Like most football fans and, indeed, Americans in general, I love Super Bowl Sunday. I love the game; I like the commercials; and I tolerate the halftime show and the other pomp that has nothing to do with football.
But like many other football junkies I also start to get an empty feeling in the pit of my stomach about this time every year. There's only one game left. What am I gonna do now?!
A good question, and I can't say I have the answer.
Since the beginning of September, we've had football every Sunday, save one. If you're foolish enough to give a care about the preseason, then you've had about another month of the NFL.
Last Sunday gave us all that small taste of what it's like to spend a Sunday without football. We all had a chance to look inside ourselves on a weekend without football, and I doubt any of us like what we saw.
But it wasn't so bad because we could all think, "Next Sunday is the biggest game of the year." It's like that off week is the NFL's version of methadone. Our bodies simply couldn't handle kicking the habit cold turkey.
But that's only a temporary fix. What next? The Pro Bowl? I'll pass. It's about as relevant to me as the Grammies, something else that involves one of my favorite things. Yeah, it looks and sounds a lot like music, but you really shouldn't care at all. It's all just for show.
No, Super Sunday is, indeed, the last meaningful professional football game until September. The problem for me is, this knowledge is one of several factors that keep me from truly enjoying the biggest game of the year.
All day long, I'll be thinking, "This is it. No more football." I'll get so caught up in it that I'll miss a great catch or solid hit that I would love any other week.
But that's not the only problem for me on Super Sunday. It's also the fact that the game has become almost secondary.
What are the commercials going to be this year?
I don't really care. If I watch every commercial, when am I supposed to pee?
How's the halftime show going to be?
I love Bruce Springsteen, but I can listen to his CDs any time. At halftime of the year's biggest game, can't I have some commentator breaking down the numbers for me? That's what I'm used to.
Call me selfish, but as much notoriety as the "event" of the Super Bowl might bring to the league, I like the sport a lot better the other 21 weeks of the year when it's just about football.
But, the game is what it is, and I have to love it. I only hope I can calm my nerves long enough to enjoy 20 hours of coverage.