Saturday, August 06, 2005

Canton's Calling

Dateline – 4:45 AM, Saturday morning, Wilson Ranchero Living Room

The alarm I keep on the floor in the living room – due to the large amount of time I spend sleeping down there- rings and I giddily leap to my feet. It’s 4:45 on a Saturday and I couldn’t be happier to be awake. I sprint upstairs, toss on a pair of shorts and t-shirt and check my messages on AIM before heading out the door into a surprisingly cool summer morning.

Our satellite hasn’t worked in ten days, although it does as of right now due to the repairman coming early this morning, which only added fuel to the fire of a week where my car died twice on the way to work and I locked my keys in the truck once. In a five day work week. Throw in the fact I showed up at my great aunt’s viewing having not shaved in a week (not my fault, I told mom to bring my razor, but she was looking for the other set of truck keys since, ya know, I’d locked them in reading the first college football preseason poll in USA Today at lunch), and it was definitely time for the weekend.

Before I took off to go golfing with Dill, Pete, Kody and Brian last night (I shot a rousing 48, although I was putting for 46 on nine and had a thirteen through three holes, so think what might have been), I asked my Uncle Larry if I could randomly show up at his house at five in the morning to watch TV. He was all about it, and even left a little post-it note on his door telling me that pop was in the fridge and the remote was on the couch. I got down to his humble abode about three til five, quietly crept in the door and turned on ESPN2, just in time to hear the smooth stylings of Mike Tirico talking about championship contenders falling short.

It was the NFL, baby!!! Mike Be Nimble, Mike Be Vick vs. Evil Lord Manning, live from Tokyo, Japan! Yeah, it was preseason, and yeah, Vick and Manning wouldn’t play past the first quarter, and yeah, it was five in the morning on a weekend, but who didn’t care? This guy, that’s who. Going back to school meant two good things back in the day: Football was starting and the VMA’s. Sadly, the VMA’s nominees suck this year, but school doesn’t, so it all evens out.

I’ve been so pumped for football season for the last month that you’d really appreciate my self control in not just dedicating every post about it. When I get free time at work, I’m reading team previews online or cruising college football blogs. When Patrick left me a voicemail saying they were hunting down Bob Stoops’ house down in Jacksonville, or when Katie randomly mentions how excited she is for the upcoming season, or when Brendan brings up going up to Michigan for Irish/Wolverines, or when Pete says even he believes the Dolphins might make the playoffs, I start to rock back and forth, giggling. I’m already planning a way to get out of working interhall football this semester so I’m around all day Sunday to do nothing but watch football with Barcus, DK, Chrissy and whoever else thinks they can handle seven hours, a dozen game and seizure-inducing channel-flipping in one day.

I’m culminating the football debut this weekend by heading out to Canton to see The Greatest Quarterback of All-Time, Dan Marino, inducted into the Hall of Fame. My decade-old Marino jersey has been firmly pressed since early February, waiting for this weekend to come. In a few hours, my dad and I will be making the drive out to Ohio, checking out the Hall of Fame today and getting ready for the induction ceremonies tomorrow at 1:00. The Dolphins message boards are just buzzing with excitement, the required columns touting Marino (and his co-inductee, Young) are all over the place and there’s even the random anti-Marino rants, which was highlighted by Skip Bayless, who I don’t think I’ve ever agreed with on anything, saying that Marino kept a top-tier running back off the team so it could be his show. That’s so ludicrous I don’t even know where to begin, so I won’t acknowledge it with comment.

So the blog will be on a very brief hiatus for this weekend, where I’ll furiously be scribbling down random NFL notes and getting the preview ready. With the decline of the Patriots and terrible things happening in Eagles camp, there’s plenty of room at the top for this season, and that’s just the NFL. In NCAA Land, do you realize how much there is to be said about ND’s offense and who might face USC in the Rose Bowl, should the Trojans even avoid the various stumbling blocks along the way?

Summer’s over, put away the sun block. It’s football season.


And you wouldn’t think I’d let you get away so easily without a couple of thoughts after

1) Michael Vick needs to bring his throws down a little bit. The interception, as well as some completions, were way high. I know most of his receiving corps is over 6’ 4”, but he still needs to keep the ball lower. Overall though, he looked really good, firing bee-bees in the 15-yard range beautifully.

2) The Falcon line was getting pressure on Manning without the benefit of much of a blitz, which is just like last year and a very good sign.

3) I hope Brian Finneran sees half as much action during this season as he did during the first quarter of this morning’s game.

4) Marvin Harrison dropped a touchdown pass. Wrap your head around that. That’s the kind of “Once-a-year” events you need to get up at 5:00 AM to see.

5) I can’t wait to preview the Falcons, just to discuss how insane it must be to play linebacker against them.

6) Quick shout-out to the Steelers: Give Hines his money. I don’t think you want to start the season with Antwan Randle El, Fred Gibson and Cedrick Wilson as your receivers. Seems a little, I don’t know, fragile.

7) How much fun is Ravens/Colts going to be to start the season? The Ravens secondary trying to contain the Indy 500 offense, Jamal Lewis rumbling through the Colts front seven and Kyle Boller getting to test out his new toys at receiver. I know I’m excited, but on a “Things Making Me Excited” level right now, I’m up there with Shane, so just ignore that last comment.

8) I listened to Peyton Manning’s interview, and after careful research, my completely non-biased and scientifically-verified opinion confirms that he is indeed still a douchebag.

Happy NFL preseason. And remember, it’s all fun and games until somebody ruptures an Achilles and is out for the season playing in a pointless exhibition game.

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