For months now, the anticipation of NFL opening weekend had a hold of my heart and soul. As far back as then, I knew what I wanted to do and where I wanted to be when the festivities kicked off. The first Sunday of the NFL follows a script that has been set in stone for years:
- Go to early service.
- Get something to eat early (if the plan isn’t to watch the game at Wild Wings or somewhere else where football fans congregate).
- Be in front of a TV an hour before kickoff.
- Stay calm and be cool.
Number four is the most important one of all, because my team, the Dallas Cowboys, have played on Sundays, namely, Sunday Night Football, for the last two years. They played the Sunday Night Football opener against the New York Jets last year and my nerves were bad all damn day. Despite being ready for the game since it had been months since the Cowboys had played, and following my script’s steps one through three, number four didn’t bode so well and we all know why. The Cows gave up a fourth-quarter lead, which pretty much set the tone for a mistake-filled and absolutely despicable season.
The year before that, the Cowboys found a way to piss me off on opening weekend as well (get this, on Sunday Night Football again against the Redskins). Even though I followed all the steps, it was hard to stay calm and be cool. To this day, I remember being overjoyed thinking we won the game, only to find out one of our bum-ass offensive linemen (who is no longer with us) was called for holding, which negated the penalty. I almost got kicked out of the establishment I was at for acting a damn fool, and that loss set the tone for a disastrous season as well. I know my team, as all Cowboys fans do, and it’s a task in itself to stay calm and cool when there is a game ahead, especially the first game of a long season.
Well, thanks to the good people of the NFL, the Cowboys were able to avoid the opening weekend blues and played on Wednesday night against the defending Super Bowl champions, New York Giants. There’s no need for a recap, especially since my brother did that particular deed earlier in the week,
other than to say it was easy work and it was fun coming into the Giants house and kicking their teeth in. What the Cows victory also did was put my mind at ease for NFL opening weekend. There’s no need for me to act like a kid on Christmas who is wondering if Santa is going to overlook me getting kicked out of school or stealing from candy from the grocery store and bring me the bike I wished for all year anyway. No, tomorrow will be easy street. Tomorrow, I can sit back, relax and watch other fans exhibit a myriad of emotions, good and bad, and bask in it all.
This is an underrated aspect of being a fan, and I’m willing to go as far as to say it is especially underrated in the NFL. I don’t personally know anyone who is a fan of the NFL that doesn’t have a team they are a fan of. That is not to say they do not exist, but the ones that do (God bless them) don’t mean much to me in the scope of fandom, because they can simply be detached from such a vital part of what makes the NFL experience so unique: the bond between a fan and their team.
For example, at high noon, the Redskins play the Saints. For the past several years, I’ve gone to the same Buffalo Wild Wings on 183 and Central back home to watch the game at this place, merely due to the fact that it is the headquarters where Saints fans go to watch their squad do work. The atmosphere is electric; if you don’t believe me, just look here for proof.
This place is bananas, and it’s to the point where plenty of fans and I know each other. Obviously, I know they are Saints fans, because they have all their Saints regalia on, and they know I’m a Cows fan, because I usually have my Cowboys stuff on. With that said, they’re usually quick with taunts about my team, because the Cowboys either took that L or they try to plant The Seeds of Doubt in my mind about our upcoming game.
Well, since the Cows won on Wednesday, there will be no seeds of doubt. My team is undefeated, and if by some strange force of nature the world ended tomorrow, my team would be the only one to win a game in 2012. Is that petty? Absolutely, but I am not only a fan, but a Dallas Cowboys fan. Humility is not in my DNA.
So when tomorrow comes in, rest assured that Brannin, Chelsia, Dawana, B-Lew, B. Jones, De’Shay, Tinsley and other Cowboys fans will be quite alright. We’ll wake up with the sun shining brighter and the grass greener. We’ll drink, eat and be happy through the duration of NFL Opening Weekend. While DragonflyJonez, Lizz and Jamar start off crunk for the Redskins, along with Kellen, Tanisha, Bryant and the Saints fans going at each other for three hours, the Cowboys Contingent will point and laugh.
When Till curses out Alex Smith for being Alex Smith, or E-Mill expresses disgust with the Eagles offensive line, or Kris berates Jim Irsay for tweeting Beatles lyrics instead of talking about the game, we’ll laugh even harder. One must understand that the Cowboys, along with the Giants, were the only shows in town on Wednesday and people took to bashing us like crazy leading up to the game. It’s almost as if they forgot they had games to play this weekend.
So yes, NFL Opening Weekend will be a blast for all initially, and it will be even more fun for 16 fan bases of the winning teams after Monday night. For me, though? My team has their opening weekend dub in the bag already, so all that’s left is to sit back, eat wings, have a blast and listen to my girl Faith sing her song to officially ring in Sunday Night Football, all the while laughing at everyone else’s pain and anguish.
I love this game.