Column: A crash course in the NFL seasonLast weekend was an exciting time for sports fans and anyone else who likes watching grown men run into each other at high speeds.
By: Nathan Hansen, The Farmington Independent
Last weekend was an exciting time for sports fans and anyone else who likes watching grown men run into each other at high speeds.
It was the opening of the professional football season -- the highest possible level at which men can run into each other for money, if you don’t count the International Headbutting League or NASCAR -- and across the country fans celebrated by lounging on their couches for 15 straight hours, drinking beer and eating fatty foods while watching elite athletes put their physical well-being on the line.
This is no small thing. Football preparedness is a significant issue in this country, with entire songs dedicated to making sure fans are ready. I’m not sure exactly what goes into getting ready for some football. Probably some stretches or something. I’m guessing there aren’t many wind sprints. But in this country we don’t make a song about something unless it’s important. Consider the Macarena.
I’m not sure how ready I was when Sunday rolled around, but I was still among the group on the couch, at least for a while. Although I replaced the beer with iced tea, I settled in to watch the first Minnesota Vikings game of the season because, I don’t know, I didn’t really have much else to do. I’ve never been a big football fan, but this particular game was interesting. For one thing, it appeared for much of the first half that the Vikings had not been informed what sport they were supposed to play. It was kind of like they’d showed up to play a game of cricket, then gotten confused when the coaches slapped a bunch of pads and helmets on them.
Things got better as the game went on, though, and by the end the game was a genuine thriller. Fans were on the edge of their seats, holding their breath to see which mediocre team would make the final game-losing mistake. The Vikings sandwiched two exciting offensive possessions around a defensive letdown that probably made fans feel like they’d woken up with most of Viking defender Brian Robison’s remarkably long pony tail in their mouth.
Ultimately, the Vikings won the game thanks to the leg (and foot!) of a rookie kicker who has the same first name as a character from the Facts of Life.
There were plenty of other storylines to keep people interested. Vikings fans wondered if Adrian Peterson, who if I understand this right had his knee replaced with a joint from a musk ox, would be ready to play (it appears he was). They wondered if their rookie kicker, who after my previous comment I kind of want to start calling Tootie, would be ready to perform under NFL-level pressure (so far, so good). And most of all they wondered if the team would improve on its terrible showing from last season (um, let’s not get ahead of ourselves just yet).
Sunday’s result, and the dramatic way in which it happened, no doubt left some Vikings fans feeling irrationally exuberant. Some probably even left the Metrodome (or their living room) with visions of the Super Bowl in their head.
And who knows? Maybe it will happen. Or maybe the VIkings will decide they like playing cricket better. Fewer people run into you when you’re playing cricket.