Football season is back and well under way. I enjoy football season. I like to watch my New York Giants and I also like to watch other games. I might not be as emotionally involved with the other games but a good game is a good game. I like playing fantasy football too. It gets me involved with players other than those on the Giants and it’s a fun way to keep up with a lot of players that I otherwise wouldn’t. My current fantasy football league is in its twentieth year and I was playing in another league a few years before that. Fantasy football is the only reason I know that Gary Brown was a solid running back for the Houston Oilers in the early 90s. I remember a lot of players that I otherwise wouldn’t because I played fantasy football and so noticed their production.

This year the Giants are off to a pretty good start. It’s funny because last year during the regular season the Giants player poorly for an awful lot of games. They ended the year wins nine wins and seven losses. Then after a regular season full of inconsistent play they played well and went on to win the Super Bowl. I won’t say it was a shock since they did something similar in the 2007 season but I wouldn’t have predicted it was going to happen after they lost to the Washington Redskins in week fifteen.

I read a lot of football websites during the season. I read them in the off-season too but there is less to read then. I mostly check out the NFL and CBS Sports sites because I find the most to read there. I rarely check out ESPN because it’s so video heavy and I can watch ESPN on TV so I don’t really care about it on my computer. Plus on the ESPN site you have to subscribe to read the articles. There is plenty of football to be found without having to subscribe there.

The replacement refs certainly added a different flavor to the start of the NFL season. The league locked out the regular referees and brought in some cheaper alternative refs. It wasn’t that the replacements were so bad but it was that they were kind of like substitute teachers. They didn’t have the authority of the regular refs and the players seemed to be constantly testing boundaries to see what they could get away with. As a viewer I generally knew what penalty to expect when I saw a flag thrown by a regular ref. Even before the ref’s announcement either I could see the infraction with my own eyes or one of the announcers had seen it. Everything was fairly predictable. With the replacement refs it got to be where when a flag was thrown no one had any idea what was going to be called. It was a surprise. Football players and coaches don’t like surprises. An element of chaos entered into the game that I had never seen before. It was kinds crazy. I’m glad the real refs were hired back.

One things I’m tired of hearing about the NFL is the people who complain about parity. “Everybody is mediocre. There are no great teams in the NFL anymore” is the idea behind about a zillion articles every year. It’s an article that’s been done to death. Not only that but I say screw the “Great Teams”. I like parity. You want to know why? Because none of these “Great Teams” of the 1970s that are spoken of highly were my team. The Giants didn’t stand a chance against them. If the Cowboys happened upon a group of good players then those players were indentured servants of the Cowboys for life. Not anymore. Players are more free to move around and teams can improve much more quickly than in the 1970s. I like that. What good it is having “Great Teams” if your team has almost no shot of becoming one?

I still hate night games but I stayed up and watched one the other night. Not a Giants’ game. I always stay up for them. But a random other game. I stayed up because I has a fantasy football rooting interest in it. Sometimes one of my fantasy football games comes down to a Monday night game so I’ll stay up to see if I’ve won or not. It’s fun sometimes to hang on every play to see if I’ll get points. Well, it’s fun as long as I get those points. And even though I have a fantasy football interest in the game my adrenaline isn’t pumping the way it is when I watch a Giants’ game. So it’s much easier to get to sleep after the game.

We have Thursday night football games all throughout this season for the first time. Usually we didn’t get Thursday night games until around Thanksgiving. I’m not a huge fan of them. They’re not at a time when I’m that interested in football. Football is an event sport. Your favorite team plays only once a week and it’s an event when they play. When all the games happened on Sunday all the events happened together. It was big. Then they made an event out of Monday night football. They made you wait a day. It was big. Now it’s less big. The Monday night game isn’t even on broadcast TV anymore. It’s on cable. The Thursday night game is on an even smaller cable channel. And they don’t make you wait for it. It’s now the first game of the week. Three days before the other games. Unless it’s your team playing it’s tough to care. Even when it is the Giants I have a hard time getting into it. It’s a night game and on a Thursday.

As a fantasy football player I don’t like Thursday games either. I don’t want to think about fantasy football that early in the week. It’s annoying having to make decisions about Sunday’s games on a Thursday. But I’m guessing Thursday night games are here to stay. After all they are on the NFL’s own network so it’s all gravy to them. And that’s the early season football report. Carry on.