Those first NFL games that count are just around the corner, and I know you're excited. We all are. Now more than ever, it's essential to holster that excitement and manage it properly. It happens to the best of us (by that I mean me) we sometimes get swept up in the Week One Spirit and overload ourselves.
After some consequences and self-reflection, I've outlined several dangerous scenarios you'll want to avoid when the NFL season kicks off.
Let's begin at the beginning. The weekends before and in the days leading up to that fateful Sunday, spend quality time with the family you'll be neglecting for 12-hour blocks each week.
I'm not talking about "let's sit down and watch Shrek", this needs to be an outing or three with some real talks about real life.
Remind them they're still #1 in your life. It isn't just important, it is absolutely mission-critical that we lay the groundwork at home, this is a long season.
The holidays will provide you another opportunity to both make up the ground you lost in October and also buy yourself enough goodwill for the rest of the season. Christmas to Super Bowl is a cakewalk if you execute it properly.
Here's what you're looking for: Saturday questions about your plans in the form of "where are you watching the games tomorrow?" If "games" is pluralized, you are GOLDEN. By week six, people will stop asking you about Sundays entirely.
Speaking of where you're watching the games...think carefully about that. There are only 18 weeks of NFL action, this is a finite resource and we must cherish it. If you decide to go on the road, know the variables.
How far is the drive? What's the weather forecast? Are there pets in the house? Kids? What's the ambient temperature over there, do you need a sweatshirt? Don't forget seating. Three hours is a long time to sit in a Victorian-inspired chaise lounge or a random accent chair.
NO MATTER WHAT, don't show up empty-handed.
The safe bet is to stay home where you control nearly all the variables. Get all chores, errands, and cleaning taken care of on Saturday so the decks are clear when the NFL shows up in your living room.
If you can prep the Sunday snacks and lunch Saturday night, that practice is highly recommended. It's all about maximizing consumable NFL snaps.
Bonus tip: position televisions where you can see them from common-use areas like the kitchen. A strategically placed mirror on a hallway door might enable you to watch a kick return and use the bathroom if you're home alone.
Let's talk about consumable snap maximization. The modern smartphone is a siren's call more tempting than man has ever encountered. We can lose hours when we intended to stay just a few minutes or forget why we came all together.
Unless it's for a live bet or a phone call, your device should remain face-down and out of reach.
I've seen many a good man lose a full football quarter to screen time. A good rule to keep is the commercial breaks only rule, but even that one is risky. Your RB2 scored from 30 yards out, let's fucking go! Better log on to see exactly how many points we got for that play, right?
WRONG. The next time you look up, you could see the winning quarterback doing his post-game interview.
Throw your phone across the room and pick it up at halftime.
Another common siren song that calls to the wary couch QB is the nap. Everybody loves a nap, and if they don't, they're a communist. Oftentimes, especially in Week One, people get excited about their signature dishes and dips. Sometimes we consume too many carbs and sugars, leaving us easy prey for the mid-day snooze
We all have our favorite sandwiches, sauces, bacon-wrapped whatevers, but it's crucial to pace yourself. A hearty breakfast is the way to go, this allows you to survive on snacks for the early games. Another benefit of the large breakfast is you won't be tempted to go crazy with wings and potato skins later.
Everyone is ready to eat by the end of the early games, and you will be too. But you won't be starving and irritable because you planned ahead.
Keep the tank half to three-quarters full during game time. Filling up on things like pizza, cinnamon rolls, Chinese food, chicken wings, etc can cause drowsiness especially if you're tipping a couple back.
Nothing pisses me off like waking up during the pre-game for Sunday Night Football when the last thing I remember was lunch.
It's 2022, there could be ten games on at the same time, this job is far too big for one screen. Screens are the ultimate double-edged sword. They have the power to inform us to the absolute maximum or detach us from knowledge completely.
Screens that give us football are not only okay, they're encouraged! Red Zone channel needs its own television, then you've got the local broadcast to consider which is another full-time television.
If you want to get into the Sunday ticket or other a la carte stuff, consider a laptop next to you, or a divorce and a third TV.
If you're on a budget or don't have a finished basement, a bedroom TV can usually be placed next to the main TV with relative ease. If you aren't already, get familiar with your remote controls. You'll be needing to mute one set and raise the volume on the other, or even switch channels, and you need to be in mid-season form so you can do it without looking.
1. Family is important. They're the ones who will still love you if the bankroll runs out, and they better be the first in line to share the spoils of a winning parlay.
2. Home field advantage exists for a reason. Situational awareness is key.
3. PAY ATTENTION. We've waited all this time for the NFL, we won't disrespect it by looking down.
4. Don't get caught needing to make a food run or falling asleep in crunch time!
5. Maximize the viewing experience with multiple screens.
It won't be long now before we're seeing unblocked safety blitzes and one-handed touchdown grabs. Let's make the most of it.