Yesterday was the First Football Sunday of the 93rd season of the NFL. I must admit, the thumping fanfare on CBS did bring tears to my eyes. This sport does not only move ME—it moves Americans as no sport ever has. I think it’s because times are tough. In the face of this inevitably-not-as-fast-as-we-want-it economic recovery, we just want to pound something—or someone—and football does just that!
The old cliché among women used to be, “Oh, no, football season has begun—there go our Sundays!” I had the opposite reaction: “Oh, good, I got my Sundays back!” I love spending 13 hours in front of the games every Sunday. This Sunday felt “normal”—first time since last January!
One of the most striking things about the start of this season is the debut of 5 rookie Quarterbacks—the most starting a season since 1950. Before this, the number was 3. The reason rookies nowadays are so ready for the pros is the preparation they get in the very professional College Football. It really is a “feeder league” for the NFL. In fact, the average age of Sunday’s starting Quarterbacks is 27 years, 354 days—the youngest in the Super Bowl era. I believe it’s a big reason why we WATCH College Football (besides the youth, athleticism and your own loyalty toward your alma mater and Conference, e.g. Iowa/Big 10.) We don’t watch College Baseball, and it has no relationship I can see with the MLB.
So there I was, doing my 13 viewing hours yesterday, thinking I would blog about the rookie QBs. I “discovered” Robert Griffin III out of Baylor, now QB for the Washington Redskins—he was having a whopper of a fantastic first game. I did blog about him and Andrew Luck previously. I loved that they were both highly intelligent; they graduated their schools with high marks; I bragged they were the “new” NFL stars. So I wrote pages and pages about Griffin as I watched his stellar debut. By the end of yesterday’s games, that’s all the sports pundits were gushing about. So I will skip all the stats—he was awesome, and I’m very happy for the folks in the DC area, who have not had a team to cheer about for some time.
I will say congrats to Shannon Eastin who made history by being the first female referee on an NFL field during a regular game! I blogged about Eastin too, when she debuted in the Preseason. More history was made too, when David Akers kicked a 63-yard field goal for my Niners, tying the record. Yes, my Bears and Niners did well. And PEYTON IS BACK! The man to whom I dedicated my book, the CEO of his team, the “coach on the field” who is smart, courageous and makes everyone on his team better—returns after over a year away from football. Peyton Manning is one of my heroes: everything he says off the field, in pre and post-game interviews, can be quoted by business leaders to their people.
Most of all, I love the start of the season as I used to love the first day of school. It’s a clean slate. Every team is 0-0. Everything is possible, just like in a new job or working with a new client—Great Success looms large. As last year’s Super Bowl-winning and MVP QB Eli Manning said, when he was asked if he was nervous about the new season, and if he felt the pressure to win again, he said, “I’m excited—not nervous.” I’m with Eli. All HOPE for the year right in front of me. ALL is possible, people. Never give up.