Sunday, August 12, 2007

A Good Sign the NFL Season Is Here

I was just taking one day at a time until they started playing one game at a time. I know that the NFL Season is here because now they're not just talking the talk, but their walking the walk. Some players need to start putting their money where their mouth is, since they've already been putting their mouth where their money is. In some of the first preseason games, a few of them stepped up to the plate, and nipped at the bud problems they were having in the offseason. I don't think the problems can be attributed to just one man, because you win as a team and you lose as a team. We don't play these games on paper, so now's the time to do what they're paying you for, to get out their and make a contribution. They're not shooting real bullets in the preseason, but some of this is for bragging rights.

You've got to like the increase in NFL football interviews, as some of these journalists are able to get the most out of these players and coaches. They bring their A game to a question and answer time. As we near the regular season, we need to find out who will make plays, who can turn up the intensity during the key moments, who's loaded for bear, and who won't let the crowd faze them. I've noticed that some players rise to the occasion and others do not. Those that do leave everything in that interview, saving nothing for when they start counting wins and losses, they're obviously hungry and are not taking anything lightly. They know they have to come together as a team. They've got each other's backs. They are pinning their ears back so they won't come back with their tails between their legs.

You know the football season has arrived because they're saying all the right things. You can tell they believe in themselves and want to avoid the big letdown. No one can stop the interviews; you can only hope to contain them, or at least to control the tempo. Fox, ESPN, CBS---they're digging deep, sucking it up, and avoiding the mental mistakes that kill an interview. For sure, I hear them sticking with their bread and butter, because, after all, they know who butters their bread. They're not intimidated. They've had a whole offseason practicing on Barry Bonds, so they've had to turn it up a notch, bring it up to the next level already, capitalizing on their opportunities.

Players, coaches, journalists, radio hosts, all are pulling out all the stops in honor of a new NFL season. You don't sense tension because it sounds like they're just going out there and having fun. They're executing, playing both sides of the microphone, and sticking with their game plan, not in any hurry, because they still have plenty of time on the clock. This is what they pay them for, to be professionals. It's all a business.

Some of the questions I don't understand, definitely wounded ducks, thrown up for grabs, only a prayer. I know that they'd like to have them back, ill-advised. However, I hear some great second effort with cooler heads prevailing, ending with an exchange of pleasantries. Like many questions, many NFL interview answers are brutal, horrendous, making wish they'd just take a knee to stop the clock, to leave under their own power. Some are flat-out horrible, giving their critics plenty of fodder, room for criticism, but I'm happy when they are able to take responsibility, to be a warrior when they don't seem to thrive under pressure. Others come through in the clutch with ice-water in their veins. They're on top of their game, in a zone, and with those great instincts, don't say the same tired cliches that others do. They get their game-face on and make it look easy.

So, in honor of the beginning of another season, I'd like to thank my readers for making things happen, for having that linebacker mentality that never says quit, even when you could have stopped reading this long ago, even before the fat lady sang. You could have run roughshod over this article, but instead, it was a walk in the park. You answered the call; you were hitting on all cyclinders. En fuego. Nobody could stop you. You had on your big-boy pads. Now it's all over but the shouting. Thanks for maintaining your composure, circling your wagons, keeping your head in this essay, and hanging around. You's good people.

I have a few parting words. Never say die, because stranger things have happened. You can feel this story just slipping away like wind leaving the sails, but here's the back-breaker: the bus is warming up in the parking lot, so you can head for the exit. Elvis has left the building.


Jerry Bouey said...

I hate football - but I read your post... ;)

Kent Brandenburg said...

Jerry, Thanks. It isn't at the top of my list, but I was listening to the radio the other day and hearing one stale cliche after another, so I thought I'd dedicate one to the football interview, making a post made up entirely of football cliches. I don't know if people get it. My wife did---she was cackling. My son read it, and, well, didn't. That made me think others read it and didn't even notice one cliche after another.

Jerry Bouey said...

Count me clueless too! I don't watch sports, and I have never played football, so it just went over my head...

Jeff Voegtlin said...

I didn't read the whole thing. I got too tired of all the cliche's.

I know I was supposed to say that before you said what you did, but it's still true.