Opening day for the 2018 NFL Season is Thursday, September 6 (defending Super Bowl LII champs the Philadelphia Eagles will play the Atlanta Falcons)—and I feel a little bit like a kid on Christmas. It’s truly one of my favorite days of the year. Of course, opening day when I was actually playing in the games meant something different to me: I would go into the season with so much hope and so many expectations for the year ahead. Opening day was always when you felt like you just needed to get off to a great start: all the work, all the off-season, all the preparation, training camp, everything came together for that single day. And truly, you don’t look past that; I never did. I always looked at opening day as the most important moment and never thought about the rest of the season. We just wanted to get that opening-day victory.
Now as a commentator, opening day has a different meaning. I don’t have the butterflies, I know I’m not going to be sore the next day. I’m able to take it all in, enjoy it, and understand how these young players are feeling out there on the field because I’ve been in that position before. But I look forward to opening day now just as much as I did as a player because I still get to be around my favorite team—I really love the guys I get to work with now, too.
As a spectator, I do like watching games live: you get a great vibe from the fans and experience the energy of it all. But for the most part, I love watching a game at home on the couch with my favorite beverage and the remote in my hand. When I go back to a stadium now, they catcall like I was still out there playing: some yell because they love me and some yell because they hate me. After you’ve played for as long as I have, you know the kind of energy it requires, so I like going once or twice a year at the stadium, tops. Other than that, give me my couch every other day of the week—including for tomorrow night’s kick-off. Pass the remote!
photo ©New York Football Giants, Inc.