Pro Football: Countdown to Sept. 8 begins for pro football ‘addicts’

By Doug Halberstadt
Sports Columnist

I think I’m pretty much like the average sports fan in America. For the most part, I like all the major sports. Most of you who have read my previous columns know the only one I’m not a huge fan of is professional soccer, but I won’t go there this time.

If there is a team playing that I like, or have even a slight interest in one of their players, I’ll watch a baseball, basketball or hockey game on television. Once in a while, I’ll even sit down and catch a televised tennis match or one of the major golf tournaments. I’ll even watch bowling every now and then. I do try to make an effort to keep a close eye on both NASCAR and the IRL, not only because I like them, but it is also part of the job.

Even as much as being an average fan of those sports makes up a significant part of my life, there is no single sport more important to me or millions and millions of other Americans than professional football. I truly believe it has surpassed baseball as America’s favorite sport.

I’ll even go as far as admitting I’m a professional football addict. It really doesn’t even matter to me who happens to be playing. If there is a pro football game on, I want to watch it. If it’s a Bears game, not only do I have to watch it, I have to surgically dissect it, play by play. It’s part of the addiction.

It’s comforting to know I’m not alone in my addiction. The entire country is gearing up for another season. Male and female fans of all ages, from every single NFL franchise from coast to coast, are getting out their game gear and eagerly awaiting the opening kickoffs to the 2011 season.

This past weekend was a prime example. All of the NFL teams played their first pre-season games. Even though these games mean absolutely nothing as far as the regular season goes, stadiums were still packed, and the games were televised to millions watching at home. Fans everywhere finally got their first fix of football for this year. I know I speak for millions when I say, “We couldn’t be happier!”

Right here in Rockford, I personally saw people out in public wearing not only Bears gear, but I also saw Packers, Broncos, Cowboys, Dolphins, Seahawks and Steelers fans sporting their colors.

It’s been a long off-season, and the time is drawing ever closer to the opening of another NFL season. For those of us keeping track, that can’t get here soon enough.

Sept. 8 is right around the corner. That’s when the defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers host the New Orleans Saints.

The Bears will have to wait a few more days for their first real game of the season.

Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at

From the Aug. 17-23, 2011, issue

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