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Is It Really Time For Fall?

It’s only mid-August and the NFL season is already underway, alas. There will now be televised football every single week until the Super Bowl in February. Summer is still here. If Roger Goodell and the NFL owners are reading this, as I know they do: Please no football before Labor Day!

Now, don’t get me wrong–I enjoy football just as much as everybody else seems to. Who doesn’t love the action, the scheming, the controversy. There’s exciting plays and drama all year. Bills fans get eight or nine weeks to hope. Importantly, pro sports are a good distraction from the usual shark attacks, climate disasters, and political chaos in the news. There is no denying the entertainment value of televised football.

Still, it is too early. Football like Apple Cider, is best when the leaves have changed color and the air is cool and damp. Once it has crept onto our televisions, we feel Fall just around the corner. And we all know what’s around the corner after Fall.

We should be able to enjoy the last bit of our Summer before we’re thrust into the all-consuming football schedule that we associate with bad weather and heartache (for Bills fans especially.) When the sun is still hot and kids are preparing to head back to school, the last thing I want to see is fall themed products in the supermarket and football advertisements.

Each year the league schedules games earlier and earlier. It may not be long before we’re watching NFL pre-season games on the 4th of July. What is more, the league and TV networks are cramming more games in every week during the season. In the last few years the league has added a Thursday night game or two in addition to the all-day action on Sundays and one or two more on Monday Night Football. Saturday is kept reserved for wall-to-wall coverage of collegiate football.

I take comfort in the fact, perhaps naively, that people are not paying attention to it this early on anyway. Then the other day folks were calling into a local radio show to give their predictions on who would make the team’s sixth wide receiver roster slot. We’re all obsessed with it. Football will effectively capture our attention to the detriment of everything else in our lives for more than half a calendar year. American life will be carefully arranged around the programming schedule. The NFL practically owns a day of the week. And it’s the same day of the week the church used to own.

There is much to look forward to in the fall–the cooler weather, pretty foliage, and yes football. But we haven’t gotten there yet.

Derek Smith is a Frewsburg native.

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