Enough with the Olympics already, let the (football) games begin
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
When the monsoon rains mercifully arrive to wash away the scorching afternoon heat here in the mountains, it signifies the fast-approaching end to the dog days of summer. It also means that training camp is well under way for every team in the NFL and that the regular season is just a handful of preseason games away.
I can hardly stand the wait.
While the rest of the world is glued to the Olympic Games, scores of Americans are far more interested in rekindling their love affair with the game of football. We live for pigskin here in the good old USA, and for many, the game is a spiritual conviction and a necessary indulgence.
I’m not knocking the Olympics; the games have been entertaining, for the most part, although there are certain things that I just never knew about.
For instance, who knew that ping pong players actually had coaches? And that the same coach is responsible for carrying the player’s water bottle and paddles from match to match. Sounds like a backbreaking job to me.
I’ve learned that bikini-clad beach volleyball players have a penchant for showing us more skin than we really care to see, but I didn’t fully understand how ridiculously attached they were to those brand-name glasses with their sponsor’s names on them.
I’ve also discovered that you can win an “honorary” medal in fencing if the clock malfunctions, and some countries believe that intentionally losing in badminton is somehow advantageous.
What the heck is up with all of that?
All of this nonsense just reaffirms my belief that football season can’t get here soon enough.
The defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants feel the same way.
Eli and the boys aren’t quite feeling the love from the oddsmakers in Vegas to repeat this year, coming in at 18-to-1 odds, along with the Saints, Ravens and Cowboys. I guess the old saying “You’re only as good as your last game” doesn’t carry much weight.
Other teams ranked inside the top 12 include: The Steelers, Bears and Broncos at 16-to-1, the Texans and Eagles at 12-to-1, and the 49ers at 10-to-1. The last two spots are reserved for last season’s AFC Super Bowl representative, New England at 13-to-2, and the Packers topping the field as 6-to-1 favorites.
So are the Packers deserving of their ranking, even though they were hammered by the Giants in the playoffs last year? I would say yes, for the simple reason that they are still the most balanced team offensively and defensively among the favorites. The Patriots’ defense is still suspect and the Niners’ offense the same.
The two teams at 12-to-1 (Philly and Houston) look like a potential Super Bowl matchup. The Texans were riddled with injuries last year and didn’t stand a chance in the playoffs, and the Eagles just flat-out underachieved and missed the playoffs entirely. Both teams have a potentially huge upside going into the new season.
The regular season drama starts to unfold four weeks from tomorrow when the Cowboys head to MetLife stadium in New Jersey to take on the Giants. Flamboyant Dallas owner Jerry Jones fired the first shot this week during a ceremony to open training camp, saying, “Y’all should come to Cowboys Stadium and watch us beat the Giants’ [expletive].”
First things first, Jerry, although the smack talk is appreciated.
Preseason action for the home state Broncos starts on Thursday against the Bears. And, yes, even preseason football games are interesting to watch most of the time.
It sure beats watching badminton.
Jeff Sauer is a longtime western Colorado resident and former Roaring Fork Valley resident. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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