Top Ten Days on the NFL Calendar (From a Fan’s Perspective)

1. Super Bowl

The two best teams in football facing off in the biggest sporting event of the year. Not only is the game itself great, but when play is stopped, you’re either watching hilarious commercials or an amazing musical performance. There is not much that needs to be said about the Super Bowl, only that it is football’s high and holy day.

 

2. Divisional Weekend

What makes the Divisional Round better than the Championship Round is simple; there are four games instead of two. Some people may ask why the Divisional playoffs are better than Wild Card weekend, and the easy answer to that is the quality of the teams is so much better. The playoff’s weakest four teams have already been eliminated, and now it’s down to the true contenders.

 

3. Championship Weekend

The incredible joy and heartbreak of Championship weekend is equal to that of the Super Bowl. The quality of these games is easily as good as the Super Bowl because the winning teams get their tickets punched to the Big Game. In recent years the Championship round has provided fans with some intensely exciting games, such as last years Falcons-49er’s matchup, or the previous years Patriots-Ravens thriller.

 

4. Wild Card Weekend

Hopes are high for all fans coming into Wild Card Weekend. It doesn’t matter how your team performed during the regular season, because an entire year of preparation comes down to one game. Upsets are frequent because of the one-and-done format of the playoffs. A perfect example of that was in 2010-11, when the 7-9 Seahawks upset the heavily favored 11-5 Saints. Anything can happen in the playoffs, especially during Wild Card Weekend.

 

5. Week 1

Are you ready for some football! The date circled on every football fan’s calendar finally arrives. The entire 16 game season lies ahead, and hopes are high for every team. What happened the previous season doesn’t matter, whether you won the Super Bowl or didn’t make the playoffs. Week 1 is the only time of the season when each team has the same record, and has the same odds of making the playoffs. Hopes are always high during Week 1.

 

6. Week 17

For some teams, week 17 can be a bore. Teams who have already clinched playoff spots tend to play cautiously, sometimes putting in backup players to prevent injury. There also are the teams who have already been eliminated from playoff contention, and are just competing for pride, and roster spots. However, there still are games which have major implications to the playoff standings. Just last season, Adrian Peterson carried the Minnesota Vikings into the playoffs with his 199 yard rushing performance. That same day, division rivals the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys battled for the division title, and a chance to perform in the playoffs. Although every game may not be an instant classic, week 17 does produce it’s fair share of amazing games.

 

7. NFL Draft

A wild flower in the barren dessert of the NFL offseason, the NFL Draft gives fans something to be excited about while they agonizingly count down the days until Week 1. Although the draft may not be the most exciting event to the casual fan, it can be entertaining to more devoted fans who are eager to see the new potential stars for their teams. The April draft date is life changing to the players who are selected, having achieved their goal of making it to the NFL. The draft is also a bridge between college football and professional, uniting the two different football worlds.

 

8. NFL Free Agency Starting Date

Free agency can be pleasing to some fans, whose team acquires a high-profile free agent, but can also be devastating to the team that loses that same player. Not all teams are exceedingly active during free agency, but those that are create a serious amount of buzz among the fan base. For example, the Miami Dolphins signed multiple highly touted free agents this year, such as Mike Wallace, and they have been one of the most talked about teams so far this offseason. Signing the right free agents can make or brake a franchise, and free agency provides something for fans to be excited about, similar to the NFL Draft.

 

9. Training Camp Opening Day

Although the official starting date to each NFL season is at the beginning of the draft, opening day at training camp seems like the more realistic date. Thousands of diehard fans show up to the first few days of training camp, which are opened to the public, to get a first glimpse of their team.

 

10. Any Given Sunday

Every Sunday, or Thursday or Monday, when your favorite team is playing is a great day. Whether you’re at the game or watching from home, football is always a great time. Although most people associate Sundays with the Christian religion, there is another religion that is worshipped on the same day. Football. Every week of football proves to be exciting, and you never know what’s going to happen on any given Sunday.

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