Tuesday, September 2, 2008

"Are you ready for some football?"

With the 2008 NFL season just a couple of days away from kicking off, Hank Williams Jr.'s song never sounded as appropriate as it does now. Like NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue said, it's become much more than a song since it's now part of the lexicon of sports.

So before the whole shebang kicks off with the defending Super Bowl champions, the New York Giants, taking on the now Joe-Gibbs-less Washington Redskins in the, well, kick-off game to start the season, here's a rundown of what's been happening the past week in the NFL...

San Diego Chargers' star linebacker, Shawne Merriman, has opted to postpone going under the knife to repair the two torn ligaments of
his left knee to continue playing for the team. I can't say I can't blame him since this season looks very, very promising for the Chargers. After all, for a football team with legitimate Super Bowl aspirations, as well as boasting of a line-up that's packed with talent on both the offensive and defensive ends of the field, and motivated (presumably) by a bonus package that depends on his and the team's performance for the entire season, it's hard to find fault for his decision to tough it out and play this season - that is, unless you genuinely cared for his health. One thing's for sure, though; the Chargers are sure damn glad to have him on their active list for this season.

Although, he only played just one time during the entire off-season after coming off of surgery to remove an infected bursa sac from his left knee, Peyton Manning's expected to be ready to play for the Indianapolis Colts' Week 1 game against the Chicago Bears.

Another top quarterback who hasn't seen some playing time in any of New England's Patriots' pre-season pick-up games is Tom Brady who was down with a right foot injury, though his required no operation - just a lot of stay-in-bed times with his supermodel girlfriend, Giselle Bundchen. Lucky, lucky bastard. If only I could claim the same excuse to stay at home with my Rachel...

And though it's been a month, it seems Brett Favre still feels he was screwed over by Green Bay. In his first candid interview with reporters as a Jet, he finally opened up about what was going through his mind when he announced his retirement, his being undecided if he wanted to come back to his eventual return as a player before the bitter divorce with the Packers had him traded off to the New York Jets. All I can say is... Brett, move on. Stop telling yourself that you made the right decision and that you would be Green Bay's best chance to score wins this season if they picked you instead of sticking to their guns with A-Rod! I still love you as a player, man, but... grow up and move on!

Incidentally, all three QBs (Favre, Manning and Brady) are coming into the season looking to extend their playing streaks: Brett with 275, Manning with 173 and Brady at 128 - the top three in NFL's history among quarterbacks.

And after all the hubbub that Matt Leinart was the Arizona Cardinals' QB for the future, it seems that phrase was meant to be applied literally as coach Ken Whiseenhunt went with experience rather than potential by tapping two-time NFL MVP and Super Bowl winner (and MVP!), Kurt Warner, as the team's starting quarterback. I've always admired Kurt's blue-collar work ethics so to see him get the starter's spot over Southern California's premier party boy is a "Hell, Yeah!" moment for me. I just hope Kurt experiences a re-birth of sorts since this season's line-up definitely looks promising and looks to be a contender for the playoffs so I'd really like to see him play the game much like he did when he led the St. Louis Rams to a Super Bowl victory in 1999.

"I'm gonna be the starting quarterback, coach? Are you sure?"

"But coach, you promised! You said I'd be the season's starting quarterback?!"

So with just a couple of days more to go, are YOU ready for some football? Because I know I am.

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