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50 Days to Football: Consuming NFL Sunday from Dawn to Dusk

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Most weekdays from now until the Packers and Seahawks kick off on September 4th, The Big Lead will detail one reason we are excited for football season to begin. Including today, we’re 43 days away from NCAA and 50 from NFL.

The traditionally long and cruel football offseason was a little bit less painful this year due to the World Cup and the LeBron sweepstakes. Now, all of a sudden, training camps begin imminently. NCAA football essentially kicks off six weeks from tonight (there’s a presumably inconsequential game between Abilene Christian and Georgia State the night before) while the NFL follows suit a week later.

Seven weeks may seem like a long time in the future, but 49 days ago we were gearing up for Memorial Day weekend, the NBA conference finals (Spurs over Thunder and Heat over Pacers) were less than two days from concluding and we were talking about Lance Stephenson blowing in LeBron’s ear. That doesn’t seem that long ago, right?

Lance Stephenson blowing in LeBron James ear

One of my favorite things about football season is that I can spend an entire NFL Sunday on my couch, only getting up to go to the bathroom, get something from the fridge, or buzz up the delivery guy, and somehow feel like I was productive. In the event I do leave the house, it’s to go to a sports bar to watch the games on seven screens or to be amongst Packers fans, or, once or twice per season, to go to the games. (Those activities will be detailed in future entries.)

For at least half the Sundays of the season, I won’t sniff fresh air. I’ll wake up, scan the news (Schefter, Breer, Rapoport, Darlington, Glazer, La Canfora, and Florio have already been up for several hours), tinker a little with my fantasy line-up, make a pot of coffee, refresh Twitter at least once a minute, maybe put on a pre-game show in the background (they never beat out the computer for primary attention), and sit in eager anticipation of the early games, which are like crack.

From there, it’s a frantic combination of Twitter, the Red Zone Channel, the Packers and their rivals, and streams based on what games are close and/or important from a league perspective. I play fantasy football, but I have a rule that I don’t allow myself to check the scores of my match-ups until after the 1pm games are all over, and I personally care much more about the general landscape of the NFL than my fantasy league(s). (Obviously, I know broadly whether my team is doing well or not, but I usually don’t memorize my leagues meticulously enough to know which players are on my opponents’ rosters.)

Ed Hochuli NFL Ref

The second half of the early games is typically the best time of the NFL week. There’s so much shit going on, and I’m really not sure if there’s a method to my consumptive madness. I try my best to be aware of everything. I usually have the Red Zone Channel as my base of operations, stream the Packers (if that’s when they’re playing; I set up a second TV in my living room for better conflict management this upcoming season), and keep up with Twitter basically up to the second. Pizza is often part of the equation, and bites are strategically timed. I drink more caffeine on gamedays than I care to admit.

Things cool off a little bit for the 4pm games — especially during the weeks where there are byes — and it’s comparatively much more relaxing to keep up with everything that’s happening. There’s time to breathe. By Sunday night, I’m worn out — despite, again, not having really done anything — and at that point it’s a game-time decision between Sunday Night Football and Boardwalk Empire, depending on how much I care about the game.

This is going to be my first season doing live posts on NFL games, and that’s going to add a whole new dimension to the day’s craziness. I can’t wait.

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