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’Tis the season: Kickoff for football not far away

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We’ve finally reached a point where we’re able to shift into countdown mode with the 2014 college and NFL football seasons without looking like total bozos.

A few basic rules regarding the process:

Broadcast a countdown number only when it’s a double- or single-figure amount. The clods who updates their Facebook statuses with “274 Days to Kickoff” should have their cable football package reduced to Jacksonville Jaguars games only.

If your favorite pro team is coming off a 4-12 season or worse, mumble the number under your breath. Why draw unnecessary attention to the start of what’s likely to be another months-long couch fire?

No false advertising. If you’re one of the 149 Jags fans in the United States, there can be no dressing up in Seattle or San Francisco gear while shouting the countdown number. Given this country’s reputation for shameless bandwagon jumping, this one can’t be emphasized strongly enough.

Switching allegiances is permitted only if a fan goes from bad to equally bad or worse. Examples: Pro — was Jacksonville, now Oakland. College — Was Purdue, now Colorado.

Here in Indiana, only 35 days remain until Notre Dame, Purdue, Indiana and Ball State open their seasons against opponents that were a combined 16-34 last fall.

Forty-three days until the Indianapolis Colts play at defending AFC champion Denver against what’s sure to be a revenge-

minded Broncos squad.

The annual football countdown wouldn’t be necessary if the summer months didn’t seem longer than a drive through Kansas in 95-degree weather with the windows up and a busted

air conditioner.

World Cup soccer spiced things up for a while, but that’s only every four years. Mostly the summer is about trying to fall back in love with Major League Baseball.

I’ve been a Cleveland Indians fan since elementary school.

Enough said.

Professional football contains many branches (season, postseason, Pro Bowl, combine, draft, training camps, preseason) and is strategic in how it uses them. The college counters in the offseason with spring games and the fascination with recruitment of high school athletes.

And yet our love of football never ceases to amaze me.

Where else can you have a pear-shaped middle-aged man or woman wearing a jersey that hasn’t fit since the Reagan administration acting less the age than the 11-year-old next to them?

Sure, baseball, basketball, hockey and World Cup soccer provide their share of such maniacal fans. Football is very much in a league of its own, partly due to the popularity of fantasy football.

Pigskins aren’t round and therefore remain pleasantly unpredictable once they make contact with a surface or player.

Maybe that’s the draw. Or maybe it’s the camaraderie and newfound friendships so often established through tailgating, cheering for the same team and postgame banter.

Whatever the case, our love affair with football won’t be going on hiatus anytime soon, if ever.

Thirty-five days, people. Better yet, tomorrow it will be 34.

Mike Beas is a sports writer for the Daily Journal. Send comments to mbeas@dailyjournal.net.

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