By Steven Weldon
170 miles north of the Portland Metro Area lies the Pacific Northwest's only National Football League team. For eight weekends of the NFL's regular season, Seattle is the only viable option for seeing a game without taking a plane or a long arduous road trip. Thousands of people make the trip; as dedicated fans of the new American pastime enjoy the trip itself, tailgating and a game that the entire country may be watching at any given time.
I've never experienced an NFL gameday live.
Alas, I am still incredibly excited about the upcoming season. Here are five things I can't wait for.
5. Will A Team Dethrone the Patriots?
We ask this question every year, even when the Patriots are not champions. When the Patriots are sitting at 3-2, many-including me-say, "Well, I guess they're done!" Are they ever done? No. Death, Taxes, Patriots football being competitive. The three constants in life since the year 2001. Is THIS the year though? They just lost Rob Gronkowski to retirement and Tom Brady just got another year older. You could say that those two things may break the camel's back, but you also must remember there will be 51 other players on the roster ready to make an impact. Bill Belichick usually gets the most out of his unknown or unheralded players. It is currently a to-be-determined on the death of the Patriots dynasty. Know that their days are still numbered. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.
4. How Will The Oakland Raiders Be Received On The Way Out?
Las Vegas Stadium is almost done, and the 2019 season is the swan song for the Oakland-based version of the Raiders. Oakland Coliseum is outdated, dreary and needs to be put out to stadium-pasture. Mount Davis, the large structure placed in the outfield of the baseball configuration is largely unused, particularly at the top, and the team struggles to fill seats with how dismal they have been lately. In the end, all that matters is how the fans feel. So many will be incredibly sad to lose the east bay area franchise, but I personally know far more Raiders fans excited that they'll be moving to the desert. Airfare is less expensive, and the stadium will be right on the Las Vegas Strip. The last game in Oakland will be an interesting one. We've seen far too many teams move at the drop of the hat this decade.
3. Fantasy Football
A billion-dollar industry that won't stop growing is one of my favorite things about the NFL season. I struggle to watch my favorite team; so I adopt the players that are on my fantasy teams. In 2007, Andre Johnson, a former wide receiver of the Texans, made me like him so much that I purchased his jersey. I still have it, and it's all because he was on my fantasy team. I'm a member of three reasonably serious leagues of all sorts, with different scoring intricacies and a wide variety of people to play against. I've only won a league once in all 13+ years I've been playing, but I'll keep trying. Weldon will win.
2. Football Starts At 10 AM
In deep contrast to why I'm excited about college football, I love the fact that being on the west coast means games begin at 10 o'clock in the morning. I'm also up extra early due to children, but being able to see a game with some breakfast is nice. My favorite team, The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, play more than half their games on the east coast, so finding them early is a nice surprise. They don't play in prime-time very often. It's a struggle. In any case, this also means that the next set of games is at 1, and then the nightcap at 5:30. The consistent schedule of Thursday, Sunday, Monday is also easy to pay attention to.
1. I Will Be There
After a long 17 years of paying attention to the NFL, I'm finally going to see a game live. On November 3rd, the Buccaneers visit Seattle for a once-every-six-years event. I missed the 2013 game, but I won't be missing this one. Unlike a large majority of NFL stadiums, a ticket to see the Seahawks is almost double the average. It may be due to the experience, or the fact that the Seahawks are the only game available. I've heard that CenturyLink Field is loud, and I'm ready. In a sea of blue and green, I'll be a small dot wearing white and red. I'll share my experience right here at Craw's Corner, as well. It is the number one thing I am excited about this NFL season.
I'll be covering the NFL and College Football this season, and likely some other pieces. Follow me on Twitter, @Airweldon for consistent updates on what I share.