Why August is the best month of football
It's been a long offseason. Four score and six months ago the superbowl ended and NFL fans everywhere wondered how they're going to quit football cold turkey until September. But it's not quite cold turkey. In fact the offseason is more of a methadone clinic operating in reverse, satisfying your addiction more and more as time goes on. Every bit of football news gets digested like it's the last one before you're off the stuff for good. Of course all of this climaxes with the start of the season when you go back into the real world, doing the hard stuff once again. But I'm telling you that the real world isn't as nice as the clinic. Before we launch ourselves head-first into week 1 why not take some time to enjoy what I think is the best month of football. Here's why:
Everyone is Optimistic
Did your team get better over the offseason? Of course they did. Every team got better on paper. Aside from a few rare cases (like when a star player such as Peyton Manning retires) all fans are excited and hopeful that their team will do better than last year. We criticize general managers a lot. Maybe more than we should. The truth is they're all pretty good at assembling a team each year that can at least theoretically compete. Sure every fanbase has that one doomsayer. The one who says each trade, free agent pickup, and draft pick that his/her team made was awful. But predicting a trainwreck 0-16 season is just their crazy way of celebrating the offseason. Now fast-forward to midseason. How many fans are still optimistic? Half? Less than that? It's hard to be optimistic about an average or below average team. You can't hope to acquire a Jimmy Garoppolo in week 12 every year. So that means most fans no longer think their team can win the superbowl. And that's a real bummer.
Everyone gets along with each other
Rivalries are fun but the offseason is a good reminder that besides Cowboy fans we're all human beings. And in August we all have one thing in common -- we want football. It's a peaceful time. Like the calm before a storm. The Bears and Packers haven't played each other yet. The Bengals and Steelers haven't murdered each other yet. There's no reason to hate. If you're one of those fools who gets 3 wishes from a genie and wastes one on world peace, you'll feel right at home during the offseason. It's a time of brotherhood and collaboration. Then football starts and it's all ruined.
Last year's winners and losers have been forgotten
Nobody can ever erase what happened last year. It's in the history books. But fans are now looking toward the future instead of the past. Even in Philadelphia the mindset changes from "We won the superbowl, let's go get a cheeseteak" to "Let's watch them do it again over some cheesesteaks." That playoff game your team choked in? Doesn't hurt so much anymore. That division race your team lost in Week 16? Whatever. That bad call that cost your team home field advantage? Okay that one still stings a bit. It clearly wasn't pass interference. But we can move on now. Clean slate. We're all 0-0 now.
Football diet is back
Look. Buffalo wings are fantastic. They might be the best food man has ever created. But I can't eat a double order of them with onion rings on the side every day during the offseason. If there's even the slightest chance that I have to take my shirt off at a pool or a beach I'd rather not have to warn people about my stomach's gravitational pull. But August! Ah, August. It takes a couple of weeks eating whatever I want before the pounds start adding up. So this is the month where I can order wings watching preseason football and not yet look like the truffle shuffle kid all grown up.
Last year's injured/suspended players are back
Don't tell me you forgot about Zeke. About Odell. About Aaron freakin' Rodgers. Well guess what? They're back. Football isn't the same without its stars and every year the injury bug or Goodell's ego puts some of them on the sideline. It's an unfortunate evil in the sport of football but it will happen every year without fail. However, in August, aside from the occasional practice mishap, most rosters are fully ready to play. Suspended players have served their sentence and injured players had the whole offseason to recover. You know those two players on your team who have never gotten to play with each other because one is always injured? This is the year. This is the year they play together and it's going to be spectacular. Your team is talented and you know it. Last year was just a fluke because injuries hit you at the worst time. It's August and everyone is healthy. There's still a good 2 or 3 weeks before any stars or the entire Chargers roster goes down.
That's why I like August. All the hype of the NFL season and none of the disappointment. We forget about the bad stuff. All the commercial breaks, the dumb things announcers say. Gone. Everyone just focuses on the good stuff. So be excited for the season to start, but savor this time. It'll be gone before you know it.