Normally, around this time of year, I have a writeup about football and the things everyone is going to look forward to this season. But for whatever reason, I'm just not into it. That's why the first week has gone by and I haven't really written anything. There could be many reasons:
1) The schedule for the Steelers, my hometown team, looks particularly daunting. Plus a lot of big-time roster changes have been made, and there are very few vestiges left of the previous two Superbowl-winning teams. Quite frankly, the odds do not look good for the Steelers this year.
2) There are two other sports-related distractions in Pittsburgh. The first is the Pirates, who have had an unexpectedly good season this year--at least until about three weeks ago. They had been at the top of the standings for a brief period during the summer, and then have been within arm's reach of the division title for months. Sadly, they collapsed a few weeks ago and now look poised to not even crack .500 for the season. They haven't had a winning season for about two decades, so the sudden chance that they may finally break the string of bad seasons was very appealing. People were actually showing up for games. Oddly enough, they are still only a few games from nabbing a wild card slot, but as the season draws to a close and the Pirates keep their losing streak up that seems largely unlikely.
3) The other distraction is the Penguins. Or, more specifically, the NHL as a whole, since they are likely to have yet another lockout. Now, to be fair, the last time this happened it ended up saving professional hockey; prior to the last lockout, the game was barely being watched by anyone, games had degenerated into low-scoring defensive struggles, and fighting had become so endemic it went from an amusing sideshow to the show itself. This time, however, it will hurt the NHL--viewership is up, fan bases are growing, and a sudden stoppage in play will let other leagues--like the Russian league--capitalize off of it.
4) I did end up watching most of the Steeler game this past weekend, and I had forgotten how many commercials there were. Yeah, yeah, I know...there's always been ridiculous amounts of commercials in the game, there's an ad every break (and there are breaks every few minutes), and everything that pops up on the screen has to have a sponsor's name splashed all over the place so even the dumbest rube can figure out that Dorito's wants you to know how many sacks the defensive tackle from OSU had two seasons ago. If you are socializing or--like me--screwing around on the internet, these ads aren't so bad. But when you are straigh-up watching the game, it's almost unbearable. Now, this was a national nighttime game, so I'm sure that exacerbated the problem, but still.
5) My usual fantasy football group didn't seem to catch on this year. Two people dropped out, and so it's down to a paltry six teams. I've always been a complete wreck when it comes to fantasy football--I basically set up a team and then let it ride the rest of the seasons because I just don't care all that much about knowing the stats on the backup nose tackle of the Seattle Seahawks--but I'm just not into it at all this year.
6) There really aren't any fireworks going on in the league this year. Usually there's all sorts of strange activity, like people going to jail or people saying ridiculous things. Aside from the Tebow-Manning-Luck shuffle, I really don't care all that much about any of the new people or roster changes.
I'm not an idiot--I believe I wrote the same thing last year about not really being into football, and then after a week or two I got into it. I'm sure the same thing will happen this year; get a good, solid afternoon game in and I'll probably start following it for religiously.