“American cultural rituals for $400, please.”


“What are football fans as the NFL begins a new season?”

That is correct.

This weekend is just like Christmas and perhaps better than sex for millions of NFL fans. Starved since February and teased by the NFL draft in April and a meaningless preseason in August, their long national nightmare is over. It is Week 1 of the NFL season. time at last for fantasy leagues, tailgate parties and much wagering.

A gent with the Twitter handle “Live4Sundays” expressed this as the opening kickoff neared: “Thank God for the ticket! No NFL fan should be w/out it … 15 hours of sittin on my ass Sundays are here again!”

Ah, yes, the Ticket. The $400 you’ve won will buy you the NFL Sunday Ticket satellite TV package, bringing you every game. You’ll have $100 left over, but you’ll need to spend another $35 for RedZone. That’s a highlight show gone mad, bringing you every scoring play in real time and streaming fantasy statistics in real time.

You’re left with $65, which ought to be plenty for bevvies and chow. Unless, of course, you’re sittin on your ass for 15 hours. In which case, $65 will not be enough.

Opening night, bigger even than Broadway or Hollywood, brings you Taylor Swift, the Dave Matthews Band, the world champion New Orleans Saints and a certain 40-year-old quarterback for the other club. We live in Green Bay. We have had our legal limit of that guy.

LalalalalalalaBrettFavregunslingergrandpajusthavingfunouttherelalalalalalala! We can’t hear you!

OK, time for the two-minute drill. (At the end of which Brett Favre will throw an interception.)

Michael Wilbon of the Washington Post put it in perspective the other day, calling this “the sporting equivalent of Holy Week.” Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times saw the dark side, an NFL that’s better at home than in person, and wrote that “football fans will tune in this season, but will they turn out?”

Are you ready for some football? Ah, forget that. There was a time when we got geeked up to this:


CBS NFL playoff game opening, 1970. Dig that show tune, “Confidence,” from the 1964 off-Broadway musical “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.”


ABC “Monday Night Football” opening, 1973. Dig that Hammond B-3 organ. And Dandy Don.


Here’s the entire tune, “Score,” written by Charles Fox. NFL themes aren’t funky like that today.


CBS “NFL Today” opening, 1982. Dig that wah-wah guitar tucked inside all those horns.


Another “Monday Night Football” theme came from British composer Johnny Pearson. “Heavy Action,” which dates to 1971, is kinda heavy when you hear the whole thing. (Despite the image in the video, this tune has nothing to do with NFL Films. We’ll get to that another day.)