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The NFL is here, and resistance is futile

For the Fan of the House columnist, the league is a chronic condition.

September 07, 2011|Chris Erskine
  • Elvin "The Bronconator" DeVorss is a perfect blend of NFL fanatacism and corporate sponsorship as he attends the Bud Light NFL Fan Camp during the Hall of Fame enshrinement weekend in Canton, Ohio.
Elvin "The Bronconator" DeVorss is a perfect blend of NFL fanatacism… (Michael Loccisano / Getty…)

Violence never solved anything, unless you're the NFL, that most conservative and (lowercase) republican of things. I have it on good authority that the new season begins Thursday night — beefy, bloated and beautiful. Autumn springs eternal.

Just let me ask you: Is there any business in America with the corporate mojo of the NFL?

Listen, I'm not endorsing a monopoly like this. What's good for the NFL is good for America, and all that. I'm just saying that I don't know of any organization — Coke? Apple?— that is as universally popular as the NFL.

Splendid product. Our national opium.

I should hate it the way I hate the 405 and frozen pizza, hard as hockey pucks. But the NFL is so a part of our history, so coded into my DNA, I can't seem to resist.

New Orleans at Green Bay in Thursday night's opener? My heart just did the Lambeau Leap.

Generally, I'm so done with corporations and the things they stand for. How about that grossly overplayed commercial where the yuppie husband goes to rock 'n' roll camp. For that, I need a special credit card? To be exposed as a pathetic Dockers-wearing dweeb? I can do that for free.

And how about that new line of Tostitos, the ones they call "artisan"? To attempt to render a mass-produced, chemically flavored corn chip as "artisan" is the highest form of farce. Is there no shame? "Artisan Tostitos" is a moronic oxymoron, like "exact estimate" or "seriously funny."

But oooooooh, that NFL. Talk about processed foods. It's sort of what you'd have if Nietzsche ran Disney.

"Yeah, I kinda love it," confesses my buddy Steve. "I belong to four different NFL pools and leagues, two of which I am the commissioner for.

"I also have a very pregnant wife and a 2-year-old. I think their names are Nikki and Reece. At least, that's what their name tags say."

Yeah, the NFL is an illness, a chronic condition, treatable only with electro-Shockey treatments and beer.

Of course, my friend Steve's situation is a little extreme. I happen to have four kids and I know all their names. Or is it five? Point is, real men manage to balance their obsessions.

Lots to love this season too. Three NFL games on Thanksgiving. Bears vs. Packers on Christmas Day.

On New Year's, the Vikes host the Bears, and the roof of the Metrodome will no doubt collapse again from sheer joy — God's way of saying, "Happy holidays! Now go outside, you pansies."

In such a situation, both teams should continue playing as if nothing happened. Like the unstoppable brawl at the end of "Blazing Saddles."

There are lots of personnel changes this season. You have Chad Ochocinco now in New England and Reggie Bush wintering in Miami.

Jeff Fisher is no longer in Tennessee but Matt Hasselbeck is.

The Jets, the most fun team to watch since the Marx Brothers, have hired an ex-con (Plaxico Burress) to catch passes from a quarterback who openly admits to loving Broadway shows (Mark Sanchez).

The shop-till-you-drop Eagles have acquired a quick-twitch cornerback named Nnamdi Asomugha. In next year's draft, they'll be looking to buy a vowel.

The Raiders have a cheerleader who's a granny.

Really, you can't make this stuff up, and if you did, they'd lock you in a tower. The NFL is what we have today in lieu of civil wars and fairy tales.

Where's it all end? Well, on Feb. 5 in Indianapolis, the garden spot of central Indiana, where the Super Bowl will be the biggest showdown since the Battle of Tippecanoe. Knowing Midwestern winters, I'd recommend hip boots and a flask for every pocket. And that's just for indoors.

Football's favorite savant, Peter King, has the Falcons and the Chargers playing then. Talk about opium. Presumably he also has Ron Paul winning the White House, edging out Pat Paulsen.

Meanwhile, Lindy's Sports, one of those authoritative football mags I buy just to pretend I understand this stuff, has Ravens-Eagles in the Super Bowl.


Me, I like the Packers or the Saints against the Patriots or the Jets or the Steelers. I'm still deciding.

But here's a prediction for Thursday night's game that you can take to the bank:

Big pastrami sandwich on rye bread, the kind where the Swiss cheese flops over the edges like the ears of an elephant.

A glass of beer so cold it might very well alter the climate.

Yep, autumn springs eternal.

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