I'm as excited as the next person about September.
I love the the passes, the last-second field goals, the Hail Marys, the diving interceptions, the crowds, the parties, and of course, the cheerleaders. And if I'm honest, I like the hits, too. It's the dark side of me that gets brought out when I see a linebacker crush a quarterback - something I've been pretty used to as a Penn State fan for these past few years.
But this whole Chris Henry situation's got me all shook up. I hated seeing Taylor Mays deliver THAT tackle on Jordan Norwood in the Rose Bowl, that nearly decapitated the kid. I hate meeting defensive linesmen for big schools who'll never get the chance to play the game they love again because of a blown knee that has ensured an untimely ending to their career.
Sure, football is dangerous. You've got guys over over 6ft and varying weights hammering each other.
But to be frank, it's better that they wear helmets and pads than, say, rugby, the 'real man's game', where the hitting's also ferocious, and the injuries are even worse. Having spoken to some of the Scottish youth team before their trip to South Africa for the IRB Junior World Championship, they told me that the ferocity in the hitting has been 'inspired' by what they see on the NFL and in Rugby League - the latter where you are hit constantly and are meant to risk life and limb.
What I want to see from the NFL, NCAA and High School level is even more sanctions on dangerous hitting. In all three aspects of the game, I want to see professionals, college footballers and kids padded up to their eyeballs so that a big hit won't cause so much damage. As for tackles - and we're talking the Taylor Mays-type ones to be completely outlawed so that any player who doles out a hit like that won't just receive a 15-yard penalty, but can be dismissed from the field of play (like they do for dangerous tackles on the soccer field) and then suspended for a game or two. Suddenly, Big Johnny who decides to try and wreck the career of Little Johnny, the opposition quarterback might think twice about it when he's suspended for a few games for it.
If someone wants to go out and maim somebody or knock seven bells out of them, can I suggest a future career in boxing, UFC or WWE?
Sure, the NFL's blind-side ruling and 'Brady rules' of 2009 have worked - so some degree. But we need to stamp out more of them - the dangerous ones that could put a guy's career - or life - in mortal danger.
We need the rules in hitting to go from the top to the bottom, and if they are too draconian, then so be it - we might see an increase in life expectancy for people who play football.
And that can only be a good thing.
Now, back to why I really love football: