OK, die-hard football fans, the season is over.
No more high school games. Those ended two months ago.
No more college games. Those ended a month ago.
And no more pro games, either. Those ended last Sunday night with Super Bowl 52.
This will be the first weekend in six months – since the beginning of August with the opening of the preseason with the annual Pro Football Hall of Fame from Tom Benson Stadium in Canton – that there will be no games.
Training camps opened a week or so before that, so it has been a long, long time since there hasn’t been large men beating each other up on a football field.
That thought – not the beating up, but that there is no more football – is numbing to many.
"I always get depressed when the football season ends," my friend, Dave, says. "It’s sad."
That’s understandable. He’s fully invested in the game. He played high school, college and semi-pro ball. He also coached in high school for many years. And his son is playing in college now – at a school that is an eight-hour drive away.
So, yeah, it’s kind of a big part of Dave’s life.
But he – and those like him – are hardly the only ones. There are thousands upon thousands like the Daves of the world for whom football is a really, really big deal.
They not only watch it, but they eat, drink and sleep football. And when they aren’t doing that, they’re thinking about doing it.
But not to worry.
The NFL free-agent signing period will be here soon.
Then will come the NFL Draft, which is a sport within a sport. There are people whose connection to football is entirely through following the draft. The games are not really part of their focus.
Talk about the perfect marketing model.
After the draft, there are the rookie mini camps.
Then the full-squad mini camp.
And the OTAs – organized team activities.
And the mandatory full-squad mini camp.
Then a three-week break from late June through the middle of July.
After that, the training camps will be set to begin and it will all start again.
Like Cousin Eddy said in "Christmas Vacation," "It’s the gift that keeps on givin’.
Not the Jelly of the Month Club, but something sweeter, football.