Farewell to football

by Ethan Bailey

Super Bowl Sunday is filled with friends, food, booze and, of course, football.  But as fun as it is, it’s always a bittersweet day for me. On one hand, it contains the pinnacle of sports: 53 grown-ass men hitting each other as hard as they can on the gridiron is the only way I can imagine the first Sunday in February going down. On the other hand, it marks the end of four joyous football-watching months. Besides bacon, eggs and cute girls, football is about the only thing that will get me up on Sundays before 10 a.m.

But back to the Super Bowl—did you see the Denver Broncos set a new standard for terrible? It was all downhill for the boys from Colorado from the first snap of the game to the last one. The conversation between Peyton Manning and center Manny Ramirez after that first fumbled snap had to be awkward.

Lots of folks say they feel sorry for Manning—don’t. Win or lose, he’s one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play in the National Football League and will be remembered as a genius for all the pre-play adjustments he made at the line of scrimmage. Plus, who could be sorry about all those priceless facial expressions from the Broncos’ sideline? Spoiler alert: Hilarious memes are in our imminent future.

But it wouldn’t be fair to talk about the Super Bowl without giving the Seattle Seahawks their due credit. The team’s preparation was clearly better than Denver’s, as was their game plan. The Seahawks played tough, physical football like they have all season, and managed to get a heck of a game from their second-year quarterback Russell Wilson. The moral of the story for this year’s Super Bowl sounds familiar to the 47 that came before it: Defense wins championships. Great offense is explosive to watch and sells tickets, but the ability to shut down a great offense just can’t be beat. And that’s where the beauty lies in this year’s Seahawks team—they won it all behind a super defense, stout running attack and an efficient, but not flashy, passing game. It’ll be interesting to see how many teams try to mimic Seattle’s approach next season.

Now we enter the seven longest and coldest months of the year in which there is no football. No pros on Sundays, no college players on Saturdays. I’m sorry for the readers who feel like they’ve just been stabbed in the heart, but somebody had to say it.  At least the NFL draft is in April.

But is the draft even exciting? It’s all media hype. It’s one of the most pointless three-hour blocks of television, apart from “Here Comes Honey-Boo-Boo” and “Teen Mom” marathons. All of us football addicts gather around a TV and wait for our favorite team to pick a 20-something-year-old player to theoretically be the savior of the team. Fun fact: That whole savior thing rarely happens.

There’s not even live football happening during the draft. It’s basically a suit-and-tie formality for the most successful of college football players, prominently displayed in 1080p throughout the country. To our Aztecs eligible to be drafted this year, I’m not disparaging you, your sport or your performances. I wish the best for each and every one of you, and I honestly hope one of you can make an impact on my team (which shall not be named) next year.

Hate aside, I’ll definitely watch the Draft come April. I’m a football addict and the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem, right?

What am I supposed to do on Sundays now, go to church? Fat chance. Not that I’m against people who do, but it just isn’t for me. Now that the season is over, I can breathe a sigh of relief; it feels like I’ve got Sundays off again.

“But Ethan,” the masses will say. “Sunday is always a day off. It’s part of the weekend.”

True enough, conscientious readers. Still, when you’re as big of a fan of the game as I am, Sundays are always football day. For 17 straight weeks I watched every game I could get my eyeballs on, and I pity the fool who doesn’t think I won’t do it again next season. Maybe I’ll actually get some homework done in the meantime.

So for now, farewell, football. I’ll see you in the late summer.