Top Ten Things to do to prepare for the NFL season
Posted September 6, 2011
Updated September 7, 2011
It’s been a long offseason and seemingly longer due to the lockout. But we made it through and we’ll have a full NFL season starting Thursday when the New Orleans Saints take on the Green Bay Packers.
Professional football is by far my favorite sport. I cannot remember a Sunday that wasn’t dedicated to watching football. Growing up I remember my parents pulling out the TV trays, heading down to 101 to grab some Mexican food and settling in for Chargers games. As far as I’m concerned Sunday is a holiday and there is only one thing I have to worry about – where I’m watching the games.
In light of the first official week of the NFL season I put together a list of do’s and don’ts for the season. Feel free to add your suggestions and comments.
Top Ten Things to do to Prepare for the NFL season:
10 – Break up with your significant other.
Okay so not exactly, but kind of. Unless they really appreciate football as much as you do and all that comes with it, you’re going to want to free up your Sundays and Monday nights. A temporary agreed upon break would suffice. Either that or help them find something fun to do to keep them occupied and away from your TV time. Sign them up for a book group, cooking, kick boxing or art class – anything. When all is said and done you’ll probably end up accidentally taking out your anger at the game or lack of points from a fantasy player on your girlfriend or boyfriend. And that’s not going to go over well.
9 – Get the tailgate supplies together.
Charcoal, lots of charcoal. A grill, a cooler, chairs, and yard games. If you’re going to tailgate you don’t want to be the guy that’s standing around gawking at the HD TV set up the guy next to you has so they can keep up with all the other games around the league while you’re trying to catch a peak over their shoulder. Don’t be jealous of someone else’s tailgate set up, make other people jealous of yours.
8 – Up your TV game.
Invest in lots of batteries because you never want the remote to die in the middle of flipping between games. Get the NFL package or make friends with someone who has it stat. And if your TV isn’t up to par, and you don’t want to get a new one, make another friend. If satellite’s your preference – fabulous, just make sure in case a massive thunderstorm rolls through that your neighbor has cable in case you lose signal.
7 – Pull your jerseys out of the closet.
Hopefully your jersey made it through the offseason and the preseason. I got burned when LT jumped from the Chargers to the Jets in the offseason. Clearly I had to get new gear because I couldn’t rock a powder blue 21 anymore.
6 – Get to know your squad.
With the craziness that ensued after the lockout, I hope you know who made the final roster, who your starters are, and who is backing them up. It’s not cool to yell at #83 and not know its Vincent Jackson. So study up on the type of offense your team runs, their defensive scheme, and who should go off on special teams. This comes in especially handy when you’re out and the sound of your game isn’t on. Know who you play the next week and when your bye week is. Keep track of their status in the division and their playoff potential, but don’t be unrealistic in what they can achieve. It will only hurt worse when they don’t make it out of the first round of the playoffs again.
5 – Play fantasy football.
It may make you crazy and mad more than it makes you happy but it adds another element to the game. Who doesn’t love a little friendly banter on who will beat who each week. It’s fun to beat your friends, just because you can’t get out on the field doesn’t mean you can’t be a part of some competition. And it makes you keep up with more than just your team, which will make you a better-rounded fan. Heck you could even win the dang thing and that would be pretty awesome, especially if your actual football team doesn’t.
4 – Train for the amount of food and beverages consumed.
It’s football, which comes hand in hand with beer and wings. And whether beer is your preferential beverage of choice, you’ll be drinking something. Games are at least four hours, so if you can’t train yourself to hold it which probably isn’t healthy, strategically plan out your bathroom breaks. Missing game action is not okay.
3 – Put together a survival kit.
Your team isn’t going to make you happy all the time. There will be days you’ll drink too much or get too frustrated. Stock up on ibuprofen and throat lozenges for when you yell too much. Have the eye drops ready for when your eyes get dry from starring at the TV for 12 hours straight. Stash away some extra money so you can over-tip the babysitter on the nights you can’t bear to come home just yet and face reality. Make sure you have a few friends that will sit through mindless ranting about how you can’t believe why they’d run THAT play THEN. It hurts. I know.
2 – Avoid becoming ‘that guy’ in the group.
Don’t bring an obnoxious friend to watch the game with your crew if the friend doesn’t know anything about the game or is a huge fan of the opposite team. Have a reason for cheering for the team you do. Think before you get a tattoo of your favorite team, player, or player’s signature. I’ve seen it all and it usually isn’t good. Don’t yell at the people standing up at a game, they are probably better fans anyways. Be aware of your surroundings, curse words aren’t okay if you’re around kids. As I mentioned earlier, don’t yell at a player you don’t know. I’m sure #10 appreciates your criticism as much as everyone around you will. Don’t leave a game early, and don’t be a fair-weather fan. And lastly -- don’t drink too much. You won’t be happy about it later, and we won’t be happy about it as you go on an unintelligible rant about your team or worse: you get sick.
1 – Plan your bar schedule.
Figure out the area bars and what they offer. Heck, go check them out in advance. See how many TVs are available, will they show all games, what’s the seating capacity, can you listen to your individual game, and do they have any specials? Once you’ve figured out the best scenario places, hit Google maps. Find out how long it’ll take you to get there and some possible back ups. You don’t want to be late for the game. And don’t forget to check for fan clubs. You don’t want to show up week one at a bar that happens to host the Steelers fan club wearing your Ravens jersey -- unless you get joy out of that.
Now happy football season! May your team exceed your expectations and every Sunday remain a holiday… until February that is.