Thursday, September 08, 2005

Football Frenzy

Ta Na Na Na Naaaaaa…That’s the sound of the NFL's Monday Night Football signature tune blaring on ABC at the start of the football fever. The official season begins today, with the kickoff game between Super bowl Champions the New England Patriots and Oakland Raiders. The game will be on ABC at 8 PM EST, and I can’t wait for the football season to begin. The pre-game and half-time show is supposed to feature Rolling Stones, Santana, Green Day, Maroon 5 and Kanye West amongst others. Time to chill the beer and rev the engines.

It was the fall of 1999-2000, when the Indian cricket team visited Australia under Sachin Tendulkar’s captaincy and was bludgeoned into humiliation by Waugh’s merry band. At that point in time we were living in Melbourne, Australia, and I vividly remember getting taunted by the “convicts” down under, at the sorry plight of the Indian cricket team. One of the one-days that we had the misfortune of witnessing, live, at the MCG, was so pathetic, that we left the game well before completion, since the rowdy OZ crowd in the stands below was jeering at the motley crew of Indians in the stadium. Some of the Indian students had tried to stop the game by pelting the Aussie players with trash. We ran like bats outta hell from the stadium.

That is when, in dire search of an alternate sporting distraction, and with a little help in comprehending rules from my American boss in Melbourne, I turned to NFL. Until then, for almost ten years, I stead fastedly refused to follow a game where no part of the foot was used for majority of the playing time, while calling itself football. Football to me only meant Maradona, Mohan Bagan and ‘Escape to Victory’.

Never have I regretted the decision for my new found allegiance to football, except when me and my wife get into heated arguments about compromised chores that are left unattended on account of the solitary pursuit of wasting perfectly fine Sundays at the altar of football mania.

The pre game shows start at 11:00 AM in the morning, with some of the local channels speculating about the fortunes of the home team, the Detroit Lions, as early as 9:00 AM. All those colorful characters during the pre-game show JB, Howie, Chris, Dion (now a player), Terry and the rest warrant your non-divided attention. This is followed by the actual games of course, starting from 1:00 PM and running well past mid-night. There is a small window from about 6:30-8:00 PM, to catch up on bathroom breaks, dinner and conversations with the bitter half! Secrets of a successful marriage you see, the conversations, keeps a marriage ticking. One needs to make time for these amongst life’s more important pursuits.

On Monday mornings, a good portion of the office chatter is centered around the exploits of Brady, McNabb, Vick, Curtis Martin, Randy Moss, TO or Brett Favre. Unless it’s the playoffs. Then the football chatter extends well into Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

What do I love about football? Well to me this game is like war. In fact, wouldn’t it be cool if wars between countries could be settled on football fields? Maybe Sierra Leone could potentially end up invading the United States. Or, Saddam Hussein would have been photographed in his undies, while going for the Hail Mary pass.

Mostly, I love the plays and the calls in football. Like chess, the coaches plot their offence and defense and every weakness of the opposition is exploited to the hilt by these professionals. The preparation and the research that goes into every game by the coaching staff is stupendous. The formations, both offensive and defensive, the QB huddle, the line up, the snap and then the actual play. Like poetry in motion.

What is also love is helmets crunching, body blows, the hustle for the pigskin and 300 lbs athletes run 100 yards with grace and agility. What I love is the ferocity of the sport and the uncertainty until the very dying minutes of the game. What I love is all the pomp and pageantry that accompanies the hype of the sport.

Is a team is a passing or a rushing team or does a team blitz the QB or covers the WR’s or is it an offensive minded or defensive team ? Everything is strategized, the details are though out (well most of the time), training drills practiced. And then executed (well most of a time), for the viewing pleasure of thousands of frenzied fans, frothing at the mouths, egging their teams on, for ascent to the highest pinnacle of football excellence, a Super Bowl championship.

This Super Bowl 06 is special, since it will be played at the Ford Field in Detroit. Anyone interested? Who knows, maybe our next Super bowl party could be inside the Ford Field, with thousands of rabid fans, and with a little bit of providence intervening, maybe even catch a glimpse of Jessica Simpson or Natalie Imbruglia’s wardrobe malfunction! Football is just no fun without touchdowns or letdowns!


Blogger Sujatha said...

Sourin, you're downright mean! How can you do this man? Things like this, keep to yourself, don't put it out on the blogosphere and torture poor souls like me and V who are deprived of football, the Redskins, all the tight ends (ok, that's only for me), the nail-biting finishes, the michaevillian machinations in the last two minutes of the game, need I go on?

The only consolation is that ESPN carries Monday night football here, on Tuesday mornings, but for right now, we'll take that.

Ok, I'll be generous and tell you this - if you haven't seen a game in the stadium, go see it. The atmosphere is electric, literally (my hair stands on end whenever the crowd screams - the dry wintery air is the culprit).

On second thoughts, you know what, if you haven't seen a game in a stadium, may be I'll do a post on it! Ha!

9:13 PM  
Blogger Sujatha said...

Sorry, couldn't resist, about the wardrobe malfunction - in a bunch of 8 guys and 8 women, it was only 2 women (me and Padma) who saw it. The guys were all busy getting beer and food during half-time, Padma and I were parked on the two best seats in the house refusing to get up for fear of losing them! It was too funny when the guys realised what had just transpired.

9:17 PM  
Blogger chappan said...

Thanks for ur comments. Am watching the game in my hotel room :))) Awesome pregame show. That Michelle Branch is a peach.
NE 17 Oak 14. Randy Moss has been exceptional.
I remember the wardrobe malfunction. All that beer meant that at halftime most guys had to hit the can. And from the can, I heard the roar of the few who caught a peek.
Monday night should be OK. This week its Hawks and Falcons. Should be good. Vick is Merlin. And so is McNabb. And so is TO. Enjoy.

9:32 PM  
Blogger Sakshi said...

You make me miss Sydney...even more. :(

1:37 AM  
Blogger gawker said...

I did well yesterday on my fantasy football team. I have both Kerry Collins and Corey Dillon. 3 and 2 touchdowns. Im kickin butt.

The Eagles, after all their bullshit during the offseason look as if they are gonna repeat their stuff. As long as Owens doesnt lose his screws in between.

1:11 PM  
Blogger Anshul said...

Very well written, Sourin.
While seeing the game last night, I noticed that Tom Brady (QB) had 120 plays pasted on his wrist band.

1:36 PM  
Blogger Sunil said...

At that point in time we were living in Melbourne, Australia, and I vividly remember getting taunted by the “convicts” down under, at the sorry plight of the Indian cricket team.

Darn. I was visiting Oz at that time too.....and went for the Sydney ODI (where india were bowled out for about a 100 odd). There was a lot of "Aussie, Aussie, Aussie....whoo, hoo, hoo" going on, and I decided to turncoat, and joined them :-)

Anyway...i watch football here only for the fights. No fun for me in the rest of the game....:-)

12:48 PM  
Blogger chappan said...

Thanks for stopping by.
Those guys in OZ are crazy about theit footy. My regret is that I didnt make much attempts to understand this game better.

CG: I wish I had joined a fantasy league, but its too much work to keep track.

Anshul: Thanks. We can look fwd to SB06.

Sunil: OZ,OZ OZ....whats wrong with you ?

7:50 PM  

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