. Enjoy it .... however you do it.