The NFL Experience
Posted Jan. 27 at 06:12 AM
In the parking lots on the north side of Raymond James Stadium in Tampa is what looks like a giant car sales event (not unusual since they have a few of them each year). But really, it's the NFL Experience -- a group of exhibitions, photo opportunities, memorabilia and a chance to celebrate all things NFL. Think of it as a Renaissance Fair without the Renaissance, a midway without the Hall of Mirrors or a Chuck E. Cheese for guys who like professional football.
You don't need a ticket to the Super Bowl to go; all you need is about $18 (what, you didn't think it was free, did you?). But what you get is more than worth it, because I think it serves as a fantasy antidote right before the biggest game of the year. I can't help but follow the coaching carousel as different teams name important head coach and coordinator positions. Those decisions will have an affect on free agency, the April draft and our drafts in July and August. Even if I wanted to ignore the fantasy impacts, I'm not sure I could on my own. But something like the NFL Experience reminds you of why you liked football in the first place. Before the very last game (the Pro Bowl doesn't count for anything; it shouldn't even be televised), I think we should put away the mental cheat sheets and just enjoy the upcoming contest. Even if you're playing in a playoff fantasy football game, or you've placed a wager on the Super Bowl, or a prop bet, or an office square or 20, or whatever -- just try to forget that and enjoy the experience of the game itself. This is the biggest stage for the best game in the world. Everything is bigger and better; even the halftime is longer. If we get a good game (and it looks like we might) just watch the game and enjoy what it is. Be a football fan again without the burden of extra side-interests clouding the performances.
The NFL Experience can help you do that, but if you don't live near Tampa there are other things you can do to get into the right mindset:
- If your favorite team was in a previous Super Bowl, you probably have it on DVD or taped it. Break it out and watch it from beginning to end. Remember what it was like to root for your favorite team to achieve the ultimate accomplishment. Other fans are in that boat right now.
- Play flag football with your friends. Most years I do this, and it has a couple of benefits. First, you get back into the mindset of the sport as a sport, not a game with statistical side-contests. Even if you're not very athletic, just running around will give you the right attitude. And second, if you time it right you'll miss almost all of the absurd pre-game shows. Anything before the national anthem is a waste of time. You know just as much as those "analysts" do.
- Watch the Puppy Bowl on Animal Planet. It's hours of puppies just... being puppies. And they film them. If you watch it, you won't really care about stats for a while.
- Watch the game with children and copy them. Kids don't care who catches what pass or how long a field-goal attempt is. They don't play fantasy football (or they shouldn't, anyway) so the numbers don't matter. They enjoy the holiday atmosphere and the people. They want to throw a football, run around, eat a lot and watch the game. That's about it. On Sunday, you should do that and not worry about anything else. Enjoy the game.
Youtube Clip of the Week: Here's the NFL Experience when it was in Arizona. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DzVvGpibUR0
You can reach Michael Murillo at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted by Duane Stay | Jan. 27 at 07:09 AM
As much as I love the Super Bowl, it's sad to see the season end, because the excellent Fantasy Football articles end.
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