...and the only cure is more cowbell**In the preceding sentence "cowbell" refers to football. Oh my God it's finally here! Ladies and gentlemen, are you ready? (Duh duh) Are you ready? (Duh duh) For the four of you that have ever watched pro wrestling and get that little joke, congrats, to the rest of you, how 'bout a pop culture reference you will get, "Are you ready for some football?" Yes, it's pre-season. Yes, there is a good chance that no one I've ever heard of will even play tonight. But there are three important things to remember. 1. The players will be wearing uniforms representing real, honest to goodness NFL franchises (one of them from my new hometown)! 2. They'll use real NFL balls, and real NFL officials and even real NFL commentators! 3. It'll be played in beautifully HD on my local ABC station! I swear, I don't think I would be more excited if the Super Bowl was tonight. This off-season has been long and tedious. We've got Barry "Buttcheek" Bonds limping towards a record no one wants him to break (except maybe Barry, and I'm not even sure he really cares anymore), Lebron James nursing his wounds after the massive whooping Tim Duncan and Tony Parker gave him only to found out that Kevin Garnett has been traded to the Celtics officially making it that much more difficult for him to get back to the Finals, and Michael Vick singlehandedly replacing Barry Bonds on the "worst guy in sports" list at number one (yes, I know Ray Lewis might have killed a man, but at least he didn't mess with dogs!) I need football back on the air, and I know I am not alone. When the Saints and Steelers (or the 7th string guys that will be wearing the uniforms anyway) take the field tonight in Canton it won't just put a smile on my weary face, it will mark the beginning of the absolute best thing in professional sports, football season. For those that are unprepared for this special time of year, here's some pointers on ways to get hyped: 1. Play through a full season of last year's Madden this afternoon. -- Madden's commentary can often be repetitive, sometimes seeming like it's limited to just a few phrases. You might as well get used to that in the video game before you have to suffer through it on Sunday Night Football. 2. Put this year's Madden on pre-order. -- Geeks may wait in line for Star Wars or Spiderman, but real men (and some of us geeks too) wait only for Madden. For a large segment of the population this game is the only reason they even own a video game console. Your local video game store will gladly take your five dollars to ensure that one of the four billion copies they receive Tuesday the 14th will have your name on it. 3. Do everything that your wife/mother/significant other has been begging you to do for the last year. -- You and I both know that you have a "honey-do" list a mile long. There is no room for that list to interfere with the games in the coming weeks, so (as Barney Fife would say) nip it in the bud. Mow the yard/plant sod, take the dog for a walk/vet visit/neutering/play date, organize the shop/DVD collection/dirty laundry pile, replace the garage door/toilet lid/shower curtain/trash compactor etc. Possible alternatives for those not up for all the fix-it work include: hiring a man-servant, or filing for divorce. Good luck either way. There are probably several more items that I should include in this list, but the fact of the matter is that I've a "honey-do" list of my own to whittle down and there is only so much time until kickoff. Enjoy the season everybody, may your team win (unless they're playing the Saints)!